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Holden posts AU$70m loss


Lower revenues, export changes, petrol prices and the closure of its Melbourne engine plants has put Holden into the red for 2008

Holden has announced a AU$70.2 million (NZ$87.7m) loss for 2008.

Holden's chairman and managing director, Mark Reuss, told staff the result was "disappointing because the organisation was well placed to make a healthy profit in Australia before world markets fell in the third quarter of 2008".

Last year Holden made 119,246 cars (including export models), up 11,451 on the previous year. It looks like 2009 production levels have been scaled back in line with declining demand for cars generally, and large cars especially.

In 2007 export numbers rose, but with GM filing for bankruptcy, shipping the Pontiac (re-badged Commodore) to the US is no longer an option.

Holden can at least take solace in one fact: it was outdone in a big way by Ford’s record $274.4 million loss. Toyota Australia was the only local maker to report a profit for last year, of $123.4 million after tax for the year to March 31.

Reuss said Holden spent $360 million on research and development during 2008 as part of its long-term future-securing policies. These include development of "More alternative fuel and fuel-saving technologies, concentrating on production of our new fuel-efficient small car and pursuing export opportunities." The new Holden Cruze could make a change for Holden this year.

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