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General Motors to exit South African market by end of 2017

General Motors (GM) is calling it quits in South Africa. The company informed employees and unions on Thursday of its decision and said it intends ceasing all local operations by the end of 2017.

“GM intends to cease local manufacturing and selling Chevrolet vehicles in the domestic market by the end of 2017,” the company said in a statement.

“After a thorough assessment of our South African operations, we believe it is best for Isuzu to integrate our light commercial vehicle manufacturing operations into its African business,” GM’s vice-president of its international operations, Stefan Jacoby, said in a statement on Thursday morning.

“We determined that continued or increased investment in manufacturing in South Africa would not provide GM the expected returns of other global investment opportunities,” he added.

GM said Isuzu intends to purchase its South African light commercial vehicle manufacturing operations and strengthen its presence in the market.

Haruyasu Tanishige, Isuzu’s senior executive officer for its sales division, said the company remained committed to the South African market.

“The integration of our light commercial and medium and heavy-duty commercial business will strengthen our base to grow here,” he said. “We will do this through our focus on providing outstanding aftersales and customer support, establishing close relationships with our local partners and expanding our business.”

Tanishige added that Isuzu was building a strong base to grow on the African continent in the long term. “Evidence of this is our recent purchase of GM’s 57.7 percentage shareholding in its East African operations, which has given us management control of the company,” he said.

“Integrating the South African light commercial vehicle operations into our business is the next step in laying the foundation for our growth plans in the future,” he added.

In a statement released by the company, GM manging director and president Ian Nicholls said: “These decisions were not made lightly. We appreciate the support that our employees, customers, dealers, suppliers, the government and other key stakeholders have given us over the many years that we have operated in this country.”

He added that they seek to manage the transition as smoothly as possible.

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