When GM announced it would end its local production in Australia, local products, such as the Holden Commodore, as well as the plant that produces it, in Elizabeth, were certain to disappear. But not so soon. Or, at least, not without resistance, such as the one presented by the Belgian entrepreneur Guido Dumarey. He intends to buy the plant and the tools to keep the Commodore under production for many years to come. As well as the Ute, a vehicle in which Dumarey sees “great potential”, as he has declared to Motoring.
Dumarey is the CEO of Punch Powerglide, an automatic transmissions factory in Strasbourg, France. Dumarey has acquired it in January 2013. The company provides Holden the 6L45 transmission used in V6 versions of the Commodore and it was owned by GM. In other words, Dumarey is no stranger in buying assets GM does not want anymore
When the announcement of the end of production of the Commodore came, he immediately got interested in assuming the plant. Dumarey is known for taking businesses at stake and bringing them back to profitability.
He has made a bid to buy the Elizabeth plant and the tools in a move he calls Project Erich, an homage to Erich Bitter, a German tuner that has used the Commodore as the basis of a series of high performance models. The Belgian businessman is specially interested in the Commodore’s platform, the Zeta, a rear-wheel drive marvel that he does not want to miss. Dumarey know rear-wheel drive cars are premium and sees them as a huge business opportunity. Not only for the local market, but also for exports.
Since this is something that interests the Australian government as well, Dumarey believes he can close a deal with GM in the first six months of 2016. The plant is scheduled to close in 2017. This is why 2016 will be crucial to his plans. If they fail, Australians will really have to say goodbye to the sedan, the station wagon and the Ute. In case it goes well, these three models will be just the start of a much larger and interesting line of products.