General Motors South Africa is all but set to once again disinvest from the country, according to a statement the company issued this morning. GMSA currently owns and runs the brands Chevrolet, Isuzu and Opel. By the end of the year, GMSA will stop selling Chevrolet cars. At the same time, Isuzu will become part of a different company called Isuzu Motors which will continue to manufacture Isuzu products from GMSA’s current plant in Struandale, Port Elizabeth.

Existing Chevrolet customers will continue to be supported through an after-sales network and their warranties and guarantees honoured. For now there is no announcement on what is to happen to Opel, but rumours suggest it will remain in the country and be distributed by an independent existing entity such as McCarthy or Imperial. Remember that globally, Opel has recently been bought by the Peugeot Citroen Groupe, while the Citroen brand has already pulled out of the Mzansi market in December 2016.

“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,” said Stefan Jacoby, GM executive vice president and president of GM International. “We determined that continued or increased investment in manufacturing in South Africa would not provide GM the expected returns of other global investment opportunities.”

While GMSA is not the biggest car manufacturer and marketer in the country – they sell in total around 3 000 vehicles per month – it would seem these numbers are not enough to sustain the company based on its new growth path. This path was first seen with the Opel sale. In the end it appears GM is likely to operate mainly in the USA/ North America and China and cease many of its other operations across the world.

The first Chevrolet arrived in Mzansi in 1913 as an import and GMSA began manufacturing Chevrolet here in 1926. In 1937 the first Opels started production locally. It was in 1985 that GM decided to disinvest from the country, due to the apartheid situation, leaving Delta Motors to take over its operations. The mother body returned as GMSA in 2003 after buying out Delta and investing some R300 million.

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