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US auto giant GM to pull out of South Africa

South Africa

American car manufacturing giant General Motors (GM) has announced plans to pull out of the South African market.

The automaker plans to stop building Chevrolet vehicles in South Africa and sell its factory in Port Elizabeth to Japan’s Isuzu Motors Ltd. which plans to bolster its operations on the continent.

GM will also sell its 30 percent stake in a truck venture with Isuzu to the Japanese automaker.

Isuzu Motors in February agreed to buy out GM’s 57.7 percent stake in a joint venture in Kenya.

The move, the Detroit-based company says, follows its strategy of focusing cash and engineering efforts on fewer, more profitable markets.

As part of the cut in its South African operations, the Chevrolet brand is set to be taken off the local market by the end of 2017.

GM has however promised that existing Chevrolet and Opel customers will continue to be supported in the market, reports the IOL news portal.

GM sold some 49,000 vehicles in India and South Africa alone last year.

The announcement is however not limited to South Africa.

GM will also restructure its operations in India where it plans to quit selling vehicles by the end of the year as well as in Singapore where an undisclosed number of jobs will be cut.

Since Mary Barra took over as Chief Executive of GM in 2014, the one-time largest automaker in the world has taken aggressive steps to narrow its focus to China, the highly-profitable North American light truck and sport utility market, Latin America, vehicle financing and transportation services that ultimately could use autonomous vehicles.

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