General Motors to invest $1.04 billion in Australia image

U.S. car-maker General Motors on Thursday committed to invest more than 1 billion Australian dollars (US$1.04 billion) to continue making cars in the country for at least a decade.

The announcement comes shortly after the government announced Thursday a 275 million Australian dollar ($288 million) assistance package for General Motors Co. to guarantee it continues to manufacture cars in Australia for another decade through its subsidiary Holden Ltd.

Unions and industry bodies have , which Prime Minister Julia Gillard says will save thousands of jobs.

“In January this year we were at real risk that there would be no more Holden in Australia, that we wouldn’t have Holden here producing motor vehicles,” she said.

“That wasn’t acceptable for me as Prime Minister and it wasn’t the right thing for the nation’s future.

The funding will secure the jobs of 12,000 people employed by GM Holden’s Adelaide car plant and engine manufacturing plant in Victoria, and shore up thousands more manufacturing jobs in the components sector.

Holden will continue local production of the Commodore until 2016 when it will be replaced by one of its parent company’s US models, it was reported last night.

It is believed a new vehicle will also be produced at the company’s Adelaide plant, alongside the popular Cruze model, as part of the deal.