Holden to become GM’s R&D hub with new jobs boost

Almost a year after closing its Victorian car production facility, General Motors today announced plans to employ 150 more engineers at Holden’s Port Melbourne facility to join the company’s global Advanced Vehicle Design (AVD) wing dedicated to the development of autonomous and electric vehicle technology.

At a media event held at Holden’s Port Melbourne headquarters, GM executive vice-president of global product development – and former Holden managing director – Mark Reuss, expressed the brand’s commitment to autonomous and zero-emissions vehicles, for which Holden in Australia will play a “significant role.”
Reuss said Holden will quadruple its R&D budget from the current $30 million to $120 million a year to boost its design and engineering workforce to develop cars of the future for General Motors globally.

All 150 of the vacant positions are expected to be filled by the end of next year, recruiting both experienced and graduate engineers, bringing the Australian design, engineering and development team to over 500 strong.

While Holden has endured sales slumps since it ceased local manufacturing in October 2017, today’s announcement restated GM’s commitment to Holden, as well as positions Holden to play a key role in GM’s plan to build 20 all-new electric models by 2023.

Reuss, who was the boss of Holden from February 2008 to August 2009, said Holden will play a key role in “leading edge” autonomous and electric cars and other future models.

Former Holden boss, Mark Reuss, is now GM’s head of global development.
Former Holden boss, Mark Reuss, is now GM’s head of global development.

“GM is determined to be the first company to bring safe, autonomous vehicles to market – not within years, but in quarters,” said Reuss. “The world-class vehicle engineering capability we have at Holden in Australia will play a significant role in GM delivering its commitment to create a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.”

Holden’s executive director of engineering, Brett Vivian said the jobs boost follow significant upgrades to the company’s emissions test lab and test tracks at the Lang Lang Proving Ground on the southeast outskirts of Melbourne.

Holden’s expansive Lang Lang proving ground  was recently upgraded courtesy of a $15.9million joint investment by GM and Holden.

The facility, 90-kilometres south east of Melbourne, features 44-kilometres of road systems, including the upgraded 4.7km four-lane circular high-speed bowl, a 5.5km ride and handling course, a 1.8km noise and road testing stretch, and a 98m diameter skid pan.