Soon there’ll be no more braaivleis, rugby, sunny skies AND Chevrolet… as General Motors (GM) announced Thursday 18 May that it plans to sell its operations in South Africa.
This, as well as its decision to stop selling cars in India, comes as the company decides to focus on fewer, more profitable markets. Last year it sold only 49,000 cars in India and South Africa combined.
In a statement on its website GM South Africa said GM is transforming its business globally and will therefore phase out manufacturing and sales of Chevrolet vehicles in SA by the end of 2017, subject to regulatory approvals.
Manufacturing at Struandale, Port Elizabeth, will continue… with Isuzu purchasing GM’s light commercial vehicle operations in PE… and South Africa is set to serve as an important base for Isuzu, according to GM.
The company said the business decision came because the industry has evolved in the past few years, particularly with the “emergence of mobility (autonomous / ride sharing / electrification / connectivity)”.
GM says: “If you are an Isuzu, Chevrolet or Opel owner, on-going after-sales and parts support will continue through the existing GM dealer network to the end of 2017. All existing warranties and service plans remain in place and will be honoured beyond 2017.
All dealers have been informed today.
It marks the end of an era for South Africa… where Chevrolet was once an almost iconic symbol of the country – along with braaivleis, rugby and sunny skies, as made famous in a radio jingle in the ’70s.
Listen to Braaivleis, Rugby, Sunny Skies and Chevrolet
The advert was based on the American TV commercial – ‘Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet’ – but because South Africa didn’t yet have television in 1974, it was a radio jingle only.
At the time, the large Chevrolets in SA were based on Australia’s Holdens from Australia… where they too had their own version of the ad – “Football, Meat Pies, Kangaroos and Holden Cars”.