General Motors is continuing its overseas retreat, shelving its Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand and completely pulling out of Thailand.
The shake-up announced last week amplifies a downsizing that has seen the Detroit automaker pare down operations in Western Europe, Russia, India, Africa and beyond in recent years to focus on more rewarding markets.
The result is a GM more dependent than ever on the U.S., China, Latin America and South Korea.
"GM really set this in motion a few years ago when Mary Barra said we are going to focus on profitability more than market share or volume," said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader.
"GM is not going to be everything to everyone in every market of the world."
GM's fallback comes as Japanese and South Korean competitors, led by Toyota Motor Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co., are expanding in emerging markets and new Chinese rivals are joining the fray.
GM is selling off its plants in India and Thailand to an aspiring Chinese competitor.
In Australia and New Zealand, GM will kill off the Holden brand by 2021. Holden operates only in these countries; most automakers focus on global brands, Krebs said.
Holden, known for its snarling lion logo, was established in 1856 as a saddle maker and joined the GM constellation in 1931. GM pulled the plug on local production in 2017 and tried to continue as an import player. But Holden sales tumbled 25 percent to just 55,201 vehicles in 2019.
In Australia, a shrinking GM will now shift to selling premium specialty vehicles in niche volumes. That plan is still taking shape, GM says, but possible products include pickups, sporty cars such as the Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro, or luxury nameplates from Cadillac.
Such a strategy would mirror GM's playbook in markets such as Japan, where GM has abandoned any pretense of pursuing volume.