Struggling automaker GM Holden on Wednesday said it will shut down its manufacturing operations in Australia by 2017, shedding 2,900 jobs, in a major blow to the nation's car industry. "The decision to end manufacturing in Australia reflects the perfect storm of negative influences the automotive industry faces in the country," GM chief executive Dan Akerson said in a statement. "This includes the sustained strength of the Australian dollar, high cost of production, small domestic market and arguably the most competitive and fragmented auto market in the world." Holden's decision to end manufacturing and transition to a national sales company follows US giant Ford in May announcing it would stop making vehicles at its unprofitable Australian factories in 2016, with the loss of 1,200 jobs. With Mitsubishi closing its Adelaide plant five years ago, only Toyota Australia -- which employs more than 4,000 workers -- will be left making cars in the country. Holden said 2,900 jobs would be axed over the next four years -- 1,600 from its Elizabeth vehicle manufacturing plant in Adelaide and approximately 1,300 from Holden's workforce in Melbourne. Treasurer Joe Hockey said the government would work closely with the state governments and unions to ensure Holden's departure "does not lead to a significant economic downturn in South Australia or Victoria". "We will do everything to help in this transition," he told parliament.