Holden killed off

By: Unique Cars magazine

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Iconic local brand finishes this year

Holden killed off
Prime Minister Ben Chifley launching Holden's 48-215 (National Archives pic)

Holden is no more – or at least it that will be the case by the end of 2020. GM made the announcement today, finishing off a brand that began life as a coachbuilder and assembled its first car in 1908.

It went on to be one of the big players in the local business, famously launching its first locally-made car with Prime Minister Ben Chifley in 1948.

Local manufacture ceased in 2017 and the Commodore brand – by then attached to fully-imported Opels – bumped off at the end of 2019.

The announcement is not a complete surprise, but will come as a huge disappointment to the generations of Australians who have invested in the brand, either through making the cars, racing them or buying them across the years.

Unique Cars mag understands the historic Lang Lang development facility will be sold off, and the local Global Design Sutdio will also be shuttered, with up to 600 of 800 jobs lost. The remaining workforce is said to be remain on hand for servicing and warranty commitments for up to the next ten years.

HSV will also be replaced, with a company called General Motors Speciality Vehicles taking over from HSV and handling local sales of right-hand drive versions of US models such as Camaro.

Look for more insights at WhichCar.com.au

Here is the full announcement from GM:

GM International Operations Senior Vice President Julian Blissett said GM had taken the difficult decision after implementing and considering numerous options to maintain and turn around Holden operations.

"Through its proud 160-year history, Holden has not only made cars, it has been a powerful driver of the industrialization and advancement of Australia and New Zealand," said Blissett.

"Over recent years, as the industry underwent significant change globally and locally, we implemented a number of alternative strategies to try to sustain and improve the business, together with the local team."

GM undertook a detailed analysis of the investment required for Holden to be competitive beyond the current generation of products. Factors impacting the business case for further investment included the highly fragmented right-hand-drive markets, the economics to support growing the brand, and delivering an appropriate return on investment.

"After comprehensive assessment, we regret that we could not prioritize the investment required for Holden to be successful for the long term in Australia and New Zealand, over all other considerations we have globally," said Blissett.

"This decision is based on global priorities and does not reflect the hard work, talent and professionalism of the Holden team."

GM intends to focus its growth strategy in Australia and New Zealand on the specialty vehicles business and plans to immediately work with its partner on developing these plans.

GM Holden Interim Chairman and Managing Director Kristian Aquilina said that given the significance of Holden through its history, it was critical the company worked with all stakeholders to deliver a dignified and respectful wind-down.

"Holden will always have a special place in the development of our countries. As Australia and New Zealand grew, Holden was a part of the engine room fuelling that development," said Aquilina.

"Today’s announcement will be felt deeply by the many people who love Holdens, drive Holdens and feel connected to our company which has been with us for 160 years and is almost ubiquitous in our lives.

"Unfortunately, all the hard work and talent of the Holden family, the support of our parent company GM and the passion of our loyal supporters have not been enough to overcome our challenges.

"We understand the impact of this decision on our people, our customers, our dealers and our partners – and will work closely with all stakeholders to deliver a dignified and respectful transition."

Holden customers can be assured that the company will honour all warranties and servicing offers made at time of sale. Holden will provide servicing and spare parts for at least 10 years, through national aftersales networks in Australia and New Zealand. As required, Holden and its aftersales network will also continue to handle any recalls or safety-related issues if they arise, working with the appropriate governmental agencies.

Impacted Holden employees will be provided separation packages and employment transition support.

Holden will work with its dealer network on appropriate transition arrangements, including offering dealers the opportunity to continue as authorized service outlets to support Holden customers.

 

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