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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    End of the Road: Holden to Cease At the End of the Year

      ...the final curtain call for GM's Australian operations...


    Nearly three years after ending local production in Australia, General Motors announced this morning in Australia that Holden will cease to exist by the end of the year. The move will see 800 jobs going away and the closure of the Melbourne design studio and Lang Lang proving ground. In a statement, GM International Operations Senior Vice President Julian Blissett said the company made the difficult decision to close operations after varying attempts to try and rejuvenate the brand.

    “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.”

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

    A source tells CarAdvice that the decision to shutter Holden took place over the weekend, and also stressed that GM had "every intention of reviving the brand following the end of local manufacturing."

    "Our intention was to turn around the brand ... there is zero blame to the local team," said the high ranking General Motors official. "This decision (about Holden) is all about investment priorities."

    The decision to close down operations in Australia will also mark the end of right-hand drive vehicles which comprised of Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand. GM has been pulling out of RHD markets for the past three years with the United Kingdom and India being some of the big ones.

    Holden hasn't been doing so well in sales since the end of local production. The past couple of years has seen the brand hemorrhaging sales as buyers went towards SUVs and smaller vehicles. A key example of the bleeding, the ZB Commodore only sold 5,915 units last year - a decrease of 34.6 percent.

    There will still be a small remnant of GM in Australia throigh a new sub-brand that will sell a select models from the U.S., including the Camaro and Silverado.

    Source: CarAdvice, CarsGuide, GoAuto, Which Car, General Motors
    Press Release on Page 2


    Holden Vehicle Sales, Design, and Enginnering To Cease in Australia and New Zealand

    MELBOURNE – The Holden brand will be retired from sales in Australia and New Zealand and local design and engineering operations will wind down by 2021, General Motors (NYSE: GM) announced today. Maven and Holden Financial Services operations will also wind down in Australia.

    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.

    Holden Customer Care is available to answer customer inquiries and all warranties and service agreements. Holden customers in Australia can call 1800 46 465 336 or visit www.holden.com.au; Holden customers in New Zealand can call 0800 465 336 or visit www.holden.co.nz.



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    GM do you hear the Banshee, it has been screaming for the last 3yrs since you killed local production. There was nothing to allow you to revive Holden. It was a slow hemorrhaging death.

    R.I.P. Holden, you will be missed as you made amazing products!

    :deathwatch:

     

    pouring austin powers GIF

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    I never cared a blip about Holden, but it's always sad to see an industrial concern cease operations.

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    Starve a marque of new product and this is what you get.  I must admit I miss Olds more than Holden.  Then again, this has to be really sad for those down under.

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    Holden...

    I miss Pontiac, Oldsmobile.  

    I will miss Holden just as much as I do Plymouth.

    Which is not much.  Before I get hate from MOPAR folk...my reality of Plymouth is crappier versions of really, really...REALLY crappy badge engineered Chrysler FWD cars of the 1980s and 1990s. 

    The ONLY Plymouth that I really cared for during that time would be the Prowler. And that car even became a Chrysler for a year or two...

    Holden...I got to be greatful because of the new GTO(which Canada never got), the Pontiac G8, the Camaro (which I actually hate), and the Chevy SS (which Canada also never got) so basically...like Plymouth, its only 1 model that really touched me in MY time. There are classic Plymouths that I love, but those are so far removed from my reality, those Plymouths just as well be cars from a different market all together....like Holden for instance.

    But yeah...folk Down Under must feel great pain today. I do have feels for them.

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    I am not too interested in Oceania, so Holden never registered all that much.  I respect them for putting out the Pontiac G6 and the Chevy SS.  If the timing was right and I had the coin, I would have liked one of those cars.  I'm sure the Australians are sad to see it close.

    Agreed.  I miss Pontiac the most of the bygone GM divisions.  I miss Oldsmobile but always saw some duplication between it and Buick, though they were trying hard to disengage them with the Intrigue and especially the Aurora.

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    Holden has been dead for at least a decade..though I thank them for the G8 and SS.

    Holden will be the first of many changes.....

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    GM Idiot management for the US, should have NEVER built Saturn, all those ideas of Auto's should have been done under the Chevrolet label.

    Oldsmobile and Buick should have been merged back in the 70's to be one label

    GMC and Pontiac should also have been merged as a mid level competition to Chevrolet.

    Hummer was correct in the packaging, but a mistake in that it should be like it is now, a package label under GMC.

    Holden was an awesome engineering company that built some amazing auto's. GM FAILED to bring their version of the El Camino to the US along with other lines to help reduce costs. GM management failed to properly reinvest in markets around the world and failed to make Europe profitable when they could instead using it to off load costs and failures done in the US on Europe. Truly some piss poor mgmt. over the last 40 years at GM.

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    >>"GM... should have NEVER built Saturn, all those ideas of Auto's should have been done under the Chevrolet label."<<
    AGREED

    >>"Oldsmobile and Buick should have been merged back in the 70's to be one label."<<
    No way- this is the era when the Cutlass alone was outselling the Chevelle. Brand recognition & loyalty were at screaming highs - a merger there would've been catastrophic.

    >>"GMC and Pontiac should also have been merged as a mid level competition to Chevrolet."<<
    They were administratively paired... just not in brand name. Again; this was a period which was seeing GMC steadily rising in sales (thru today), and Pontiac returning to #3 in sales in the U.S.. Plus, we'd no longer have GMC if they had merged.

    >>"Hummer was correct in the packaging, but a mistake in that it should be like it is now, a package label under GMC."<<
    AGREED

    >>"Holden was an awesome engineering company that built some amazing auto's. GM FAILED to bring their version of the El Camino to the US along with other lines to help reduce costs. GM management failed to properly reinvest in markets around the world and failed to make Europe profitable when they could instead using it to off load costs and failures done in the US on Europe. Truly some piss poor mgmt. over the last 40 years at GM."<<
    I have never developed enough interest to look into Holden, but even tangentially I've never heard the company's products being called 'amazing/awesome' before.

    As much as some might wish to twist every facet of GM over the last 40 years to fit an assessment of 'idiotic', it's not supportable by the history.

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    GM did make some colossal mistakes in the last 40 years.  Not taking Japan or the Germans seriously enough was the biggest one. 

    Saturn was created so that GM could actually learn a few things (and compete against Japan Inc.) without the ossified thinking that existed back in 1985.  Now whether GM learned the proper lessons is a different question. 

    Now if GM were really smart, Holden engineering would have been on US shores about 25 years ago and we would all still benefit to this day.  As for Europe, GM needed to completely rethink Opel/Vauxhall and make them profitable for the last 15 years rather than waste money on Saab and (especially) FIAT.

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    On 2/18/2020 at 2:45 PM, balthazar said:

     

    >>"Holden was an awesome engineering company that built some amazing auto's. GM FAILED to bring their version of the El Camino to the US along with other lines to help reduce costs. GM management failed to properly reinvest in markets around the world and failed to make Europe profitable when they could instead using it to off load costs and failures done in the US on Europe. Truly some piss poor mgmt. over the last 40 years at GM."<<
    I have never developed enough interest to look into Holden, but even tangentially I've never heard the company's products being called 'amazing/awesome' before.
     

    Well, over the last 25 years Holden was building V8 RWD sedans in the Commodore and Caprice/Statesman, with wagons and ute variations at a time when in the US Chevy, Pontiac etc were churning out forgettable, mediocre FWD appliances.     They also had HSV making high performance variations of those models.   

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    2 hours ago, Robert Hall said:

    Well, over the last 25 years Holden was building V8 RWD sedans in the Commodore and Caprice/Statesman, with wagons and ute variations at a time when in the US Chevy, Pontiac etc were churning out forgettable, mediocre FWD appliances.     They also had HSV making high performance variations of those models.   

    More of those should have come here, if only to save Oldsmobile and especially Pontiac.  Imagine a RWD 2000 Bonneville based on the Commodore. . . .

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    7 minutes ago, riviera74 said:

    More of those should have come here, if only to save Oldsmobile and especially Pontiac.  Imagine a RWD 2000 Bonneville based on the Commodore. . . .

    Basically would have been an earlier version of the G8.   If Pontiac had kept real names instead of G* nonsense....woulda coulda shoulda...too little, too late.

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    Holden versions of the G8 & GTO were more generic than the Pontiacs which were widely criticized. Pontiac did what they could with the budget they were allowed, and they were definitely improved, but they didn’t quite meet up to consumer expectation. And of course; these were low-volume specials.

    At least Pontiac had those 2, plus the Firebird & Solstice, plus GXP versions of other models; some very solid performance Pontiacs. The Bonneville GXP was a really sweet sport sedan. 

    And while I appreciate the GTO / G8, and they were excellent (despite not quite having Pontiac DNA), don’t forget that the Fed forced the closure of Pontiac, not a naming convention.

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    2 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    Holden versions of the G8 & GTO were more generic than the Pontiacs which were widely criticized. Pontiac did what they could with the budget they were allowed, and they were definitely improved, but they didn’t quite meet up to consumer expectation. And of course; these were low-volume specials.

     

    Yes, they were plainer than the usual heavily cladded Pontiacs, but they were V8 RWD, not US GM generic FWD mediocrity...

    Edited by Robert Hall

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    It was not the ‘cladding‘, it was the design/styling. Needed Pontiac DNA but didn’t quite get it. Remember the wags saying the GTO looked too much like a Chevy?  Regardless; 3 or so MORE RWD cars would still have been low AND lower-volume and the Fed would still have shut Pontiac down.

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    None of this would have happened if the Australians are smart and not fixated on "free trade" fallacies. Imagine a 50% import tax on cars made anywhere except Australia, plus making any purchase of durable goods over $1000 that is made in Australia tax deductible for income tax purposes! Suddenly, Holden makes perfect sense and importing US, Mexican or Chinese made Chevys makes zero sense. Not only that, you'll probably find at least two or three automakers like Toyota or VW setting up a factory in Aussieland.

    FREE TRADE = SUICIDE.

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    So mercantilism is good for whom exactly? 

    As long as nations and peoples have differing competencies, free trade is still the best way to maximize consumer welfare.  Comparative advantage would still lead you to a rules-based free trade regime.  Does China cheat? YES.  Do we need to address some of our economic problems? yes.  But the notion of free trade is economic suicide presumes that all consumers in an economy essentially work for a handful of domestic producers that can (and in many cases has) produced shoddy goods at high prices.  Australia's problem is that the market is simply TOO SMALL to sustain an auto industry that requires investment in the billions and sales in the millions every single year.  High tariffs on any goods only protect domestic industries from competition that would make consumers' lives better.  Crushing the weak and defending the strong who can lobby their way to hiding behind an invisible wall with no recourse for anyone else is just plain silly and counterproductive.  Protecting industries for a nation of barely 25 million people is a massive tax on its citizens, and pursuing that policy is wrong for a whole host of reasons.  A few jobs here and there will not make up for the fact that it would still be more expensive to dramatically cut down or worse yet cut off trade with other nations.  Consumers are always better off if there is competition, foreign or otherwise, for their hard earned wages to buy anything.

    Mercantilism only helps a few at the expense of consumers anywhere.  Besides, if free trade were suicide, then why has trade consistently exceeded worldwide GDP growth since WWII?  Free trade is a good thing to have; mercantilism is wrong.

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