Holden axed in Australia.

Misrabelle

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Holden will be axed in Australia at the end of 2020 – just three years after the end of local manufacturing and the lowest monthly sales since it was established in 1948 – as US car giant General Motors gets out of right-hand-drive markets globally.

Although Holden had been posting record low sales – which led to the end of the Commodore and Astra models late last year – the announcement has still come as a shock to industry veterans now the brand has lost its final lifeline.

General Motors will also close its Melbourne design studio and test track at Lang Lang on the south-east outskirts of Melbourne. Approximately 600 of the 800 jobs will be lost, with all being awarded redundancies. The remaining workforce of 200 people will take care of Holden's ongoing service and warranty commitments for up to 10 years.
Holden management informed head office staff and dealers about midday today (AEDST).

An official media statement from Holden is forthcoming.


A high-ranking company insider claimed the "agonising decision" had only been made in Detroit in the past 48 hours and that General Motors had every intention of reviving the brand following the end of local manufacturing, as evidenced by the introduction of the US-based Holden Acadia and Holden Equinox SUVs and upcoming Corvette sports car.
"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."
General Motors has been making a slow retreat from other right-hand-drive countries over the past three years, getting out of lucrative markets such as the United Kingdom, Japan, India and South Africa.
The three main remaining right-hand-drive countries were Thailand, Australia and New Zealand, but General Motors says it has become unprofitable to develop new vehicles for such comparatively small markets.
Globally, more than 75 per cent of all vehicles sold are left-hand-drive, while right-hand-drive countries account for the remaining 25 per cent of sales. However, car companies have less opportunities to recoup their investment because the cost to design, engineer and develop left- and right-hand drives is the same.

General Motors Specialty Vehicles
With the Holden name to be retired by the end of this year, General Motors is considering a new sub-brand called General Motors Specialty Vehicles (GMSV) that would sell selected US models – most of which will be converted to right-hand-drive by the company formerly known as Holden Special Vehicles, and which currently imports the Chevrolet Camaro muscle car and Chevrolet Silverado pick-up.
The Camaro and Silverado are currently sold through 65 of Holden’s 204 dealers nationally. It is unclear which of those dealers will continue under the proposed GMSV name and new arrangements.
While the new deal would initially apply to existing models such as the Chevrolet Camaro SS, Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and upcoming Chevrolet Silverado 1500, other models out of the US are expected to follow.
Options include the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban seven-seat SUVs, as well as certain Cadillac SUVs that share their underpinnings. There is also the possibility the electric Hummer pick-up – due to go into production in the US two years from now – could be sold in Australia some time down the road if converted to right-hand-drive locally.
The introduction of the GMSV sub-brand also solves the problem of what badge to sell the iconic Chevrolet Corvette sports car under. It is due in Australian showrooms next year but will be factory-built in right-hand-drive. Its rear-engine layout made the conversion easier and more affordable on this model.
 

CraigB

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Damn. That sucks. Guess that means they'll be leaving the UK too?
 

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Classy reply from Ford:

“All of us here at Ford Australia are saddened to hear the news that Holden will cease operations.

Holden is an iconic brand that holds a special place in the heart of many Australians, and has done so much to shape the Australian automotive industry and the country. Its vehicles have been worthy competitors both on road and on the racetrack.

To our friends at Holden, thank you for keeping us on our toes and inspiring us to keep aiming higher. We will miss you.”
 

argatoga

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With the demise of the RWD Commodore, were they selling anything interesting?
 

Tram13

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Nah, just the last of the GM-era Opels and some of US Chevrolet models, mostly SUV's.

What I find interesting is that the article doesn't mention if the GM offered the brand licencing rights to PSA. I guess even they couldn't care less about the brand, although that might mean we could see Opel back in Australia... Yet again.

Can't say that I'm sad nor surprised, but I am surprised by their decision to pull out of all RHD markets, including South Africa. Somehow that slipped under my radar. Less surprised by their decision to pull out of India, because they never held a strong presence there, albeit it doesn't mean they couldn't have start investing in what I believe is a growing market.
 

Tram13

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Yes, what you said is true, but I don't think French brands historically ever did well in Australia. On the other hand, Opel would be perceived as a German brand (even if the only cars they currently make in Germany are the Insignia and some versions of the Grandland X), and probably (falsely) as a brand closer to Holden.

I am of course just presuming, as I don't know what's the general Australian perception of those brands.
 

GRtak

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I heard the rumors start swirling right about the same time as the Opel/Vauxhall sale. While unfortunate, it was not unexpected.


Edit:

By the way, with things not going well in South America, they may do something drastic there too.
 
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Perc

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GM don't really have a good track record when it comes to brands.

Most Europeans see Chevrolet as a maker of big, heavy, V8 powered vans and big sedans because we never got the small cheap Chevrolets here, like the Suzuki-made badge jobs and the Chevette and whatnot. Why would we? That's what Opel was for.

Then, in the early 00's, they come full force into Europe with a whole lineup of small and shoddily made Korean cars wearing the Chevrolet bowtie. The average customer reaction to these cars was "That's not a Chevrolet." Then after spending a decade trying to market them here, and finally getting some buyers, they pull the plug and leave the continent.
 

jack_christie

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PM 'angry' as Holden quits Australia

"I am angry," Scott Morrison told reporters in Melbourne, noting governments had contributed more than $2 billion to General Motors.

"They took money from Australian taxpayers for all those years just to let the Holden brand wither on their watch - that's disappointing.

"Throwing all that taxpayers' money at them - at the end of the day they were never going to respect it."
https://7news.com.au/business/canberra-very-disappointed-with-holden-c-701674
 

jack_christie

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GM isn't a charity, if they can't make a profit they'll leave. Their obligation is to their share holders, not Australia.
They also have obligations to their workers and dealer network.

Didn't make a profit because GM is so poorly run. They ran away from Europe, and now Australia. Their former European operations, run by PSA now make profits.
 

GRtak

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Part of the reason the auto manufacturing industry has taken a hit in Australia is because they dropped tariffs on imports. Those tariffs protected a small market. The population of Australia is about the same as Texas, but they buy fewer vehicles.
 
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