GENERAL MOTORS WILL retire Holden in Australia, shutting the iconic Lion Brand down, closing the incredible Lang Lang providing ground which proved instrumental in the local development of Australian and imported Holden models, and shutting the local design and engineering teams. Around 600 of the 800 jobs filled at Holden will be made redundant.

Announced today in Melbourne, GM said that Australia’s famous local brand had come to an end and that GM could not justify further investment in right-hand drive markets.

GM said impacted Holden employees “will be provided separation packages and employment transition support.

GM also confirmed customers can expect support for the next ten years.

“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,” said the statement.

GM International Operations Senior Vice President Julian Blissett said that the brand was no longer feasible after tumbling sales and a lineup of cars that did not resonate with the Australian market.

“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.

“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.”

Holden was founded in 1856 as J.A. Holden & Co, a saddlery business in Adelaide, before assembling car bodies during the War and in 1948 officially launching the Holden car brand in honour of Sir Edward Holden, the grandson of J.A Holden.

In the time since it was founded Holden produced cars locally – most famously the Holden Commodore – up until 2017. Since then, the company has lost considerable market share while continuing to run its local engineering operations at Lang Lang, Victoria and design studio in Port Melbourne. Both will be shut as GM consolidate its position and likely offer limited showrooms selling converted GM product under HSV-converted GM speciality vehicles branding.

“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,” said GM Holden Interim Chairman and Managing Director Kristian Aquilina who recently stepped into the role replacing stop-gap MD David Buttner.

“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.

“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,” he said.

“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 on the beach

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About Author

Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax,, AMC, Just Cars, and more.

1 comment

  1. Sad to see an iconic Aussie brand fall by the wayside, however you have to question if a national car industry was ever economically sustainable in the first place.

    For decades, the Aussie car manufacturers were mostly propped up by subsidies and protected by import duties.

    When these protection measures were rolled back, the buying public decided that other brands simply offered better value for money. The market does not lie.

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