After 72 years of operations in Australia, the Holden brand will be retired at the end of 2020 — an announcement confirming the massive news was made by parent company, GM, in February, citing a downward trend in sales and a retreat from right-hand-drive vehicles internationally.
A statement from the company reads: “General Motors (GM) is taking decisive action to transform its international operations, building on the comprehensive strategy it laid out in 2015 to strengthen its core business, drive significant cost efficiencies and take action in markets that cannot earn an adequate return for its shareholders.
“GM announced today that it would wind down sales, design, and engineering operations in Australia and New Zealand and retire the Holden brand by 2021. The company will focus its strategies for the market on the GM specialty vehicle business. The company also announced that it had signed a binding term sheet with Great Wall Motors to purchase GM’s Rayong vehicle manufacturing facility in Thailand; and would withdraw Chevrolet from the domestic market in Thailand by the end of 2020.
“GM President Mark Reuss said the company explored a range of options to continue Holden operations, but none could overcome the challenges of the investments needed for the highly-fragmented right-hand-drive market, the economics to support growing the brand, and delivering an appropriate return on investment.
“In Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and related export markets, customers can be assured that GM will honour all warranties and continue to provide servicing and spare parts. Local operations will also continue to handle all recall and any safety-related issues, working with the appropriate governmental agencies.”
The news comes after the last Australian-made Holden, the VF Commodore, wrapped up production in 2017 at Adelaide’s Elizabeth plant. Since then, the ZB generation has been produced overseas and imported into Australia via its sales headquarters in Port Melbourne.
Many Supercars teams paid homage to the brand online despite their current vehicle allegiances, praising Holden for being “a great Aussie brand” and “always a fierce rival”. Even the Australian arm of the brand’s primary competitor, Ford, farewelled it as “iconic”, “holding a special place in the heart of many Australians”, and thanking the brand for always keeping them “on our toes and inspiring us to keep aiming higher.”