GM Kills Holden Brand As It Withdraws From Right-Hand Drive Markets

General Motors says it cannot make Australia’s Holden brand profitable in the long-term.

The Holden brand will be killed off by General Motors in Australia and New Zealand by 2021 following dismal sales and shortly after it was announced the Commodore and Astra were being axed. Approximately 600 people will lose their jobs.

In a statement, General Motors revealed that its Melbourne design studio and the Lang Lang test facility will be closed as part of the move. Additionally, Maven and Holden Financial Services will be closed.

Holden started out life as a local Australian motor body builder and from 1924 onwards, started producing bodies for General Motors. In 1931, GM acquired a stake in Holden and created General Motors Holden. The company was Australia’s best-selling automotive brand for much of the next half a century. Holden built its final locally-produced vehicle, a Commodore V8, on October 20, 2017.

“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,” GM International Operations senior vice president Julian Blissett said. “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.”

Holden says it will honor all current warranties and servicing offers made for new vehicles and continue to provide servicing and spare parts for at least 10 years through its aftersales networks in Australia and New Zealand. In addition, it will continue to handle any recalls or safety-related issues that may arise in the coming years.

Related: Holden Boss Quits After GM’s Aussie Brand Records Worst Sales Since 1948

General Motors chairman and chief executive Mary Barra says it is restructuring its international operations and the decision has been made to pull out of right-hand drive markets. This means that the company will also withdraw Chevrolet from Thailand by the end of 2020.

“I’ve often said that we will do the right thing, even when it’s hard, and this is one of those times,” Barra said. “We are restructuring our international operations, focusing on markets where we have the right strategies to drive robust returns, and prioritizing global investments that will drive growth in the future of mobility, especially in the areas of EVs and AVs.”

While Holden will be killed off, General Motors won’t leave the Australian market entirely and is said to be working on a sub-brand dubbed General Motors Speciality Vehicles that will sell U.S.-imported vehicles in Australia such as the Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Silverado, the C8 Corvette, and perhaps other models like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, Car Advice reports.


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