Holden Is Officially Dead
In an official announcement, and “with a heavy heart” for both General Motors and every worldwide fan of the Australian marque, Holden will be retired in Australia and New Zealand by 2021. This announcement brings to an end a history dating back 164 years and the brand’s storied involvement in Australian V8 Supercars.
General Motors, owners of the Holden name since 1931, explain that the decision was made “after an exhaustive analysis of the investment required for Holden to be competitive for the long term”, or in other words, two decades of declining sales have finally caught up with Australia’s most famous carmaker.
In 2017, Australian production was shut down completely, and most models sold in Australasia were essentially re-modeled Opels and Chevrolets. The decision that Holdens’ almighty Commodore, which first appeared in 1978, would live on as a re-badged Insignia proved particularly controversial, with potential customers showing their displeasure with the thunderous sounds of cheque books being slammed shut.
The announcement comes amid a global restructuring for General Motors, with the company’s commitment to right-hand drive markets in Australia and the UK also taking a back seat.
Despite the news, GM has confirmed that, though the Holden name will cease to exist the company will work with existing dealers to make sure existing customers are catered for by providing after sales support for at least the next 10 years. These include all existing warranties and guarantees, an on-going call centre, safety recalls and spare parts.
Established as a saddle company in 1856 under the name ‘J.A. Holden & Co.’ in deference to founder James Alexander, Holden’s automotive roots only begun to sprout when J.A’s grandson, and motoring enthusiast, Edward Holden joined the Adelaide company in 1905. By 1908, Holden had begun repairing car upholstery, and by 1913 had moved into the manufacture of motorbike sidecars. A new era began in 1924 though when Holden – now Holden’s Motor Body Builders Ltd – became the exclusive supplier of General Motors products in Australia. Two years later, General Motors (Australia) was founded, and in 1931, a what will become a 90-year partnership was officially inaugurated when GM bought Holden outright.
*Images courtesy of General Motors