National

GM shuts the door on Holden in Australia

By AAP Newswire

HOLDEN'S PRESENCE

Holden started as a saddlery in 1856 and produced its first Australian-designed car in 1948.

But since the closure of local production in 2017, Holden has sold only imported vehicles, while retaining testing and engineering facilities in Australia.

The company's total sales in 2019 were just 43,176, down almost 29 per cent in a total market which fell by just eight per cent.

GM's DECISION

The decision to shut down the brand was made by parent company General Motors, the American multinational which produces about eight million vehicles annually largely across four divisions, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC

GM said its global priorities showed it couldn't justify the investment necessary to ensure the brand would flourish rather than just "limp along".

The closure will cut about 600 jobs in Australia and New Zealand, mostly management, engineering and sales and marketing positions.

About 200 jobs will be retained, largely in aftersales, including spare parts

The 185 Holden dealers in Australia and the 31 in New Zealand will be offered compensation as they transition to other brands or close.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S NOT HAPPY

"I am angry ... they took money from Australian taxpayers for all those years just to let the Holden brand wither on their watch - that's disappointing." Prime Minister Scott Morrison, noting governments had contributed more than $2 billion to GM.

"Holden is walking away from Australia." Trade Minister Karen Andrews.

BUT THE UNION BLAMES THE GOVERNMENT

"This conservative government ... have consistently refused to support Australian manufacturing and we are seeing the result of that, with over 600 jobs being lost at Holden." Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union representative Donherra Walmsley.

HOLDEN DEALERS ARE REELING

"They knew they were doing it tough but their understanding was, from the interim (Holden) CEO, that they would be working towards a bigger plan in the hope of turning it around. But obviously that is not to be. It's come as a huge blow to our dealers." Australian Automotive Dealer Association chief Brian Savage.

EVEN FORD ARE SADDENED THEIR RIVAL IS LEAVING

"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." Ford on twitter.

BUT GM'S BOSS IS JUST AS SAD

"We're heartbroken ... On behalf of Holden and General Motors it has been an absolute privilege for Holden to be there with so many of you for those important experiences in life - family holidays, getting tradies to work, getting your L plates and getting your P plates. Bringing home a newborn. First jobs, last jobs." interim Chairman and Managing Director Kristian Aquilina.