The Iconic Holden To Be Axed As A Brand Altogether After 160+ Years On The Road

In wild news from the automotive industry, Australia’s iconic Holden brand is set to be wound up completely before the end of this year, bringing to an end over 160 years of history on Australian roads.

Holden’s parent company, the US-based General Motors, made the shock announcement a short time ago, confirming Holden as a brand will be removed from sale completely before 2021, with local design and engineering operations also set to be shut down.

General Motors has made the call in response to dwindling sales in Australia – numbers that saw both the Commodore and Astra removed from production lines at the end of last year – as well as a growing company desire to withdraw from the production of right-hand drive vehicles.

Along with the disappearance of the Holden brand, GM will be closing down its Melbourne-based design studio and Holden’s test track at Lang Lang. It’s estimated that between 600 and 800 jobs will be lost as a result of the shutdown. Staff are expected to be paid out full redundancies. The company will retain its fleet of service and mechanical staff in order to honour service and warranty commitments on new cars sold up until the final shutdown. That operational commitment is expected to last some 10 years.

In a statement, GM bosses asserted “Through its proud 160-year history, Holden has not only made cars, it has been a powerful driver on the industrialisation and advancement of Australia and New Zealand. 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.”

“After comprehensive assessment, we regret that we could not prioritise 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.”

Those “global priorities” include exiting the production of right-hand drive vehicles altogether. Australia, along with New Zealand and Thailand, represented GM’s last remaining regions of right-hand drive car production. Globally, right-hand drive cars account for just 25% of total cars produced, however the cost of developing and producing them remains the same as left-hand drive vehicles.

End of a dang era, folks. It’s a wild time in the car game.