Australia's Legendary Holden Brand Is Shutting Down

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After 165 years in business, the division is shutting down.

The automaker that has existed in both Australia and New Zealand for 165 years will officially close its doors by the end of this year. GM has just announced its Holden division, originally founded in 1856 in Melbourne, will shut its doors for good at the end of this year. This is not to be confused with what happened in 2017 when GM ended Holden's manufacturing operations, transforming it into a badge-engineered brand using imported Buicks, such as the Buick Regal Sportback, and turning them into Holden models (Holden Commodore).

GM first purchased Holden back in 1931 and over the decades produced some of the coolest V8 muscle cars in the world. In the first decade of this century, Americans finally got a taste of Holden when it imported the then-current generation Commodore as the Pontiac G8. Not long after, the Holden Monaro was brought stateside as the fifth-generation Pontiac GTO. The final decision to eliminate Holden was made by GM International Operations Senior Vice President Julian Blissett. It wasn't an easy choice to make.

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"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," said Blissett. "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."

GM conducted a feasibility study to help determine whether Holden was financially worthwhile and competitive. One of the major factors working against it were the "fragmented right-hand drive markets." GM further emphasized its decision had nothing to do with Holden's talented team of engineers, designers, and executives. "After a 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," said Blissett.

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Current Holden customers have no reason to worry because GM says it will honor all warranties and service offers made at the time of sale. Regular service visits and spare parts will also be made available for at least the next decade through aftersales networks in Australia and New Zealand. Affected employees will receive compensation packages and employment transition support. Holden dealerships also have the opportunity to continue as authorized service centers.

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