Holden car brand is axed after dwindling sales

The Holden car brand will be no more, with General Motors opting to dump the name synonymous with Australian motoring by next year.

After closing the company’s local manufacturing operations in 2017, GM has taken the ‘difficult’ decision to retire the brand from sales in both Australia and New Zealand.

GM cars are likely to be sold in Australia as Chevrolets from 2021. 

‘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,’ GM International Operations Senior Vice President Julian Blissett said on Monday.

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The Holden car brand will be no more, with General Motors opting to dump the name synonymous with Australian motoring by 2021. Pictured is the last Holden Commodore at the Elizabeth plant in Adelaide, October 2017

The Holden car brand will be no more, with General Motors opting to dump the name synonymous with Australian motoring by 2021. Pictured is the last Holden Commodore at the Elizabeth plant in Adelaide, October 2017

The Holden car brand will be no more, with General Motors opting to dump the name synonymous with Australian motoring by 2021. Pictured is the last Holden Commodore at the Elizabeth plant in Adelaide, October 2017

The axing of the Holden nameplate will end a motoring tradition that began in November 1948 when the first 48-215 rolled off the production line at the Fisherman’s Bend factory in Melbourne.

General Motors’s Australian arm continued manufacturing cars for another 69 years,  until the last Holden Commodore was made in Adelaide in October 2017. 

Just a decade ago, the Commodore was still Australia’s best-selling car, a position it had held uninterrupted for 15 unbroken years, as it outsold its traditional rear-wheel-drive rival, the Ford Falcon.

In December, Holden announced the Commodore nameplate would be axed in 2020 after 42 years being synonymous with V8 muscle and six-cylinder family cars.

Australian motorists were lukewarm about the last Commodore – a rebadged Opel Insignia from Germany that was front-wheel drive. 

A month later, Holden’s share of the Australian car market fell to a mere 3.7 per cent, barely scraping into the top ten, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries data showed.

Holden, the maker of popular models including the Kingswood and Torana, was for many decades Australia’s most popular car brand, marketing itself during the 1970s as: ‘Football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars’. 

Its market share has gradually eroded since Bob Hawke’s Labor government began to unwind Australia’s 57 per cent import tariffs from 1988. 

Leo Pruneau, Holden’s chief designer during the 1970s and 1980s, last year told Daily Mail Australia GM was likely to axe the Holden brand in coming years.

‘I would say 10 years we won’t see a Holden badge,’ he said.

‘It’s a really sad thing to say. There’s a good chance the Holden name could disappear altogether.’ 

He prediction came true, only nine years earlier than he imagined. 

The axing of the Holden nameplate will end a tradition that began in November 1948 that began when the first 48-215 rolled off the production line at Fisherman's Bend factory in Melbourne

The axing of the Holden nameplate will end a tradition that began in November 1948 that began when the first 48-215 rolled off the production line at Fisherman's Bend factory in Melbourne

The axing of the Holden nameplate will end a tradition that began in November 1948 that began when the first 48-215 rolled off the production line at Fisherman’s Bend factory in Melbourne

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