GM Kills Off Its Australian Holden Brand, Ending A 160-Year Manufacturing History

GM will completely wind down its Australian arm by 2021

[Photos: Holden]

GM announced today that Holden cars will come to an end in 2021. This brings 160 years that the Australian brand has operated to a sad close.

Though Holdens weren’t available in the U.S. under their own badge, they manufactured cars such as the Chevrolet SS and Pontiac G8 which were rebadged and sold domestically. Many car enthusiasts also recognize the brand for its famously cool “utes,” which gave drivers the performance of a muscle car and the bed of a pickup truck.

GM Senior VP of International Operations, Julian Blissett, stated that “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.”

This closure comes as a disappointment to many Australians who grew up with the brand. Ultimately, thoughts also turn to those who will lose their jobs as a result of the shut down.

GM plans to save money by withdrawing from mass production in the right-hand drive market. Besides the Commodore on which the SS and G8 were based, Holden’s lineup was primarily made up of rebadged Chevys. The muscle cars and sedans which Holden specialized in are steadily being replaced as trucks, SUVs, and crossovers take over the market.

With car sales going steadily downhill for each of the big three manufacturers, cutting production is saving them billions of dollars each. Companies like GM are closing out sedan production in order to invest in market segments with more growth.

Ford made a similar move here in the U.S. to cease production of all cars except the Mustang in order to focus on larger vehicles. As gas prices drop, buyers turn their sights towards large vehicles which are presumed to offer more space, safety, and off-road capability, the sedan market is dwindling.