Just two months following the announcement that the Commodore and Astra would be cancelled, General Motors has said it will scrap the Holden brand altogether in Australia – a move that will end 160 years of the Holden name's association with the country.
Sales, design and engineering operations will wind down by next year - in New Zealand too - as GM is planning on leaving all right-hand-drive markets in a bid to optimize its business globally. It has already left other RHD markets, including the United Kingdom, India, Japan, and South Africa.
GM will close its Melbourne design center and its Lang Lang test track and approximately 600 jobs will be lost but the closure of the Holden brand does not mean the US car giant is leaving the continent entirely; it will continue to provide services for its vehicles for at least 10 years and retain around 200 staff.
GM President Mark Reuss said they explored ways to keep the brand but had decided it would cost too much to remain in the "highly fragmented right-hand-drive market".
They will establish an aftersales network to assist remaining owners, but in response to the news, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “I am disappointed but not surprised. But I am angry, like I think many Australians would be. Australian taxpayers put millions into this multinational company. They let the brand just wither away on their watch. Now they are leaving it behind.”
Holden was founded as a saddle maker in South Australia in 1856 before it started building vehicles in 1908 and was then bought by GM in 1931.
It now appears that their 89-year history as a combined entity will come to an end.