Update: Holden has released an official statement, confirming "with a heavy heart" that it will be retiring from Australia and New Zealand. As previously reported, the decision is due to the "investment required for Holden to be competitive for the long term in Australia's and New Zealand's new car markets" and "the issue of scale." Check out the press release section below for the full announcement.
Well, that was fast. Just three years after the end of the local production of Holden in Australia and two months after the announcement for the cancellation of the Commodore and Astra, it emerged that the brand could be axed entirely by the end of this year. The information comes from a CarAdvice report, which quotes “a high-ranking company insider” and says an official press release from the company should be released very soon. At the time of writing this, there’s no official announcement coming from Holden.
The move is due to General Motors’ plans to leave all right-hand-drive markets in an attempt to optimise its business globally. The online publication reports that the "agonising decision" comes directly from Detroit and has nothing to do with the local division of the company. GM has already left other RHD markets, including the United Kingdom, India, Japan, and South Africa.
Gallery: Holden ends Australian production
"Our intention was to turn around the brand... there is zero blame to the local team," the high-ranking GM manager told CarAdvice. "This decision is all about investment priorities."
In addition, General Motors will also close its Melbourne design centre, as well as its Lang Lang test track. In total, approximately 600 jobs will be lost, while the remaining workforce of about 200 employees will run Holden’s service and maintenance program for up to 10 years.
Interestingly, the yet unconfirmed demise of Holden doesn’t mean that General Motors will leave the Australian market entirely. According to the report, the American automaker could launch a new division called General Motors Specialty Vehicles (GMSV) that would sell selected U.S. models in the Land Down Under. The cars will arrive on the continent in LHD configuration from the factory and will be converted by a company formerly known as Holden Special Vehicles.
Some of the models that could be offered include the currently available Chevrolet Camaro SS, Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Chevrolet Silverado 2500, and the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado 1500. Other GM models, including the new Cadillac Escalade, could potentially be launched, too.
With a heavy heart, Holden announced today that General Motors will be retiring the Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand. This announcement will be felt deeply by the entire Holden family, our customers and our fans.
We will immediately begin working with our dealer partners across Australia and New Zealand to implement an orderly transition, including support for our existing customers.
Holden will continue to support customers in the following ways:
- Honour all existing warranties and guarantees
- Honour all free scheduled servicing offers
- Ongoing call centre support
- Provide servicing and spare parts for at least 10 years, through national aftersales networks in Australia and New Zealand
- Recalls or safety-related issues if they arise
GM has taken this difficult decision after an exhaustive analysis of the investment required for Holden to be competitive for the long term in Australia's and New Zealand's new car markets. Regrettably, this assessment determined such an investment could not meet GM's investment thresholds, including delivering an appropriate return.
Factors weighing against further investment in Holden included: the highly fragmented right-hand-drive domestic markets; the economics to support growing the brand; and delivering an appropriate return on investment.
More broadly is the issue of scale. The global consolidation of the automotive industry has made it increasingly challenging to support a brand and a business that operates in only two markets, which represent less than one percent of the global industry.
This decision has not been taken lightly, especially considering the iconic status of the Holden brand and the contribution it has made not only to GM, but to the development of the economies of Australia and New Zealand.
It impacts all aspects of the Holden business, including the wind-down of the National Sales Company, GM Holden Engineering, GM Design Australia, Holden Financial Services and Maven Australia.
We are commencing work with our dealer partners on timing to cease sales of new vehicles, as well as transitioning dealerships to authorised service outlets.
Where can I get my Holden serviced?
Holden will establish a national aftersales network to support existing customers for at least the next 10 years. All current Holden dealers will be offered the opportunity to transition to Holden authorised service outlets.
Will you honour my warranty?
Yes. Holden will continue to honour all existing warranties.
For how long will Holden provide spare parts?
Holden will provide existing Holden customers aftersales support for at least 10 years, including warranty, service, spare parts and any required recall or field actions.
How far will I need to travel to get my car serviced in future?
Holden will establish a national aftersales network. All current Holden dealers will be offered the opportunity to transition to Holden authorised service outlets.
What happens if there is a vehicle recall?
As required, Holden and its aftersales network will also continue to handle any recalls or safety-related issues if they arise, working with the appropriate governmental agencies.
Can I still buy a new Holden?
Yes, Holden Dealerships still have a range of new, demonstrator and used vehicles available for sale. If you are interested, you should contact your local Dealer while stock lasts.
When will Holden close?
We are committed to looking after existing Holden customers – and our plan is to provide aftersales support for at least 10 years. We will work closely with our dealers and customers around the appropriate timing to cease sales in Australia and New Zealand.
What parts of the Holden operation are impacted by this decision?
The National Sales Company; Design, Engineering, Maven, Holden Financial Services. We will retain a team to support our aftersales operation.
Wouldn't it have been better to close Holden when local manufacturing ended?
We believed at the time that Holden could continue as a full-line importer.
What happens to Lang Lang Proving Ground?
We will explore options around the Lang Lang Proving Ground.
What happens to HSV?
We plan to focus our growth strategies in these markets on the specialty vehicles business and plan to immediately begin work with our partner on that focus.
What happens to Holden's collection of historic vehicles, vehicles of national significance?
We will preserve key heritage vehicles and are working through plans with GM and local partners and institutions.
Is Corvette still coming to Australia and New Zealand?
We will work through this and share information in the coming months.
What is the future of Holden in Supercar racing?
We will begin discussions with the organisers of Supercars and Red Bull Holden Racing Team. We will update you on these discussions at the appropriate time.
Will Holden continue to sponsor Red Bull Holden Racing Team Racing?
We are aware of our commitment and we will work through with Red Bull Holden Racing Team the implications of this decision.