► Holden brand axed altogether
► Goes same way as Saab, Pontiac
► Why GM is killing off Holden
The Holden brand will be retired by 2021 in Australia and local design and engineering departments shuttered, General Motors has confirmed.
In what is monumental news for the Australian automotive industry, Holden’s Melbourne design studio and Lang Lang proving ground are expected to shut with up to 600 of 800 local jobs lost.
GM President Mark Reuss said in a statement every effort had been made to retain the Holden brand. ‘At the highest levels of our company we have the deepest respect for Holden's heritage and contribution to our company and to the countries of Australia and New Zealand,’ he said.
‘After considering many possible options – and putting aside our personal desires to accommodate the people and the market – we came to the conclusion that we could not prioritise further investment over all other considerations we have in a rapidly changing global industry. We do believe we have an opportunity to profitably grow the specialty vehicle business and plan to work with our partner to do that.’
Why Holden is being axed
Shutting down Holden was an ‘agonising decision for us,’ and one that ‘will impact all functions except for aftersales,’ according to Holden managing director Kristian Aquilina. He confirmed that aftersales support for customers will continue for next 10 years.
‘GM design Australia and GM engineering in Australia will be re-consolidated overseas,’ and work at Holden's Salmon Street HQ and its local design studio will cease at the end of July 2020. The engineering centre at Lang Lang will operate until the end of August 2020.
‘It was a question of scale. It’s hard to prioritise an operation that’s in just two markets. It cannot be sustained for the future.’