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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/16/20 9:38 p.m.

Pour one out for Holden

From tonight's release:

GM announced today that it would wind down sales, design and engineering operations in Australia and New Zealand and retire the Holden brand by 2021.

Some in-car to remember the good times:

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/16/20 9:46 p.m.

And the Holden Pursuit Special liberated by the Nightrider. 

 

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
2/16/20 9:58 p.m.

My son is named Holden. This gives me extra sad.

slowbird
slowbird Dork
2/16/20 10:03 p.m.

Oof, now who is Ford going to race against down there?

06HHR
06HHR Dork
2/16/20 10:14 p.m.

In reply to slowbird : Nissan, by 2021 GM will more than likely transition Chevrolet into the market.

EDIT: Yeah, no GM in Australia, New Zealand and Thailand according to Mary Barra.  Never thought that would happen, then again after the sale of Opel/Vauxhall it shouldn't have been a surprise. 

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/17/general-motors-gm-retreats-from-australia-new-zealand-and-thailand.html

LeonV
LeonV New Reader
2/16/20 10:16 p.m.

Sad times...

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
2/16/20 10:17 p.m.

Holden is dead. Long live the Commodore. 

ShawnG
ShawnG UltimaDork
2/16/20 10:18 p.m.

I guess they ran out of products for GM to rebadge and sell to North America.

 

slowbird
slowbird Dork
2/16/20 10:18 p.m.

In reply to 06HHR :

I wish, but they're leaving Supercars already. Volvo and Mercedes also gone...it's going to be a Ford spec series if someone doesn't step up. And as much as I like Ford, I don't think that's good for the health of the sport. sad

06HHR
06HHR Dork
2/16/20 10:31 p.m.

In reply to slowbird :

That may happen. Factory sedan racing programs usually take a hit during economic downturns. The global economy is already slowing down. It's a sad day for the Holden faithful.  Wonder if this will impact GTO, PPV Caprice and Chevy SS spares in the future?

 

NickD
NickD PowerDork
2/17/20 5:14 a.m.
06HHR said:

In reply to slowbird :

  Wonder if this will impact GTO, PPV Caprice and Chevy SS spares in the future?

 

GTO spares were already hard to get. I knew someone who had one of the GTOs and got rid of it because they were hearing from other owners that in the event of an accident, minor damage would total out cars because fenders and bumpers and such were hard to get and had to be shipped from Australia, adding to the cost.

Honestly, since they stopped Holden's unique vehicle line, it might as well have been dead. Holden the past few years has just been Holden Cruzes and Holden Volts and Holden Equinoxes.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
2/17/20 5:35 a.m.

Kind of sad but IIRC Holden hadn't really been doing engineering like they used to, more like working out how to rebadge Opels.

 

There's some interesting engineering in the Holden 308, be nice to get my hands on one someday.

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed UltraDork
2/17/20 6:26 a.m.

The automotive industry is dynamic and brutal.  I can see more brands saying good bye in the future.

02Pilot
02Pilot SuperDork
2/17/20 7:34 a.m.

I suspect Aussie car-buying tastes have changed since the Holden glory days, but I've wondered for a while now (if that segment still exists in some latent form) if a Dodge product wouldn't sell well down there. Engineering RHD would be the only real hurdle. Hell, there's a Smyth ute kit for the Charger....

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
2/17/20 7:40 a.m.

The only surprise is that Holden lasted this long in a market that small. Australia and New Zealand will be driving anything created for the British and Japanese markets extensively in short order, plus a few re-engineered American vehicles I imagine. Crew cab trucks ought to take hold, as well as the world wide SUV/CUV trend. Holdens haven't been manufactured in Australia for a while anyway. This is shutting down the brand and the engineering/sales offices.

Edit: No single manufacturer sells 250,000 units annually in Australia.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
2/17/20 7:42 a.m.
02Pilot said:

I suspect Aussie car-buying tastes have changed since the Holden glory days, but I've wondered for a while now (if that segment still exists in some latent form) if a Dodge product wouldn't sell well down there. Engineering RHD would be the only real hurdle. Hell, there's a Smyth ute kit for the Charger....

You're probably right. The Kia Stinger is a runaway success in Australia if that tells you anything.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
2/17/20 8:13 a.m.

Hopefully they will keep some if their interior guys and bring them to work on Cadillac and Corvette.  I remember comparing the first GTO to other GM products and being impressed at what the Aussies could do. IIRC I think the G8 and SS were also a cut above other GM products at the time. Nothing earth-shattering mind you, the bar was pretty low, but build quality was better.

 

 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
2/17/20 8:21 a.m.
ShawnG said:

I guess they ran out of products for GM to rebadge and utterly fail to sell to North America.

FTFY.  I never understood - beyond the generic "Well, that's GM for ya" - why GM has brought some awesome cars here from their foreign divisions and then totally, completely, and purposely declined to advertise or promote them.

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/17/20 8:23 a.m.
DeadSkunk (Warren) said:

Holdens haven't been manufactured in Australia for a while anyway.

Well, two years. You make it sound like it's been a couple of decades.

Australian tastes are different. They have different roads than you find elsewhere, and a taste for not-giant pickups. Holden died when they stopped manufacturing there, but losing the engineering is really going to hurt.

And you can't have Holden track footage without Brocky getting interviewed in-car during the race while manhandling a Commodore with a big 05 on the door. You know, THE race.

And turn the sound up to hear the legendary Torana A9X. 

 

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
2/17/20 8:24 a.m.

I still recall walking one of those supercharged GTO's on the interstate.  Good times.

 

My uncle worked out of that Thailand plant for a long time, managing or troubleshooting that plant and the plants in that part of the world.  Did you guys know that GM has a plant in Bangladesh? He used to fly in there too.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
2/17/20 8:30 a.m.

In reply to pinchvalve :

One thing that struck me about the GTO was how space inefficient it was.  As large as the car was, the trunk was incredibly small, and half of it was taken up by fuel tank, which the spare tire was partially UNDER.  Meanwhile, you'd pull an interior panel off and there'd be 8 inches of dead space behind it.

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE HalfDork
2/17/20 8:32 a.m.
Duke said:
ShawnG said:

I guess they ran out of products for GM to rebadge and utterly fail to sell to North America.

FTFY.  I never understood - beyond the generic "Well, that's GM for ya" - why GM has brought some awesome cars here from their foreign divisions and then totally, completely, and purposely declined to advertise or promote them.

The old inter-brand rivalry at GM was something to behold; stories from Ross Perot's time there in the 80s are insane, literally a non-stop picture of Marge saying "He's right, but he shouldn't say it." when he openly talked about boardroom fights that nearly turned to brawls.

I'm sad to see Holden go, but I'm not surprised at all. GMs been lopping off parts it deems "bad" left and right since 2008 and that corner of the world is a real small market.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
2/17/20 8:35 a.m.
Duke said:
ShawnG said:

I guess they ran out of products for GM to rebadge and utterly fail to sell to North America.

FTFY.  I never understood - beyond the generic "Well, that's GM for ya" - why GM has brought some awesome cars here from their foreign divisions and then totally, completely, and purposely declined to advertise or promote them.

 

Someone here commented that the only reason we got some of those GM-Holden rebadged was because they had contractural obligations to run so many cars through the plant before they could close it, so they slapped Pontiac and Chevy badges on some of them to fill capacity.

They didn't really have incentive to sell them, because if they turned out to be popular, they'd have to either keep the plant open, or shift production to another plant if they wanted to continue production.

 

I wonder how many bad ideas the end of the G-body gave them.  "Hey, if we discontinue a mildly popular car, it will be wildly popular right before we were going to be scrapping the tooling anyway, so it's a win-win!"

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
2/17/20 9:14 a.m.
Javelin said:

My son is named Holden. This gives me extra sad.

Don't feel too bad.  My son is named Henry J.  They haven't been made since before he was even born.  

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
2/17/20 9:25 a.m.

A friend of mine used to have one of the Aussie GTO's- a 6 speed manual car.  He tossed me the keys one time with 2 instructions:

1) You can pass anyone, at any time, at will.

2) Do not, under any circumstances, turn off the traction control.

He eventually got rid of the car when a minor front collision (not by me) totalled it out.  Parts were prohibitively expensive to source.

On topic: Holden's death is just the further gentrification of an increasingly gentrified world.  Whether it's cars, food, music, architecture....whatever you care to name.  One used to travel to different places to see other cultures.  Now those cultures are being "polluted" with influxes of people from all over the world, with the resulting loss of the uniqueness and variety that made them so special.  Now it's possible, for example, to visit any of the 50 states , and countless countries, and never eat anything different than what you might experience at home.  

The real sign that automotive gentrification is reaching its climax will be when the Aussies and the UK switch to left hand drive.  You know it's coming.  

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