News - Holden Cruze
Holden Cruze to end production this year
Cruze off: The Holden Cruze launched in mid-2009 and production started in Australia in early 2011.
Production of Cruze to end in October, Holden committed to 2017 date for Commodore
29 February 2016
GM HOLDEN will end Australian production of its Cruze small-car range in
October, a year before the Commodore ceases production, as the car-maker pushes
on with the wind-down of its local manufacturing operations.
The announcement by Holden was not unexpected, with the arrival later this year
of the all-new European-built Astra hatch range, followed by the launch of the
related Korean-built next-generation Cruze sedan.
Slowing sales and the impact on the company’s financial position are also
potential factors in the decision to end production of the ageing small car.
The introduction later this year of stricter Euro 5 emissions regulations that
impact the Euro 4 Cruze and its Commodore stablemate may have also played a
part, although Holden was granted a short-term exemption from the latest
Holden confirmed that the wind-down of Cruze production would not impact the
Commodore sedan and Sportwagon that will continue to be produced at the
Elizabeth plant in South Australia until the end of 2017.
The car-maker said in a statement that the eventual cessation of Cruze
production “has been openly discussed in weekly staff meetings and forums at
the Elizabeth factory”.
A Holden spokesperson said the company could not confirm the number of staff
impacted by the early exit of the Australian-built Cruze as it was in the
process of “undertaking production studies and analysis to determine future
The spokesperson said that while some employees will leave Holden prior to the
end of Cruze production, the majority would finish up on the last day the car
rolls down the Elizabeth production line.
GM Holden managing director and chairman Mark Bernhard highlighted the company’
s commitment to ensuring a smooth transition for its workers to other
“I want to acknowledge first and foremost the impact the end of local
manufacturing has on people, and their families, across the country and
throughout the industry,” he said.
“Our people remain our number-one priority. As I’ve said since the first day I
took up this role last year, my most important job is to support our people and
I want to reaffirm that commitment to helping them wherever we can.
“Our focus is to manage the gradual wind-down of manufacturing between now and
the end of 2017 in a way that treats our employees with respect and dignity as
they leave the company and gives them the best chance at gaining future
“In the coming months, we will be helping many in our manufacturing workforce
transition to new employment, wherever possible. Holden is committed to
supporting staff through this transition process, and all our people have
access to career counselling, training and job-search assistance.”
Mr Bernhard said by the time production ends in October, close to 125,000
Cruzes will have been produced at Elizabeth over the past five-and-a-half
years, with an annual sales peak of 33,000 examples of the small car in
He said the affected employees “should be extremely proud of their contribution
to our industry” and highlighted the company’s commitment to bring 24 new
models to market by 2020 and rejuvenate the brand as ways to “honour our people
and our heritage”.
“The cessation of Cruze manufacturing this year was always a key part of Holden’
s plan to gradually wind down manufacturing and ensure our people and the
supply base have the maximum amount of time possible to transition,” he added.
Holden executive director of human resources Ashley Winnett reiterated Mr
Bernhard’s commitment to ensuring a smooth transition for employees and
detailed the company’s programs that are designed to assist staff in seeking to
“Our number-one priority is to support our people – this is a difficult time
for all those in the Holden family,” he said.
“Every Holden worker has access to a suite of transition services and up to
$3000 in approved training; all part of Holden’s $15 million contribution to
the federal government’s ‘growth fund’ for specific support of our
manufacturing and engineering employees.
“All of our people have counselling services available to them, as well as
career counselling, training and job-searching assistance. All Holden employees
at Elizabeth are entitled to this transition support, both before and after
they eventually leave the company.
“Holden is giving our employees and suppliers as much advance notice as
possible, and we have openly been discussing this move with our people since
2014. The world-class ‘transition centre’ we have established at the Elizabeth
plant is open to both our people and employees of supplier companies. We will
do everything in our power to allow our people to make considered choices and
help them move onto their next opportunity.”
The end of Cruze production in October falls the same month that Ford Australia
will shut its manufacturing operations at Geelong and Campbellfield in
Victoria, bringing Falcon sedan and utility and Territory SUV production to an
Holden started building the Cruze sedan in Australia in early 2011 after
importing it from South Korea since mid-2009. An Australian-designed hatchback
variant joined the line-up in late 2011, while the station wagon body style,
launched in November 2012, has always been sourced from GM’s Korean plant.
After strong early sales, the Cruze has struggled to win over Australian
buyers, with newer rivals such as the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Hyundai’s
i30/Elantra and the Volkswagen Golf dominating the small-car segment.
The Cruze had its best sales in 2011 with 33,784 sales, dropping to 24,421 in
2013 and falling to 15,222 in 2015 despite a facelifted version arriving in
January last year.
The announcement last Friday came the same day that Holden’s General Motors
parent company confirmed it would not proceed with a proposal by the Punch
Corporation to continue manufacturing at its Elizabeth plant using the
underpinnings of the Commodore for a new model.