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Holden announces its end of Australian manufacturing

Closure confirmed: No more of the much loved Aussie Commodore will be built after October 20

Almost 70 years of car production to end on October 20

13 Jan 2017

Holden, Australia’s iconic car-maker and for almost 70 years a symbol of the nation’s engineering, design and manufacturing ability, has set the day it will cease production as October 20, 2017.

It will leave behind a legacy of providing affordable transport to a burgeoning post-war country, a lynchpin role in motorsport, the production of unique models in both style and performance, and a list of tens of thousands of dedicated workers.

From October, manufacturing of the locally built Commodore and its variants ends at the Elizabeth plant in South Australia after starting in 1963.

Holden closed its V6 engine plant at Fishermans Bend, Melbourne on November 29 last year and ceased production of the Cruze small car at Elizabeth on October 6, 2016, with the loss of 400 jobs.

Holden today confirmed the end of its domestic manufacturing, upbeat about the end of its role by announcing that 30,000 vehicles will be built at Elizabeth before closure and that in its transition to a full importer, nearly 70 per cent of its workforce has secured employment within 12 months of leaving the company.

Holden chairman and managing director Mark Bernhard said Holden’s manufacturing workforce had set new benchmarks for quality and performance in the past four years.

“They have continually pushed to improve the quality of their work for the benefit of our customers – this commitment, continuous improvement attitude and passion have been exhibited in spades in challenging circumstances,” he said.

“It’s not surprising that their skills, work ethic and flexibility are highly sought after and they are leaving a legacy for Holden that deserves to be honoured by ensuring this company has a bright and successful future.

“Holden continues to change but we are proud to retain a significant presence in Australia for the long-term that includes more than 300 people across our local design and engineering workforces, in addition to the approximately 700 corporate staff and 10,000 people employed across our dealer network. Holden remains committed to Australia and our customers for many, many years to come”.

Holden executive director of manufacturing Richard Phillips said that Holden’s overriding priority was to give employees and suppliers advance notice of its intentions to provide certainty.

“While this confirmation isn’t a surprise for anyone and we’ve been working toward this for nearly four years, we can now confirm the actual date for our people and our suppliers,” Mr Phillips said.

“Putting our people first and foremost has always been our highest priority.

“This October may bring to a close more than 60 years of vehicle manufacturing by Holden at Elizabeth but I know it will be business as usual for our manufacturing workforce until then – we have tens of thousands of world-class cars to build in coming months and I know we all want to see Holden have great success in Australia for many years to come.

“Every day our employees exhibit professionalism and passion for achieving quality.

“We are categorically building the best cars Holden has ever built and that is backed up by internal and external data. They simply are a fantastic team that will ensure our last locally-made car is also our best car ever.”

Almost 700 employees have left the Elizabeth plant since 2015 and 80 per cent have successfully transitioned within 12 months of leaving. Of that percentage, 69 per cent found employment, five per cent are in training, three per cent have retired and three per cent are with volunteer organisations.

Holden said no further layoffs will happen ahead of the final production date.

The company will retain more than 300 designers and engineers, plus 10,000 employees at its headquarters in Melbourne, the design studio, at its Victorian proving grounds and through its dealer network of 230 dealerships.

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