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Holden to be retired by General Motors by 2021

ZB Strife: The ZB Commodore accounted for just 13.7 per cent of all Holden sales last year as the Red Lion slipped 28.9 per cent as a whole.

GM announces plans to pull the plug on Holden brand, including engineering ops

17 Feb 2020

GENERAL Motors (GM) has announced the Holden brand will be retired from the Australian and New Zealand markets with local design and engineering operations to be wound down by 2021.


In a statement issued today, GM international operations senior vice president Julian Blissett said the decision was the result of numerous factors and that the choice had not been made lightly.


“Over recent years, as the industry underwent significant change globally and locally, we implemented a number of alternative strategies to try to sustain and improve the business, together with the local team,” he said.


“After comprehensive assessment, we regret that we could not prioritize the investment required for Holden to be successful for the long term in Australia and New Zealand, over all other considerations we have globally.


“This decision is based on global priorities and does not reflect the hard work, talent and professionalism of the Holden team.”


The Red Lion has been struggling sales-wise ever since the demise of its local manufacturing operations in 2017, with the Opel-sourced ZB Commodore failing to fire in the Aussie market, chalking up just 5915 sales last year – a 34.6 per cent decrease on 2018.


In December last year, Holden decided to axe both the Commodore and Astra nameplates from it line-up to become a solely pick-up and SUV brand.


GM Holden interim chairman and managing director Kristian Aquilina said the brand would “work closely with all stakeholders to deliver a dignified and respectful transition”.


“Today’s announcement will be felt deeply by the many people who love Holdens, drive Holdens and feel connected to our company which has been with us for 160 years and is almost ubiquitous in our lives,” he said.


“Unfortunately, all the hard work and talent of the Holden family, the support of our parent company GM and the passion of our loyal supporters have not been enough to overcome our challenges.”


While local design and engineering operations will be wound down by next year, Holden has assured customers and current vehicle owners that warranties and servicing offers made at time of sale will be honoured and that it would provide servicing and spare parts for at least 10 years.


Impacted Holden employees will reportedly be provided separation packages and employment transition support while its aftersales network will continue to handle any recalls or safety-related issues that arise.


According to GM, its local growth strategy will now be focused on the specialty vehicles business – vehicles like the imminently arriving C8 Corvette.


“Through its proud 160-year history, Holden has not only made cars, it has been a powerful driver of the industrialization and advancement of Australia and New Zealand,” Mr Blissett said.

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