At the beginning of this year, it became known that the management of the General Motors concern decided to liquidate the Australian Holden brand, which had existed for more than 160 years. It was announced that it will go into oblivion before the beginning of 2021, and today is officially the last day of its existence.
The founder of the company was an English immigrant James Holden, who in 1856 organized a saddle business in Adelaide. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the company was engaged in the repair of car showrooms, in 1918 it took up the production of car bodies that were installed on imported chassis of various brands. And in 1948, Holden became part of the American concern General Motors already in the status of a full-fledged automaker.
In the second half of the last century, the Holdens found hundreds of thousands of buyers in the home market every year. However, at the beginning of the 21st century, local automakers became uncompetitive and outright losing the fight to foreign companies. For example, in 2019, the first place in terms of sales in Australia was taken by the Toyota Hilux pickup, which found about 47,000 buyers.
Of course, GM also paid attention to the drop in demand, but Holden, as a domestic manufacturer in Australia, constantly received support from the state. Maintaining car production cost the state a pretty penny: due to expensive labor, as well as high costs for logistics and production of components, it became about five times more expensive to produce cars in Australia than in Southeast Asia.
Part of the problem with the supply of components for a long time was solved by the unification of parts that were sent to the Australian factories of Holden, Ford and Toyota. Many components, from seat frames to wheels, were produced for them by one company, so when Ford announced the imminent closure of the Australian plant in 2013 (it closed in 2016), it became clear that supply difficulties could no longer be avoided. .
It was unprofitable to produce components for only two companies, therefore, a year after Ford, both Toyota and Holden closed their enterprises almost simultaneously.
At the same time, local models disappeared from the range of the Holden brand, and the segment of “utes” (that is, passenger pickups) that was once very popular among local buyers simply died out.
Over the past few years, copies of European Opel models, Korean and American crossovers, as well as Trailblazer and Colorado frame models (they were brought from Thailand) have been sold in Australia under the Holden brand. A few months before the announcement of the upcoming liquidation, Holden constantly updated the anti-record in terms of sales: all ten models of the brand on the Australian market in the aggregate sold almost one and a half times less circulation than the same Toyota Hilux.
Recall that earlier GM reduced its presence in most of the markets with left-hand traffic - in the UK, Japan, South Africa and India. After the closure of the Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand, Thailand remained the only such market, but it will simply be unprofitable to adapt mass models to local requirements, so General Motors, apparently, will soon stop working there.
From now on, the supply of American cars to Australia will be handled by the division of General Motors Specialty Vehicles (GMSV), which remakes cars imported from the United States, rearranging the steering wheel from left to right. According to this scheme, Chevrolet Camaro sports cars and Silverado pickups have already reached the Australian market, and in the second half of 2021, a new Corvette should appear on sale, in which the right-hand drive modification will be in the factory range for the first time.