End of road for Holden
The Holden brand will be retired from sales in New Zealand and Australia with local design and engineering operations being wound down by 2021, General Motors (GM) has announced.
Julian Blissett, senior vice-president of international operations, says GM has taken the decision after implementing and considering numerous options to maintain and turn around Holden operations.
“Through its proud 160-year history, Holden has not only made cars, it has been a powerful driver of the industrialisation and advancement of Australia and New Zealand,” he says.
“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.”
Kristian Aquilina, pictured above, interim chairman and managing director of GM Holden, says that given the significance of Holden through its history, it’s critical for the company to work with all stakeholders to deliver a dignified and respectful wind-down.
“Holden will always have a special place in the development of our countries,” says Aquilina. “As Australia and New Zealand grew, Holden was a part of the engine room fuelling that development.
“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.
“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 haven’t been enough to overcome our challenges.
“We understand the impact of this decision on our people, customers, dealers and partners – and will work closely with all stakeholders to deliver a dignified and respectful transition.”
Holden will honour all warranties and servicing offers made at time of sale. It will provide servicing and spare parts for at least 10 years, through national after-sales networks in Australia and New Zealand. As required, Holden and its after-sales network will also continue to handle any recalls or safety-related issues if they arise, working with the appropriate governmental agencies.
Impacted Holden employees will be provided separation packages and employment transition support. The marque will work with its dealer network on appropriate transition arrangements, including offering dealers the opportunity to continue as authorised service outlets to support Holden customers. Maven and Holden Financial Services operations will also wind down in Australia.
GM says it undertook a detailed analysis of the investment required for Holden to be competitive beyond the current generation of products. Factors impacting the business case for further investment included “highly fragmented” right-hand-drive (RHD) markets, the economics to support growing the brand and delivering an appropriate return on investment.
“After comprehensive assessment, we regret we could not prioritise the investment required for Holden to be successful for the long term in Australia and New Zealandover all other considerations we have globally,” explains Blissett. “This decision is based on global priorities, and does not reflect the hard work, talent and professionalism of the Holden team.”
GM intends to focus its growth strategy in New Zealand and Australia on “the speciality vehicles business and plans to immediately work with its partner on developing these plans”.