“Devastated” is how Holden fanatic Harry Elvin describes his reaction to news this week that the brand will shut up shop in Australia next year.
“They have taken an absolute icon from us,” said Elvin, president of the Lions Pride Holden Car Club, of the decision by General Motors (GM) to cease design, sales and engineering of much-loved Holden cars in Australia and New Zealand.
“I would say to GM that I am disappointed at the way in which they dumped our brand.”
About 800 jobs will be lost, most of them by the end of June. They include about 600 Port Melbourne-based staff who design cars for the Australian market. Holden ended Australian manufacturing operations in 2017, and last year announced it was axing the Commodore and Astra models.
General Motors said Holden was no longer competitive in the current market. “This was an agonising decision for us,” said Julian Blissett, senior vice-president of GM International Operations.
Founded as a saddlery in Adelaide in 1856, Holden moved into car-making in 1917, and in 1931 merged with General Motors Australia. It launched the hugely popular FX 48-215 in 1948, as the first car “made in Australia, for Australia”.
Elvin said that Australians’ love of the Holden brand would not fade. “In fact, our passion will probably strengthen. The legacy Holden has left behind is huge.”
Clubs such as his would “maintain our classics and nurture a genuine interest in the brand by our younger generations,” he said.
“We will strive to encourage younger fans and give them some heritage to hang on to.”