General Motors will retire iconic Australian motor brand Holden by 2021, ceasing all sales, design and engineering operations as it looks to a future of electric and autonomous mobility.
“This is tough day for the Holden family,” said interim chairman and managing director Kristian Aquilina for GM Holden’s operations in Australia during a media conference regarding the shutdown.
Citing “challenging circumstances” and “multiple discussions” with General Motors head office in the US, Aquilina said that the decision to shut down all Holden operations in Australia was an “inescapable reality”.
“We’ve had multiple rounds of discussions,” said Aquilina.
“The truth, the hard truth, is that there was no way to come up with a plan to support a growing and competitive Holden brand and sufficient return to our investors,” he said.
Holden has done it tough in recent years. Sales have flagged since the closure of its local car manufacturing plant in 2017 to the extent that annual reporting for 2019 showed it had sold the smallest number of vehicles since 1954.
In December, the step down of ex-Toyota executive and Holden boss Dave Buttner was followed closely by the announcement that the brand would discontinue the longtime favourite Commodore range and would focus on SUVs and utes.
GM International Operations Senior Vice President Julian Blissett said in the conference that “agonising decision” made after considering “numerous options for continuing operations” simply came down to the fact that Holden could no longer provide “appropriate level of return on investment” for GM.
The truth of the matter, it would seem, is that the cost of GM keeping up with the transition to electric mobility inevitable means it must prune what has become a dead branch – a fact that was made clear in a statement from GM boss Mary Barra.
“I’ve often said that we will do the right thing, even when it’s hard, and this is one of those times,” said Barra in a statement regarding the shutdown.
“We are restructuring our international operations, focusing on markets where we have the right strategies to drive robust returns, and prioritizing global investments that will drive growth in the future of mobility, especially in the areas of EVs and AVs.”
To read the full story on RenewEconomy’s electric vehicle dedicated site, The Driven, click here…