Holden to cease Australian manufacturing by 2017; design studio stays

General Motors has announced that its Australian arm, Holden, will cease local car and engine manufacturing by the end of 2017.

Yesterday Holden and GM Asia boss Mike Devereux fronted the Productivity Commission and confirmed that General Motors had yet to make a decision on the fate of Holden’s car and engine making divisions. Following that was a robust session of parliament where the ruling Liberal and National parties defended their hard-line stance on against further assistance for the local automotive sector.

According to Holden, this decision will directly impact at least 2,900 of its employees. Currently the company employs 1,600 people at its assembly plant in Elizabeth, South Australia, while its engine making operation in Victoria has a 1,300 people on its payroll. It’s unknown how many people working within Holden’s supply chain will be affected.

Once Holden’s factories close, the company will become primarily a sales and marketing operation, although the company will keep its design centre open for the foreseeable future. Holden’s design operations are well regarded both within the industry and the GM universe. Aside from designing the latest generation VF Commodore, Holden, in recent times, has also been responsible for the Cruze hatchback and Chevrolet Camaro.

It’s also unknown what possible flow on effects Holden’s decision has for the last remaining local auto maker, Toyota. It’s widely expected that Toyota will cease its local manufacturing operations here around 2018, when the current generation Camry reaches the end of its life.

Earlier this year Ford Australia announced that it would cease local manufacturing operations from 2016, although it also announced that it would give the venerable Falcon range on last facelift in 2014.

Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]