End of iconic vehicle brand in NZ

Daniel Fowler
February 17, 2020

GM President Mark Reuss said the company had explored ways to keep the Holden brand but had decided that it would cost too much to remain in the "highly fragmented right-hand-drive market".

"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 nearly ubiquitous in our lives", said GM Holden interim chairman and managing director Kristian Aquilina.

On Monday, GM International Operations Senior Vice President Julian Blissett released a statement explaining financial woes have led to the demise of Holden.

Holden started out life as a local Australian motor body builder and from 1924 onwards, started producing bodies for General Motors.

After closing the company's local manufacturing operations in 2017, GM has taken the "difficult" decision to retire the brand from sales in both Australia and New Zealand.

"Impacted Holden employees will be provided separation packages and employment transition support".

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General Motors is taking decisive action to transform its global operations, building on the comprehensive strategy it laid out in 2015 to strengthen its core business, drive significant cost efficiencies and take action in markets that can not earn an adequate return for its shareholders.

The company also said it analyzed the business case for future production at the Rayong plant Thailand, but low use of the plant and expected low sales volumes "made continued GM production at the site unsustainable".

"GM is well positioned in our GM International core markets: South America, the Middle East and Korea".

The company said it will scale back operations in all three countries to selling niche specialty vehicles.

Warranties will still be honoured, and GM says it will still provide serving and spare parts in Australia and New Zealand.

"As required, Holden and its aftersales network will also continue to handle any recalls or safety-related issues if they arise, working with the appropriate governmental agencies". These charges will primarily be incurred in the first quarter and continuing through the fourth quarter of 2020.

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