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Down and out down under: The fall of Holden

The Studebaker brothers were just starting their buggy works in 1852 and Henry Ford was 11 years shy of being born when James Alexander Holden, a leatherworker and saddle maker from Staffordshire, England, boarded a ship bound for Australia. J.A. Holden and Company of Adelaide eventually got into auto upholstery, then motorcycle sidecars, and then in 1914, harnessing its carriage-making skills, it produced its first full car body.


When the Depression hit, Holden’s Motor Body Builders was Australia’s largest car-body supplier, but the dire economy caused Holden to collapse into the arms of its biggest customer, General Motors Australia. This past February, GM announced that it will retire the 164-year-old Holden brand and retreat from Australia completely, as well as New Zealand and Thailand, by 2021 as part of a shift of resources away from unprofitable markets and toward electrification and automation.


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"It wasn’t the first overseas brand to suffer death-by-GM."  GM has been the automotive equivalent of the Coronavirus. 

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