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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 willretire 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.