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Hagerty Employee

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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Pit Crew

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


Or the equivalent of a respirator, pumping breaths out of something that would've died trying to breathe on it's own?


"Almost since the beginning, Holden’s business was dependent on protectionist tariffs first instituted during World War I. The Australian government—and, by extension, Australian taxpayers—shoveled in billions in subsidies over the decades to preserve local auto manufacturing in this small market, but it couldn’t last. " Sounds like the Canadian automotive industry before it gave up and survived soley by building US cars for US makers that went that way to avoid protectionist tariffs and various import limits by Canada, just like the Japanese "one-way" trade policies.


Probably inevitable, but sad nonetheless.

Intermediate Driver

"toward electrification and automation" BORING!!!

Hagerty Employee

It is really a bummer to see this happen, drawn out over so many years and as Rider79 said, inevitable. Toyota, Ford, and GM all left once the first domino fell and the suppliers couldn't make it work at lower economies of scale. Here, people started snatching up the Chevy SSs pretty quick on the used market.