GM Holden Ltd
Type Subsidiary
Founded 1856
Headquarters [ort Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Key people Mike Devereux
Chairman and Managing Director
Industry Automotive
Products Automobiles
Employees 6,336 (March 2009)
Parent General Motors

GM Holden Ltd is an automaker that operates in Australia, based in Port Melbourne, Victoria. The company started making cars in 1856 as a saddlery manufacturer, but in the 20th century entered into the automotive field, becoming a subsidiary of the U.S.-based General Motors (GM) in 1931. After the GM takeover, the company was named General Motors-Holden's Ltd, becoming Holden Ltd in 1998, with the current name adopted in 2005.

Holden has taken charge of GM's vehicle operations in Australasia, and on their behalf, held partial ownership of GM Daewoo in South Korea between 2002 and 2009. Holden has offered a broad range of locally produced vehicles, supplemented by imported GM models. Holden has offered badge engineered Chevrolet, Nissan, Suzuki, Toyota, and Vauxhall Motors models in sharing arrangements, with Daewoo, Opel and Isuzu-sourced models sold currently.

All Australian-built Holden vehicles are manufactured at Elizabeth in South Australia, and engines are produced at the Fisherman's Bend plant in Port Melbourne, Victoria. Historically, production or assembly plants were operated in all mainland states of Australia, with GM's New Zealand subsidiary Holden New Zealand operating a plant until 1990. The consolidation of car production at Elizabeth was completed in 1988, but some assembly operations continued at Dandenong until 1996.

Although Holden's involvement in exports has fluctuated since the 1950s, the declining sales of large cars in Australia has led the company to look to international markets to increase profitability.

History of the company Edit

Early history Edit

In 1852, James Alexander Holden emigrated to South Australia from Walsall,[1] England and in 1856 established J.A. Holden & Co, a saddlery business in Adelaide.[2] In 1885 German born Henry Frederick Frost joined the business as a junior partner and J.A. Holden & Co turned into Holden & Frost Ltd.[3] Edward Holden] James' grandson, joined the firm in 1905 with an interest in automobiles.[4] From there, the firm evolved through various partnerships and, in 1908, Holden and Frost moved into the business of minor repairs to car upholstery.[5] The company began to produce complete motorcycle sidecar bodies in 1913, and Edward experimented with fitting bodies to different types of carriages.[6] After 1917, wartime trade restrictions led the company to start full-scale production of vehicle body shells. J.A. Holden founded a new company in 1919, Holden's Motor Body Builders Ltd (HMBB) specialising in car bodies and utilising a facility on King Wiliam Street in Adelaide.[7] By 1923, HMBB were producing 12,000 units per year.[5] During this time, HMBB was the first company to assemble bodies for Ford Australia until their Geelong, plant was completed.[8] From 1924, HMBB became the exclusive supplier of car bodies for GM in Australia, with manufacturing taking place at the new Woodville, South Australia plant.[9] These bodies were made to suit a number of chassis imported from manufacturers such as Chevrolet and Dodge.[5] In 1926 General Motors (Australia) was established with assembly plants at Newstead, Queensland; Marrickville, New South Wales; City Road, Melbourne, Victoria; Birkenhead, South Australia; and Cottesloe, Western Australia[10] utilizing bodies produced by Holden Motor Body Builders and imported complete knock down (CKD) chassis.[11] The Great Depression era led to a substantial downturn in production by Holden, from 34,000 units annually in 1930 to just 1,651 units one year later.[5] In 1931 General Motors purchased Holden Motor Body Builders and merged it with General Motors (Australia) Pty Ltd to form General Motors-Holden's Ltd (GM-H).[6]

1951-1953 Holden 50-2106 01

The Holden 50-2106 utility launched in 1951, three years after the 48-215 sedan.

1940s Edit

Holden's second full-scale car factory, located in Fishermens Bend (Port Melbourne), was completed in 1936, with construction beginning in 1939 on a new plant in Pagewood, New South Wales.[6] However, World War II delayed car production with efforts shifted to the construction of vehicle bodies, field guns, aircraft and engines.[9] Before the war ended, the Australian Government took steps to encourage an Australian automotive industry.[12] Both GM and Ford provided studies to the Australian Government outlining the production of the first Australian designed car. Ford's proposal was the government's first choice, but required substantial financial assistance. GM's study was ultimately chosen because of its low level of government intervention.[13] After the war, Holden returned to producing vehicle bodies, this time for Buick, Chevrolet, Pontiac and Vauxhall.[14] The Oldsmobile Ace was also produced from 1946 to 1948.[15]

From here, Holden continued to pursue the goal of producing an Australian car. This involved compromise with GM, as Holden's managing director, Laurence Hartnett, favoured development of a local design, while GM preferred to see an American design as the basis for "Australia's Own Car".[16] In the end, the design was based on a previously rejected post-war Chevrolet proposal.[17] The Holden was launched in 1948, creating long waiting lists extending through 1949 and beyond.[18][19] Although officially designated "48-215", the car was marketed simply as the "Holden".[20] The unofficial usage of the name "FX" originated within Holden, referring to the updated suspension 48-215 of 1953.[21]

1950s Edit

Historical holden

Holden's FC series was the first to be tested at the Lang Lang proving ground.

During the 1950s, Holden dominated the Australian car market. GM invested heavily in production capacity, which allowed the company to meet increased post-war demand for motor cars.[6] Less expensive four-cylinder cars did not offer Holden's ability to deal with rugged rural areas.[13][22] 48-215 sedans were produced in parallel with the 50-2106 coupé utility from 1951; the latter was known colloquially as the "ute" and became ubiquitous in Australian rural areas as the workhorse of choice. Production of both the utility and sedan continued with minor changes until 1953, when they were replaced by the facelifted FJ model, introducing a third panel van body style.[23] The FJ was the first major change to the Holden since its 1948 introduction. Over time it gained iconic status and remains one of Australia's most recognisable automotive symbols.[24] A new horizontally-slatted grille dominated the front-end of the FJ, which received various other trim and minor mechanical revisions.[25][26] Although little changed from the 48-215, marketing campaigns and price cuts kept FJ sales steady until a completely redesigned model was launched.[27] At the 2005 Australian International Motor Show in Sydney, Holden paid homage to the FJ with the Efijy concept car.[28]

Holden's next model, the FE, launched in 1956; offered in a new station wagon body style dubbed "Station Sedan" in the company's sales literature.[29] Strong sales continued in Australia, and Holden achieved a market share of more than 50 percent in 1958 with the revised FC model.[30] This was the first Holden to be tested on the new Holden Proving Ground based in Lang Lang, Victoria.[31] The opening of the Dandenong, Victoria, production facility in 1956 brought further jobs; by 1959 Holden employed 19,000 workers country-wide.[32]

1960s Edit

In 1960, Holden introduced its third major new model, the FB. The car's style was inspired by 1950s’ Chevrolets, with tailfins and a wrap-around windshield with "dog leg" A-pillars. By the time it was introduced, many considered the appearance dated. Much of the motoring industry at the time noted that the adopted style did not translate well to the more compact Holden.[33] The FB became the first Holden that was adapted for left-hand-drive markets, enhancing its export potential.[34]

1961-1962 Holden EK Special Station Sedan 01

The EK of 1960 was Holden's response to the Ford Falcon, with the availability of automatic transmission.

In 1960, Ford unveiled the new Falcon in Australia, only months after its introduction in the United States. To Holden's advantage, the Falcon was not durable, particularly in the front suspension, making it ill-suited for Australian conditions.[35] In response to the Falcon, Holden introduced the facelifted EK series in 1961; the new model featured two-tone paintwork and optional Hydramatic automatic transmission.[36] A restyled EJ series came in 1962, debuting the new luxury oriented Premier model.[37] The EH update came a year later bringing the new Red motor, providing better performance than the previous Grey motor.[38] The HD series of 1965 saw the introduction of the Powerglide automatic transmission.[39] At the same time, an "X2" performance option with a more powerful version of the 179-cubic-inch (2.9 L) six-cylinder engine was made available.[40] 1966 saw the introduction of the HR, with changes in the form of new front and rear styling and higher-capacity engines. More significantly, the HR fitted standard front seat belts; Holden thus became the first Australian automaker to provide the safety device as standard equipment across all models.[41] This coincided with the completion of the production plant in Acacia Ridge, Queensland.[6]

Holden began assembling the compact HA series Vauxhall Viva in 1964. This was superseded by the Holden Torana in 1967, a development of the Viva ending Vauxhall production in Australia.[42] Holden offered the LC, a Torana with new styling, in 1969 with the availability of Holden's six-cylinder engine. In the development days, the six-cylinder Torana was reserved for motor racing, but research had shown that there was a business case for such a model.[43] The LC Torana was the first application of Holden's new three-speed Tri-Matic automatic transmission.[44] This was the result of Holden's A$16.5 million transformation of the Woodville, South Australia factory for its production.[6]

1970-1971 Holden HG Monaro GTS 350 coupe 01

The iconic Holden Monaro coupé, introduced in 1968 and based on the mainstream Kingswood, has since gained a cult following.

Holden's association with the manufacture of Chevrolets and Pontiacs ended in 1968, coinciding with the year of Holden's next major new model, the HK .[45] This included Holden's first V8 engine, a Chevrolet engine imported from Canada.[46] Models based on the HK series included an extended-length prestige model, the Brougham, and a two-door coupé, the Monaro.[47] The mainstream Holden Special was rebranded the Kingswood, and the basic fleet model, the Standard, became the Belmont.[48] On 3 March 1969 Alexander Rhea, managing director of General Motors-Holden's at the time, was joined by press photographers and the Federal Minister of Shipping and Transport, Ian Sinclair as the two men drove the two millionth Holden,[49] an HK Brougham off the production line.[6] This came just over half a decade since the one millionth car, an EJ Premier sedan rolled off the Dandenong line on 25 October 1962.[50] Following the Chevrolet V8 fitted to the HK, the first Australian-designed and mass-produced V8, the Holden V8 engine debuted in the Hurricane concept of 1969 before fitment to facelifted HT model. This was available in two capacities: 253 cubic inches (4.1 L) and 308 cubic inches (5.0 L).[51] Late in HT production, use of the new Tri-Matic automatic transmission, first seen in the LC Torana was phased in as Powerglide stock was exhausted, but Holden's official line was that the HG of 1971 was the first full-size Holden to receive it.[44][52][53]

Despite the arrival of serious competitors—namely, the Ford Falcon, Chrysler Valiant, and Japanese cars—in the 1960s, Holden's locally produced large six- and eight-cylinder cars remained Australia's top-selling vehicles. Sales were boosted by exporting the Kingswood sedan, station wagon, and utility body styles to Indonesia, Trinidad and Tobago, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Africa in complete knock down form.[54]

1976-1977 Holden HX Monaro GTS sedan 01

Holden's HX (pictured), was an evolution of the record-selling HQ, with more than 480,000 units shifted throughout the car's lifetime.

1970s Edit

Holden launched the new HQ series in 1971.[55] At this time, the company was producing all of its passenger cars in Australia, and every model was of Australian design; however, by the end of the decade, Holden was producing cars based on overseas designs. The HQ was thoroughly re-engineered, featuring a perimeter frame and semi-monocoque (unibody) construction. Other firsts included an all-coil suspension and an extended wheelbase for station wagons, while the utilities and panel vans retained the traditional coil/leaf suspension configuration.[56] The series included the new prestige Statesman brand, which also had a longer wheelbase, replacing the Brougham.[57] The Statesman remains noteworthy because it was not marketed as a "Holden", but rather a "Statesman".[58]

1978-1980 Holden UC Torana sedan

The UC, Holden's final iteration of the Torana was replaced by an interim four-cylinder version of the Commodore until Camira launched in 1982.

The HQ framework led to a new generation of two-door Monaros, and, despite the introduction of the similar sized competitors, the HQ range became the top-selling Holden of all time, with 485,650 units sold in three years.[59] The HQ series was facelifted in 1974 with the introduction of the HJ, heralding new front panel styling and a revised rear fascia.[60] This new bodywork was to remain, albeit with minor upgrades through the HX and HZ series.[61] Detuned engines adhering to government emission standards were brought in with the HX series, whilst the HZ brought considerably improved road handling and comfort with the introduction of "Radial Tuned Suspension" (RTS).[62] As a result of GM's toying with the Wankel rotary engine, as used by Mazda of Japan, an export agreement was initiated in 1975. This involved Holden exporting with powertrains, HJ, and later, HX series Premiers as the Mazda Roadpacer AP. Mazda then fitted these cars with the 13B rotary engine and three-speed automatic transmission. Production ended in 1977, after just 840 units sold.[63][64]

During the 1970s, Holden ran an advertising jingle "Football, Meat Pies, Kangaroos and Holden cars", based on the "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pies and Chevrolet" jingle used by Chevrolet in the United States.[65] Also, development of the Torana continued in with the larger mid-sized LH series released in 1974, offered only as a four-door sedan.[66] The LH Torana was one of the few cars worldwide engineered to occupy four-, six-and eight-cylinder engines.[67] This trend continued until Holden introduced the Sunbird in 1976; essentially the four-cylinder Torana with a new name.[66] Designated LX, both the Sunbird and Torana introduced a three-door hatchback variant.[68] A final UC update appeared in 1978.[69] During its production run, the Torana achieved legendary racing success in Australia, achieving victories at the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, New South Wales.[70]

1980-1981 Holden VC Commodore L station wagon 01

The Commodore premiering in 1978 followed the success of its Kingswood forebear, becoming Holden's bestselling vehicle to date.

In 1975, Holden introduced the compact Gemini, the Australian version of the "T-car", based on the Opel Kadett C. The Gemini was an overseas design developed jointly with Isuzu, GM's Japanese affiliate; and was powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine.[71] Fast becoming a popular car, the Gemini rapidly attained sales leadership in its class, and the nameplate lived on until 1987.[72]

Holden's most popular car to date, the Commodore, was introduced in 1978 as the VB.[73] The new family car was loosely based on the Opel Rekord E body shell, but with the front from the Opel Senator grafted to accommodate the larger Holden six-cylinder and V8 engines. Initially, the Commodore maintained Holden's sales leadership in Australia.[74] However, some of the compromises resulting from the adoption of a design intended for another market hampered the car's acceptance. In particular, it was narrower than its predecessor and its Falcon rival, making it less comfortable for three rear-seat passengers.[75]

Holden discontinued the Torana in 1979 and the Sunbird in 1980. After the 1978 introduction of the Commodore, the Torana became the "in-between" car, surrounded by the smaller and more economical Gemini and the larger, more sophisticated Commodore. The closest successor to the Torana was the Camira, released in 1982 as Australia's version of GM's medium-sized "J-car".[76]

1980s Edit

1987-1989 Holden JE Camira SL sedan 01

After a good start, sales of the Camira, Holden's version of the global "J-car" platform slumped significantly. This placed a huge financial burden on the Australian subsidiary, which was already operating at a loss at this time.

The 1980s were challenging for Holden and the Australian automotive industry. The Australian Government tried to revive the industry with the Button car plan, which encouraged car makers to focus on producing fewer models at higher, more economical volumes, and to export cars.[77] The decade opened with the shut-down of the Pagewood, New South Wales production plant and introduction of the light commercial Rodeo, sourced from Isuzu in Japan.[6] The Rodeo was available in both two- and four-wheel drive chassis cab models with a choice of petrol and diesel powerplants.[78] The range was updated in 1988 with the TF series, based on the Isuzu TF.[6] Other cars sourced from Isuzu during the 1980s were the four-wheel drive Jackaroo (1981), the Shuttle (1982) van and the Piazza (1986) three-door sports hatchback.[79] The second generation Holden Gemini from 1985 was also based on an Isuzu design, although, its manufacture was undertaken in Australia.[80]

The new Holden WB commercial vehicles and the Statesman WB limousines were introduced in 1980. However, the designs, based on the HQ and updated HJ, HX and HZ models from the 1970s were less competitive than similar models in Ford's lineup. Thus, Holden abandoned those vehicle classes altogether in 1984.[55] Sales of the Commodore also fell, with the effects of the 1979 energy crisis lessening, and for the first time the Commodore lost ground to the Ford Falcon. Sales in other segments also suffered when competition from Ford intensified, and other Australian manufacturers: Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota gained market share.[81] When released in 1982, the Camira initially generated good sales, which later declined because buyers considered the 1.6-litre engine underpowered, and the car's build and ride quality below-average.[76] The Camira lasted just seven years, and contributed to Holden's accumulated losses of over A$500 million by the mid-1980s.[82]

Holden Calais (1988-1991 VN series) 02

The second generation Commodore (VN Calais pictured) overcame the previous generation's width problems.

In 1984 Holden introduced the VK Commodore, with significant styling changes from the previous VH. The Commodore was next updated in 1986 as the VL, which had new front and rear styling.[83] Controversially, the VL was powered by the 3.0-litre Nissan RB30 six-cylinder engine and had an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission. The engine change was necessitated by the legal requirement that all new cars sold in Australia after 1986 had to consume unleaded petrol.[84] Because it was unfeasible to convert the existing six-cylinder engine to run on unleaded fuel, the Nissan engine was chosen as the best engine available. However, changing exchange rates doubled the cost of the engine and transmission over the life of the VL.[85] The decision to opt for a Japanese-made transmission led to the closure of the Woodville, South Australia assembly plant. Confident by the apparent sign of turnaround, GM paid off Holden's mounted losses of A$780 million on 19 December 1986.[86] At GM headquarters’ request, Holden was then reorganised and recapitalised, separating the engine and car manufacturing divisions in the process.[86] This involved the splitting of Holden into Holden's Motor Company (HMC) and Holden's Engine Company (HEC).[87] For the most part, car bodies were now manufactured at Elizabeth, South Australia, with engines as before, confined to the Fishermens Bend plant in Port Melbourne, Victoria. The engine manufacturing business was successful, building four-cylinder Family II engines for use in cars built overseas.[88] The final phase of the Commodore's recovery strategy involved the 1988 VN, a significantly wider model powered by the American-designed, Australian-assembled 3.8-litre Buick V6 engine.[75]

Holden began to sell the subcompact Suzuki Swift-based Barina in 1985. The Barina was launched concurrently with the Suzuki-sourced Holden Drover, followed by the Scurry later on in 1985.[89] In the previous year, Nissan Pulsar hatchbacks were rebadged as the Holden Astra, as a result of a deal with Nissan.[90] This arrangement ceased in 1989 when Holden entered a new alliance with Toyota, forming a new company: United Australian Automobile Industries (UAAI). UAAI resulted in Holden selling rebadged versions of Toyota's Corolla and Camry, as the Holden Nova and Apollo respectively, with Toyota re-branding the Commodore as the Lexcen.[91]

1990s Edit

1998-1999 Holden VS III Caprice sedan 01

The VS Statesman/Caprice of 1995, represented a mild facelift of the VR, which was in turn an update of the 1990 VQ—Holden's long-wheelbase version of the VN Commodore series.

The company changed throughout the 1990s, increasing its Australian market share from 21 percent in 1991 to 28.2 percent in 1999.[92] Besides manufacturing Australia's best selling car, which was exported in significant numbers, Holden continued to export many locally produced engines to power cars made elsewhere. In this decade, Holden adopted a strategy of importing cars it needed to offer a full range of competitive vehicles.[93] During 1998, General Motors-Holden's Ltd name was shortened to "Holden Ltd".[94]

On 26 April 1990 GM's New Zealand subsidiary, Holden New Zealand, announced that production at the assembly plant based in Trentham would be phased out and that vehicles would be imported duty-free. This came after the 1984 closure of the Petone assembly line due to low output volumes.[95] During the 1990s Holden, other Australian automakers and trade unionists pressured the Australian Government to halt the lowering of car import tariffs. By 1997, the federal government had already cut tariffs to 22.5 percent from 57.5 percent ten years earlier, and by 2000 were planning to reduce this even further down to 15 percent. Holden was critical, saying that Australia's population was not large enough, and that the changes could tarnish the local industry.[96]

1997-1999 Holden VT Commodore SS sedan 03

Commodore VT, introduced in 1997, marked the Commodore's global expansion.

Holden re-introduced its defunct Statesman name in 1990, this time under the Holden marque, as the Statesman and Caprice. For 1991, Holden updated the Statesman and Caprice with a range of improvements, including the introduction of four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS),[97] although a rear-wheel system had been standard on the Statesman Caprice from March 1976.[66] ABS was added to short-wheelbase Commodore range in 1992.[98] Another returning variant was the full-size utility, this time based on the Commodore.[99] The VN Commodore received a major facelift in 1993 with the VR. Compared to the VN, approximately 80 percent of car was new. Exterior changes brought an overall smoother body and a "twin-kidney" grille—a Commodore styling trait which remained until the 2002 VY model.[100] Holden introduced the all-new VT Commodore in 1997, the outcome of an A$600 million development programme that spanned more than half a decade. The new model sported a rounded exterior body shell, improved dynamics, and many firsts for an Australian-built car. A stronger body structure increased crash safety.[101] The Buick-sourced V6 engine, produced locally, powered the Commodore range, as did the 5.0-litre Holden V8 engine, replaced in 1999 by the 5.7-litre LS unit.[102]

1998-2004 Holden TS Astra City 5-door hatchback 01

The 1998 Holden Astra continued Holden's trend of sourcing its mid-size and smaller model lines from Opel of Europe.

The UAAI badge-engineered cars first introduced in 1989 sold in far fewer numbers than anticipated, but the Holden Commodore, Toyota Camry, and Corolla were all successful when sold under their original nameplates.[103] UAAI was dissolved in 1996, and Holden returned to selling only GM products.[86] This signalled the closure of the Dandenong, Victoria facility, the sole plant for Corolla and Nova production.[104] The Holden Astra and Vectra, both designed by Opel in Germany, replaced the Toyota-sourced Holden Nova and Apollo. This came after the 1994 introduction of the Opel Corsa replacing the already available Suzuki Swift as the source for the Holden Barina.[105] Sales of the full-size Holden Suburban SUV sourced from Chevrolet commenced in 1998—lasting until 2001.[106] Also in 1998, local assembly of the Vectra began at Elizabeth, South Australia. These cars were exported to Japan and Southeast Asia with Opel badges.[107][108] However, the Vectra did not achieve sufficient sales in Australia to justify local assembly, and reverted to being fully imported in 2000.[109]

2000s Edit

Holden's market surge from the 1990s reversed in the 2000s decade. In Australia, Holden's market share dropped from 27.5 percent in 2000 to 15.2 percent in 2006.[92][110] From March 2003, Holden no longer held the number one sales position in Australia, losing ground to Toyota.[111] On 18 May 2005, "Holden Ltd" became "GM Holden Ltd", coinciding with the resettling to the new Holden headquarters on 191 Salmon Street, Port Melbourne, Victoria.[112]

2004-2005 Holden VZ Monaro CV8 coupe 01

The Monaro coupé was resurrected in 2001 as a low-volume niche model. Unanticipated overseas demand proved otherwise, with the Monaro selling throughout the United States as the Pontiac GTO.[113]

This overall downturn affected Holden's profits; the company recorded a combined gain of A$842.9 million between 2002 and 2004, and a combined loss of A$290 million between 2005 and 2006.[114] Factors contributing to the loss included the development of an all-new model, the strong Australian dollar and the cost of reducing the workforce at the Elizabeth plant, including the loss of 1,400 jobs after the closure of the third-shift assembly line in 2005, after two years in operation.[115] Holden fared better in 2007, posting an A$6 million loss.[116] This was followed by an A$70.2 million loss for the 2008 fiscal year. The then managing director Mark Reuss responded saying "the organisation was well placed to make a healthy profit in Australia before world markets fell in the third quarter of 2008".[117] Holden caused controversy in 2005 with their Holden Employee Pricing television advertisement, which ran between October and December 2005. The campaign publicised, "for the first time ever, all Australians can enjoy the financial benefit of Holden Employee Pricing". However, this did not include a discounted dealer delivery fee and savings on factory fitted options and accessories that employees received. At the same time, employees were given a further discount between 25 and 29 percent on selected models.[118]

Holden revived the Monaro coupe in 2001. Based on the VT Commodore architecture, the coupe attracted worldwide attention after being shown as a concept car at Australian auto shows.[119] The VT Commodore received its first major update in 2002 with the VY series. A mildly facelifted VZ model launched in 2004, introducing the High Feature engine.[120] This was built at the Fishermens Bend facility completed in 2003, with a maximum output of 900 engines per day. This has reportedly added A$5.2 billion to the Australian economy; exports account for about A$450 million alone.[121] After the VZ, the High Feature engine powered the all-new VE Commodore. In contrast to previous models, the VE no longer utilises an Opel-sourced platform adapted both mechanically and in size.[122]

2008 Commodore SS V8 02

Holden updated the Commodore with the VE series in 2006, Holden's first "clean-sheet" design since 1971.

Throughout the 1990s, Opel had also been the source of many Holden models. To increase profitability, Holden looked to the South Korean Daewoo brand for replacements after acquiring a 44.6 percent stake—worth US$251 million—in the company in 2002 as a representative of GM.[123][124] This was increased to 50.9 percent in 2005,[125] but when GM further increased its stake to 70.1 percent around the time of its 2009 Chapter 11 reorganisation, Holden's interest was relinquished and transferred to another (undisclosed) part of GM.[124][126] The commencement of the Holden-branded Daewoo models began with the 2005 Holden Barina, which based on the Daewoo Kalos, replaced the Opel Corsa as the source of the Barina.[127] In the same year, the Viva, based on the Daewoo Lacetti, replaced the entry-level Holden Astra Classic, although the new-generation Astra introduced in 2004 continued on.[128] The Captiva crossover SUV came next in 2006. After discontinuing the Frontera and Jackaroo models in 2003, Holden was only left with one all-wheel drive model: the Adventra, a Commodore-based station wagon.[129] The fourth model to be replaced with a South Korean alternative was the Vectra by the mid-size Epica in 2007.[130] As a result of the split between GM and Isuzu, Holden lost the rights to use the "Rodeo" nameplate. Consequently, the Holden Rodeo was facelifted and relaunched as the Colorado during 2008.[131] Following Holden's successful application for a A$149 million government grant to build a localised version of the Chevrolet Cruze in Australia from 2011, Holden in 2009 announced that it would initially import the small car unchanged from South Korea as the Holden Cruze.[132][133] Following the grant announcement, Kevin Rudd, Australia's then Prime Minister, stated that production would support 600 new jobs at the Elizabeth facility. However, this failed to take into account the 600 jobs that Holden previously announced would be shed when production of the Family II engine is set to wrap up in late 2009.[134]

Vehicle lineup Edit

Corporate affairs and identity Edit

Holden logo history

Holden logos from 1928 (left) and 1972 (right).

2007 sales and production[135]
Vehicle sales Units
Passenger vehicles 104,848
Light commercial vehicles 33,554
Sport utility vehicles 11,091
Total 146,680
Vehicle production Units
Total 107,795
Engine production Units
Family II 136,699
High Feature 132,722
Total 269,421
Exports Units
Engines 173,463
Vehicles 36,534
Total 209,997

As of 22 March 2010, chairman and managing director Mike Devereux heads operations at Holden.[136] Vehicles are sold countrywide through the Holden Dealer Network (310 authorised stores and 12 service centres), which employs more than 13,500 people.[137]

Since the 1960s, Holden models have been a staple of domestic touring car racing, and the quasi-factory Holden Racing Team (HRT) has successfully participated in V8 Supercar racing.[138] In 1987, Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) was formed in partnership with Tom Walkinshaw, who primarily manufactures modified, high-performance Commodore variants.[139] To further reinforce the brand, HSV introduced the HSV Dealer Team into the V8 Supercar fold in 2005 under the naming rights of Toll HSV Dealer Team.[140]

The logo, or "Holden lion and stone" as it is known, has played a vital role in establishing Holden's identity. In 1928, Holden's Motor Body Builders appointed Rayner Hoff to design the emblem. The logo refers to a prehistoric fable, in which observations of lions rolling stones led to the invention of the wheel. With the 1948 launch of the 48-215, Holden revised its logo and commissioned another redesign in 1972 to better represent the company.[141] The emblem was reworked once more in 1994.[142]

GM Holden Ltd sales in the Australian market 1991-2006

Sales in the Australian market between 1991 and 2006

Exports Edit

Holden began to export vehicles in 1954, sending the FJ to New Zealand.[143] Exports to New Zealand have continued ever since, but to broaden their export potential, Holden began to cater their Commodore, Monaro and Statesman/Caprice models for both right- and left-hand drive markets. The Middle East is now Holden's largest export market, with the Commodore sold as the Chevrolet Lumina since 1998, and the Statesman since 1999 as the Chevrolet Caprice.[107] Commodores are also sold as the Chevrolet Lumina in Brunei, Fiji and South Africa, and to Brazil as the Chevrolet Omega.[137][144] Pontiac in North America also imported Commodore sedans from 2008 through to 2009 as the G8.[145] The G8's cessation was a consequence of GM's Chapter 11 bankruptcy resulting in the demise of the Pontiac brand.[146]

Sales of the Monaro began in 2003 to the Middle East as the Chevrolet Lumina Coupe. Later on in the year, a modified version of the Monaro began selling in North America as the Pontiac GTO, and under the Monaro name through Vauxhall dealerships in the United Kingdom. This arrangement continued through to 2005 when the car was discontinued.[147] The long-wheelbase Statesman sales in the Chinese market as the Buick Royaum began in 2005, before being replaced in 2007 by the Statesman-based Buick Park Avenue.[148] Statesman/Caprice exports to South Korea also began in 2005. These Korean models were sold as the Daewoo Statesman, and later as the Daewoo Veritas from 2008.[149] Holden's move into international markets has been profitable; export revenue increased from A$973 million in 1999 to just under $1.3 billion in 2006.[144][150]

Notes Edit

  1. "Street name" (DOC). City of Burnside. Archived from the original on 2005-06-22. Retrieved on 2009-06-03.
  2. Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (2007): Part One, p. 16.
  3. Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (1998): p. 7.
  4. Hancock, Joan; Richards, Eric. "Holden, Sir Edward Wheewall (1885 - 1947)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Publishing. Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
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References Edit


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