Partially assembled General Motors V6 engines, used in a variety of GM cars, trucks and crossovers, move down the assembly line at the GM Romulus Powertrain plant in Romulus, Michigan, U.S. August 21, 2019. Picture taken August 21, 2019. Rebecca Cook
Partially assembled General Motors V6 engines, used in a variety of GM cars, trucks and crossovers, move down the assembly line at the GM Romulus Powertrain plant in Romulus, Michigan, U.S. August 21, 2019. Picture taken August 21, 2019. Rebecca Cook

Historic Australian car brand Holden has reached the end of the road, the owner General Motors (GM) revealed on Monday, having spent decades as the country’s best selling vehicle and national icon.

The company said in a statement that it would “wind down sales, design and engineering operations in Australia and New Zealand” before retiring the brand completely by 2021.

GM had already stopped manufacturing Holden vehicles in Australia back in 2017, resulting in about 3,000 job losses, more of which are expected after Monday’s announcement.

“At the highest levels of our company, we have the deepest respect for Holden’s heritage and contribution to our company and to the countries of Australia and New Zealand,” GM President Mark Reuss said.

“After considering many possible options and putting aside our personal desires to accommodate the people and the market, we came to the conclusion that we could not prioritize further investment over all other considerations we have in a rapidly changing global industry.”

Tracing its roots back to 1856 as an Australian saddle maker, the company James Alexander Holdenevolved to manufacture vehicle parts by the early 1900s, and in 1931 merged with General Motors to become General Motors-Holden’s Limited.

In 1948, the company manufactured the very first all-Australian made motor vehicle, which was unveiled by Prime Minister Ben Chifley at the time, and proved immensely popular with the driving public.

Dominating the domestic market throughout the second half of the 20th century, Holden cars were a common sight on Australian roads and became entwined with the Australian lifestyle.

Despite efforts by GM to maintain a manufacturing presence in Australia, overseas competition and more lucrative opportunities elsewhere forced the company to dramatically scale back the brand’s operations within Australia and eventually discontinue the brand altogether.

The company said that it would support existing customers by continuing to honor all warranties and provide servicing and spare parts. Enditem

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