Australia marks the end of an era, exits car-building business

October 23, 2017

General Motors closed its last Holden factory in Australia last week, officially bringing to an end nearly a century of Australian automotive manufacturing. The move was far from unexpected, and follows similar pull-outs from both Ford and Toyota last year as carmakers seek out more sustainable production locations.

For almost a century, Australia was the proud home to its own automotive manufacturing industry. With unique vehicles tailored to the Australian market, both Ford of Australia and GM-owned Holden left their mark on the automotive community.

MORE: Ford's last car built in Australia

Cars like the Holden Commodore not only carried on an Australian tradition of powerful sedans, they even came to the United States on occasion, rebadged as the Chevrolet SS in the case of the Commodore. Even when a niche vehicle like the El Camino withered and died stateside, it lived on in spirit, in the form of the Holden Ute.

Holden vehicle plant in Elizabeth, South Australia

Holden vehicle plant in Elizabeth, South Australia

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull eulogized the factory’s closing, saying, “The end of Holden making cars in Australia is a very sad day for the workers and for every Australian. It is the end of an era.”

While the end of Holden manufacturing vehicles in Australia is certainly the end of an era, this isn’t the end of Holden.

The company will continue to sell vehicles based on GM-family models like the GMC Acadia and Chevy Equinox, while other vehicles-like the Commodore, will continue to be produced, albeit from non-Australian factories.

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