Tomorrow, Holden will become a full importer of vehicles as the final Australian-built Commodore rolls off of the assembly line. It marks an end to 69 years of continuous production in the country.
Ahead of the announced shutdown in 2013, Holden pulled every lever possible to ensure its factories would continue humming well into the 2020s, but ultimately, the plans fell through after the local government failed to co-invest in the operations alongside General Motors.
The Advertiser reports former Australian industry minister, Senator Kim Carr, approached the cabinet with a massive investment plan for $300 million per year. GM reportedly committed to invest $3 for every $1 of government investment into Holden manufacturing. The government, eventually, dismissed the proposal.
“There is no doubt in my mind both Holden and Toyota would have stayed,” said Senator Carr. “We could have kept the whole industry alive and 50,000 people in jobs for $300 million a year (in government support).”
The plans called for the next-generation Commodore, a smaller Holden Torana, and a Commodore-based SUV for production in Australia alongside a next-generation Holden Cruze. The report states the next Commodore was already considered for production on GM’s E2 platform. While the Australian-built Commodore would have been saved, the V8-powered Commodore was likely already long gone. The 2018 Holden ZB Commodore will, in fact, ride on GM’s E2 platform.
Holden chairman and managing director Mark Bernhard reiterated the brand did everything it could to keep production in Australia.
“We left no stone unturned in trying to keep manufacturing here, it was a very complex decision.”