GM to Shutter Holden in Australia, Further Withdraws from Right-Hand Drive Markets

By Paul Riegler on 18 February 2020
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1962 Opel Rekord

General Motors said it will discontinue its iconic Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand and pull out of those markets.

“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,” said GM President Mark Reuss.

The Detroit-based automaker said it will retire the Holden brand by 2021.

The two countries aren’t the only right-hand drive markets where GM is pulling back.  The company said it will stop offering Chevrolet automobiles in Thailand by the end of 2020, and will sell its Rayong manufacturing facility there to Great Wall Motors, a Chinese auto manufacturer.  In January, it announced the sale of a plant in Pune, India.

The move comes as the General is refocusing on electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles.

“We are restructuring our international operations, focusing on markets where we have the right strategies to drive robust returns, and prioritizing global investments that will drive growth in the future of mobility, especially in the areas of EVs and AVs,” said

Holden, which was founded in 1856 as a saddler manufacturer, entered the automotive industry in 1908.  Before becoming a subsidiary of General Motors in 1931, it built the Ford Model T for a period of time.  Holden manufactured right-hand drive badge-engineered models originating with other GM brands such as Chevrolet, Opel, and Isuzu, and discontinued all manufacturing in Australia at the end of 2017.

In 2017, General Motors sold its Adam Opel division toFrench automaker PSA Group, maker of Peugeot and Citroën cars.  Opel had been a GM subsidiary since 1929.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)