General Motors, one of the original Android Auto partners, has indicated that it will shut down the Holden brand in Australia by the end of 2020, stating that it will no longer make cars suitable for Australian roads.
The development is hardly surprising, given Holden ceased manufacturing in Australia three years ago. A knock-on effect of the closure will mean that GM pulls out of other right-hand drive markets including Thailand, and it’s expected that it will hit GM’s bottom line to the tune of around AU$1.5 billion.
Once Holden’s brand goes, some 800 employees will lose their jobs, and most of those will cease in June 2020. Some will be offered relocation packages, but many will be let go with separation payments.
For existing Holden customers, aftersales support, warranties and servicing packages will be honoured in Australia for at least ten years. The company promised it would provide servicing, spare parts and support through its existing network, which will also handle any future recalls should the need arise.
The company said it would also work with its dealers, who may be offered the option of continuing as authorised service outlets.
The Holden dealer network includes 185 dealers in Australia and 31 in New Zealand.
Holden was one of the first brands in Australia to bring out Android Auto support, and so it is a little sad that one of the earliest supporters here will now be leaving the market completely. However, it’s probably not too surprising that this day has come.
Holden’s sales performance in Australia has been declining for some time, owing in part, I suspect, to the growing affordability and quality of alternative cars from Asia and Europe undercutting the value proposition of Holden’s products.
As someone who has owned Holden in the past, I’m saddened to see the departure of Holden from Australia, but on the other side of the coin, I can see why they’re going. Some of Holden’s more recent cars have been very underwhelming, and just not competitive against alternative offerings.
I suspect lots of other car buyers reached the same conclusion, thus leading to the inevitable decision to pull out.