Holden seeks to secure its future beyond 2016 with new investment and improved efficiency
Matt Prior
4 August 2013

Holden, the Australian arm of General Motors, is trying to secure a long-term future beyond 2016 with AUS$265 million (£155 million) of additional government investment, a two-year pay freeze for workers at its Adelaide manufacturing plant, and talks with other GM brands on how they can better utilise Holden’s test track facilities.

The locally produced Commodore and Cruze models are losing money for GM in Australia. The break-even point for designing and building the Commodore in Australia is 40,000 units. Last year, 30,000 were sold. 

Holden still retains several advantages compared with Ford of Australia, which will cease local production of the Falcon from 2016. Falcon units had dropped to 10,000 units per year, whereas Holden also exports the Commodore in limited numbers. 

Holden is recognised as a rear-drive specialist within GM. It designed the Chevrolet Camaro (whose rear suspension module is in the Commodore). It also has an advanced design centre that’s one of only two in GM that can build a full-scale, functioning concept car.

Should Holden close, the future of Holden Special Vehicles wouldn’t necessarily be as bleak as that for Ford Performance Vehicles. 

HSV, which makes models badged as the Vauxhall VXR8 in the UK, is completely independent of GM.

Our Verdict

Vauxhall VRX8 2011-2012

The Vauxhall VXR8 is an unsophisticated sledgehammer that is engaging, entertaining and very different from the German super-coupés that it rivals

Join the debate

Comments
9

4 August 2013

Holden management haven't endeared themselves to the workforce by demanding a wages freeze while refusing to compromise their own bloated salaries.

And they haven't endeared themselves to Australian taxpayers - they've just received enormous subsidies and now they're back with the age-old blackmail: Pay us more or we'll close down.

4 August 2013

Poisson wrote:

while refusing to compromise their own bloated salaries.

Evidence, please. 

4 August 2013

I don't understand why the Holden name isn't used in the UK?   Simply put who the hell would buy a Vauxhall for the price of the VXR8?   But, I can't see what's wrong with having Holden as a special brand within Vauxhall garages (only the best Vauxhall garages) to sell the brand.

 

Use the infrastructurer already there for Vauxhall and Opel in Europe to sell Holden (assuming there is a left hand driver varient) and you'll certainly boost sales here.   I'm guessing too that it wouldn't have to be the all-powerful models either as they're excellent cars in their right (might spoil the Insigna though!)   Enough to save them?   Who knows...

4 August 2013

 

I concur with Symanski. I've never understood why GM have not made an effort to promote Holden in Europe as a prestige brand through selected Vauxhall/Opel agents, particularly since the demise of the Omega.  With the latest Commodore, I think they are missing an opportunity to market a very handsome saloon/estate for those who don't want to accept the default German choices.  We may get a Vauxhall blazoned HSV rendition in the UK but not everyone wants the red brake callipers, spoilers and other vulgar appurtenancesof this model, so why not bring some of the subtler variants over and keep the Holden badge?

5 August 2013

MrsChippy wrote:

 

I concur with Symanski. I've never understood why GM have not made an effort to promote Holden in Europe as a prestige brand through selected Vauxhall/Opel agents, particularly since the demise of the Omega.  With the latest Commodore, I think they are missing an opportunity to market a very handsome saloon/estate for those who don't want to accept the default German choices.  We may get a Vauxhall blazoned HSV rendition in the UK but not everyone wants the red brake callipers, spoilers and other vulgar appurtenancesof this model, so why not bring some of the subtler variants over and keep the Holden badge?

 

As much as, since the demise of the Omega, I would like to see this (and similarly the Falcon as a Scorpio replacement), unless tax / fuel friendly diesel engines were installed it wouldn't make sense as a medium volume model.

5 August 2013

sirwiggum wrote:

 

As much as, since the demise of the Omega, I would like to see this (and similarly the Falcon as a Scorpio replacement), unless tax / fuel friendly diesel engines were installed it wouldn't make sense as a medium volume model.

Yes, sirwiggum, valid point but it goes to show how GM seems incapable of making best use of the resources that they've invested in. They should have engineered the new VF Commodore with a diesel option, in preparation for an export drive. Off hand, I cannot think of any other 'medium volume' manufacturers that rely almost entirely on their own (limited) domestic market for sales except Ford Australia and Holden. In 2012, Holden produced 82,172 cars in Australia and sent a mere 13,778 of them abroad. The post war axiom "export or die" comes to mind.

 

5 August 2013

Why would Holden come to the UK and become a prestige brand. In Australia it only has 1 of its OWN locally produced cars, based on old an old platform. It also builds chevrolet's Cruze and badges it as a Holden and badges Chevy built carsas its own. Holden is not prestige - it's Australia's Chevrolet.

Most people have also never heard of Holden, unless you're a car buff, and so would require more marketing money to build the brand.

Vauxhall (and Opel, but it does not get this car) is trying to push upmarket, so bringing in another brand above it would make no sense. Vauxhall is just using this as a halo car.

Remember GM also has Cadillac that it's trying to push in Europe. I think 3 brands, which at this moment are not separated well enough, is hard enough for them, they do not need to bring in another.  

5 August 2013

Is this the same GM that under invested in Saab and watched them crash and burn, not forgetting Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn & Hummer. All great brands with so much potential. Surely they can't mess up many more? GM really are useless when it comes to "knowing the market".

5 August 2013

It would appear that GM and Holden have been complacent with this brand.  Relying on old school technology they have failed to develop their cars at the same pace as German and Japanese rivals.  Poor industrial relations will only harm matters further.   It all sounds very familiar to the British car industry of the 70 & 80’s.   The writing would appear to be on the wall for the ending of domestic  car production in Australia as I cannot see any other manufacturer rushing to buy Holden from GM should GM decide to call time on their losses.  I doubt the Chinese would have much interest either?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK