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.