As part of its bankruptcy bid, General Motors was forced to shed half of its domestic brand portfolio in 2009. While few will miss Hummer and Saturn, and Saab still lumbers on as some kind of Chinese zombie automakers, Pontiac loyalists felt betrayed by the General. Now it’s Australia’s turn to feel the burn, as GM announced that by 2017 it will close down the Holden brand, ending decades of Australian market dominance.
The move follows Ford’s exit from the Australian market as well, where a high dollar and a competitive market have made domestic manufacturing incredibly costly. The Aussie car buyer has also shifted gears too, resulting in a massive fall-from-grace for the Holden Commodore, a perennial favorite that has seen sales plummet.
Pontiac was to be the Holden foothold in America, importing the Commodore twice and rebadging it, once as the GTO coupe and once as the G8 sedan. We’re not sure if it qualifies as ironic, or coincidental, but it seems like GM’s efforts to build big, powerful sedans just isn’t meeting the needs of the market.
As a result, we now know that the Chevy SS sedan, at least as we know it, has a very short shelf life on dealers. It also means that pretty much any hope for an El Camino revival is gone, unless GM decided to chop the back off one of its front-wheel drive crossovers. But where’s the fun in that?
Holden’s exit means that about 2,900 people will lose their jobs, and Toyota will be the last remaining domestic manufacturer in Oz. It was a good long run, but in an effort to remain competitive globally, GM has got to make some hard decisions. So long Holden, and thanks for all the utes.