The American automaking giant currently retails vehicles solely under the Holden sub-division in Australia and New Zealand
In a bid to pull out of unprofitable markets, General Motors is now planning to wind down its sales, design and engineering operations in Australia and New Zealand by next year. This means that the American carmaker will discontinue the historic Holden brand in both countries.
Mark Reuss, President, General Motors said that the manufacturer looked for ways to avoid the move, but it would have been a pretty costly affair to continuing to be a part of a “highly fragmented right-hand-drive market“. Instead, the American automaker will shift its focus towards its biggest markets including the United States, China, Latin America and South Korea.
Holden was originally founded in 1856 as a saddle maker, however, it started making vehicles only in 1908. The Australian company was later bought by General Motors in 1931. In 2013, GM announced that it will stop producing Holden vehicles in Australia will instead import vehicles from its overseas plants.
Holden would then go on to sell badge-engineered models of vehicles made by Chevrolet, Isuzu, Nissan, Opel, Suzuki, Toyota, and Vauxhall Motors, apart from its own self-developed models including Commodore, Caprice, and the Ute. The Commodore was one of the most iconic cars made by Holden, and was discontinued last year, after being on sale for over four decades.
The American carmaker has cited reasons like strong Australian currency, high manufacturing costs and a small domestic market for the decision. Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO of GM said that the brand is “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 electric and autonomous vehicles.”
Australia and New Zealand are certainly not the first set of countries that General Motors has exited since Barra took over. In 2017, GM sold Opel Automobile GmbH and Vauxhall Motors Ltd to Groupe PSA and left South Africa and other African markets. Later, GM also decided to pull out of Vietnamese, Indonesian and Indian markets as well.