164 years of tradition - GM buries Holden

A big brand, a long tradition. Holden was founded in southern Australia in 1856 as a manufacturer of horse saddles. Automobiles had been built since 1908. The Americans joined in 1931 and the company had been part of GM for 89 years. The final end is coming in 2021. Not surprisingly, the decline was beginning to emerge. Production in Australia was stopped in 2017, when 2.900 employees lost their jobs.

Holden Commodore - a big name. But only an Opel Insignia
Holden Commodore - a big name. But only an Opel Insignia. Picture: Holden

Since that time, Holden vehicles have only been imported, and GM practices consistent badge engineering. A once proud Holden Commodore is now only a derivative based on Opel / Buick, own developments are a thing of the past. The brand has lost massive market share since the end of its local production. The reason given is the further withdrawal from the markets for right-hand drive vehicles. The quantities that can be sold there are manageable, but the effort for homologation of new vehicles is high due to inconsistent regulations. Great Britain has already left GM with the sale of Vauxhall to the PSA group, now other regions are following in addition to Australia with New Zealand and Thailand. The Thai GM plant is sold to the Chinese manufacturer Great Wall, which can further consolidate its market position in Asia. Detroit plans to pool the freed-up funds in investments in future technologies.

Holden and Saab were at home under the GM roof for many years. The first cooperation started in 1993. The Australians were looking for a drive for the new Holden Commodore. They came across the turbo drives from Södertälje, which represented the most modern engine construction. Two test vehicles were built, but the engines never went into series production. Opel sabotaged the Holden - Saab cooperation, we did the drama a year ago veröffentlicht.

Holden engines for Saab

The use of the Holden V6 engine was more successful in the Saab world. The basic engine from Australian production is in principle a robust, honest drive. Saab was the turbo competence center in the GM network in the 2000s and optimized the basic engine for use in the Saab 9-3 II and other vehicles. Only with 250 and later with 280 PS was the drive a thirsty way to drive a Swedish car with 6 cylinders, but always with a bit of driving fun in the background. In the narrow engine compartment of the 9-3 thermally stressed, the 280 hp were the highest expansion level ex works. With regard to the health of the machine, additional power was only recommended with a larger charge air cooler.

The last time Australian technology was used in the Saab was in 2011 with the new 9-5 and the Saab 9-4x. 300 hp was the most powerful expansion stage in the revised engines. Only Saab tuner Hirsch poured a little more power.

With Holden, the Americans bury another traditional brand. Not without billions of Australian tax dollars over the years subventionen to have received. The parallels with Saab and Sweden, where the state invested billions in the infrastructure to secure the location, can hardly be overlooked. There are still 185 agencies with the Holden lettering on the building, the future of which is now uncertain. 600 of the remaining 800 Holden employees also lose their jobs. 200 remaining employees take care of the handling and supply of spare parts. The legendary Lang Lang Proving Ground, modernized two years ago with a double-digit million amount, is abandoned and is for sale.

GM brings back Hummer 2021

GM appears to be an industrial dinosaur that is constructing its downward spiral. Cost savings are always followed by loss of market share and the resulting abandonment of entire regions. A sad situation for a proud, old company that was once entitled to a global presence.

One does not seem to have a conclusive answer for the future. Or maybe it is and it's very American. After the end of Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Oldsmobil and the separation of Opel and Vauxhall, Detroit brings back a dead brand. The Hummer brand of all places is to be revived according to the plans in Detroit. The label in the group, which is probably the least missed by fans, should ensure the future from 2021. With a electric truck the dreams of lived sustainability and emission-free mobility mature.

Values ​​for which Hummer and the limited socially compatible vehicles never stood. Any of the abandoned GM brands, including Saab, would have been better suited for a purely electric rebirth. Around $ 2,2 billion will go to the resuscitation. Buyers will decide whether the money will be invested intelligently.

10 thoughts too "164 years of tradition - GM buries Holden"

  • Sad, sad but for me another proof never, never, never to buy anything from GM production. This has already happened in the past. The other vehicle was more expensive but definitely not gm. In general, in the last few years I have made a statement about who wants to buy the "big murks" at all. Lobster electric? Really a brilliant decision, although the part has space for a power plant. See a coal or oil-fired power station that produces electricity that would fit the rest of the technology. But is absolutely necessary for an overland trip in the land of unlimited possibilities. Or, from a GM perspective, every city should now be covered with Hummer e-mobiles.

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  • Since the Opel left GM, they have been in the black again. Just why?!

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  • As always insightful and informative. Thanks Tom.

    Although the article seems balanced to me, the feat of constructing some understandable strategy of GMs may not really work…

    I find at most a little understanding and a little indulgence for one or the other retreat in the back corners of my brain twists.

    But anyway, that's some comfort to me. If GM were on the road to success after the sale of Saab, it would hurt much more. The fact that one sees an e-lobster as the last lifeline, that one thinks a (probably bad) copy of the (stupid) cyber truck is a big hit, is also a certain satisfaction. May the GM Group simply follow the brands that have thrown them into the abyss and are good ...

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  • ... and good is ...
    There is nothing to add.

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  • At some point, the happiness of every company ceases to exist despite itself.

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  • GM should never have handled Saab. The Chinese impressively demonstrate the potential of Swedish car brands at VOLVO. The prices that VOLVO calls are now a cheek, but they do it because they can do it. Saab would have had this potential too.

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  • I do not think that the Chinese are doing Volvo so well and it will only be a matter of time before the Chinese get rid of the Volvo issue.
    As for GM, a corporation that didn't want to understand Europe and never understood it.
    Away from me with you.
    Yes, even if Opel should bless the timing, this is more than just compared to the Saab brand.

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  • I wonder how soon GM become a simple financial service co, ie: 'We lend money', as Honestly, they have betrayed the very essence of Vehicle making in this world …… ..

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  • Did the Americans understand the Europeans at some point ???
    I don't miss any GM vehicles (nowadays).
    So, I can watch the drama ...

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  • Whether a large electric pickup is particularly clever or sustainable is probably seen differently in Europe and North America.

    The fact is that US manufacturers in North America dominate the market for large pickups and can probably still make money relatively easily.
    But the Japanese are also getting involved there and Europeans are already looking at it. And there is also a trend towards electric cars, Tesla has introduced its cyber truck, Ford has announced an electric F-150 and two startups, Rivian and Bollinger, are in the starting blocks.

    It was not to be expected that GM would voluntarily leave the market, on which they are still reasonably large, to the competition. It remains to be seen whether they will have the right arrow in their quiver with the GMC Hummer EV.

    And he probably won't save GM either, sooner or later in the USA, too, you will have to accept that there is more to it than just converting the cars to a different form of energy.
    Let's see if the group that brought the turbocharger to the mass-produced car series (maybe the shop could have connected more with Saab) will have another sustainable idea ...

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