Sad Day Down Under: GM to Shut Down Iconic Holden Brand
From the mid 2000s up until recently, some of the coolest General Motors performance cars offered in the United States weren't even built in America. Instead they came to the US as a re-badged versions of cars built by Holden, GM's Australian subsidiary.
Holden has a rich history in Australia where it was founded in 1856 before becoming part of GM in 1931, but it was just announced that the Holden brand will be closed down as part of GM's latest act of restructuring.
For decades Holden built a variety of unique vehicles for the Australian and New Zealand market that may have shared some engineering and parts with their North American GM relatives, but had a flavor and purpose all their own.
Models like the Commodore, Monaro and of course the Holden Ute are icons in Australia, and the American market has gotten tastes of these cars via the Pontiac GTO, Pontiac G8 and most recently the Chevy SS.
Unfortunately though, as the years went on Holden became less of an automaker and more of just an Australian badge. Monaro production stopped back in 2006 and Commodore production stopped in 2017, officially ending all of Holden's Australian car-building.
Since then, the brand has continued but has only offered re-badged versions of existing GM cars, trucks and SUVs. The last Commodore sold in Australia wasn't a RWD sedan but a re-bdaged version of the Opel Insignia AKA Buick Regal here in the US. The decision to retire the brand by 2021 comes as part of a GM plan that also includes ending vehicle sales in Thailand.
While the demise of the Holden brand didn't come as a surprise given its trajectory in recent years, it still comes as a sad development for the brand's legion of fans in its home country as well as the cult group who fell in love with the Australian-built muscle cars that found their way to the US.
Want to know more about what made Holden's muscle cars so special? Check out our driving impressions of the 2016 Chevy SS.