Come 2017, Holden will cease producing cars in Australia, ending a decades long lineage of big, rear-drive, V8 powered sedans. But their high-performance HSV division is expected to survive the transition, albeit in a very different form.
Automotive News reports General Motors will bring production of the Chevrolet Spark EV’s battery pack in-house to its Brownstown Township plant in the Detroit metro area, having already moved the subcompact’s 85-kilowatt electric motors to White Marsh, Md. in 2013. The pack was originally assembled by A123 Systems before Wanxiang Group picked up the torch. No new jobs will be created as a result of the move, spokesman Dave Darovitz stating GM would add jobs “if consumer demand requires it.” The packs for the 2015 Spark EV — whose market will expand to include California and Oregon later this year — will be 86 pounds lighter than the outgoing units, and will have a storage capacity of 19 kilowatts held within 192 lithium ion cells.
Holden may be losing the Commodore, but the brand will gain three new “premium” offerings, suggesting a possible direction for its famed HSV performance shop.
In the span of 24 hours, Australia inked two free trade agreements with both Japan and South Korea. Even though Holden, Ford and Toyota had already committed to ending auto manufacturing in Australia, it’s hard not to see the agreements as the last nail in the coffin of Australia’s once strong auto industry.
As Chevrolet slowly exits from the European market while Holden exits the production line altogether, General Motors is mulling over increasing exports to Australia out of South Korea.
Though the local auto industry in Australia is slowly drawing to a close, a few Opels will soon be found in Holden showrooms, beginning with the Cascada convertible.
In the wake of General Motors’ decision to cease all manufacturing operations through Australian subsidiary Holden by 2017, the Australian government has announced that they will create a $100 million AUD ($89 million USD) fund for affected employees.
Just as TTAC predicted in earlier editorials, Holden will be receiving vehicles imported from China as part of its future product plan – the vehicle slated to be imported from China is no less than the next generation Commodore.
With the demise of Holden’s manufacturing and R&D facilities complete by 2017, General Motors is reportedly looking to kill off the Holden brand and switch over to Chevrolet instead.
-Mike Devereux, Holden’s former Managing Director, in November, 2012
Those ominous words spoken by Mike Devereux last year have taken on an almost eerie significance in light of yesterday’s events. After more than a half century of building cars in Australia, Holden will now become a “national sales company”, ostensibly selling rebadged global General Motors products, manufactured in places like Korea and Thailand.
But veiled remarks about the Australian auto industry aren’t the only words uttered by Devereux that caused us to take notice. At the launch of the latest VF Commodore, Devereux made a vague statement about the Commodore’s future, implying that it would be built on a global platform at the Adelaide factory. While the latter is no longer possible, there’s still hope that the Commodore could live a GM architecture. The only question is, which one?