Holden is a vital engineering center for GM and was key in the development of the Zeta RWD platformEnlarge Photo
The continuing downfall of General Motors in recent months has led to some serious scrambling at the carmaker’s subsidiary brands as each struggles to keep its head above water as the ship goes down. We saw it first with Hummer, which GM decided to offload as far back as the middle of last year, and subsequently we saw the Saab, Saturn and Opel brands start to deteriorate. Now it appears as though GM’s often forgotten subsidiary, Holden, may be next on the chopping block.
Holden, which operates in Australia but also produces the Pontiac G8 and several variants of that car for international sale, is on the brink of collapse according to Clive Matthew-Wilson, a local industry expert and author of the internationally recognized Dog & Lemon
car buying guide.
GM’s Aussie subsidiary has already halved output at its Adelaide plant from 600 cars per day to just 310 and more reductions, including job cuts, are expected to come.
Speaking with the Sydney Morning Herald
, Wilson predicted that the entire Australian automotive industry, which is supported by companies such as GM, Ford and Toyota, is not likely to recover from the current economic downturn, and that no amount of government interference can prevent the industry’s eventual downfall.
While GM's plight is no secret in automotive circles, Matthew-Wilson also claims that Ford’s Aussie division is not doing as well as it may appear, citing tumbling sales for the Blue Oval in the first quarter of this year. However, there is little argument against the fact that Ford still finds itself in a better situation than its other Detroit rivals, GM and Chrysler. Nevertheless, Matthew-Wilson is predicting that GM's Holden brand will be the first to slip, followed by Ford and then Toyota.
Historically, GM and Ford have competed head-to-head in the Australian market, particularly in the large rear-wheel-drive segment but now buyers are turning away from these cars and embracing more efficient, smaller vehicles. Currently, Ford is pondering introducing FWD to its famous Falcon nameplate, but if you talk to Clive Matthew-Wilson the point is moot, and the Australian car industry has reached the point of no return.