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Holden confirms final day for manufacturing

By Toby Hagon, 13 Jan 2017 News

The last Holden Commodore will roll off the Elizabeth asembly line a month shy of the carmaker's 60th anniversary

Holden confirms final day for manufacturing

HOLDEN has announced it will produce the final Commodore at its South Australian production line on Friday, October 20, 2017.

The date signifies the end of an illustrious and often challenging 69-year manufacturing operation that has defined the quintessentially Australian brand and produced nameplates as iconic as Monaro, Kingswood, Commodore, Torana and Sandman.

October 20, 2017 will be 25,163 days since the company's manufacturing facilities were opened by Prime Minister Ben Chifley on November 29, 1948.

Holden informed the 1000 staff who will be made redundant as well as its vast supplier network earlier today.

In a statement released today Holden's executive director of manufacturing, Richard Phillips, said the announcement puts the end on a long expected transition from manufacturer to importer.

"While this confirmation isn’t a surprise for anyone and we’ve been working toward this for nearly four years, we can now confirm the actual date for our people and our suppliers," said Phillips. "Putting our people first and foremost has always been our highest priority."

Holden says it will build another 30,000 Commodores, Utes and Caprices between now and October 20. They will include the long anticipated Director and Magnum limited edition models and the eagerly awaited HSV GTS-R and HSV W1.

“This October may bring to a close more than 60 years of vehicle manufacturing by Holden at Elizabeth but I know it will be business as usual for our manufacturing workforce until then – we have tens of thousands of world-class cars to build in coming months and I know we all want to see Holden have great success in Australia for many years to come."

Holden will still employ up to 1000 people, most at its Port Melbourne head office, including about 300 designers and engineers who will be remain heavily involved in developing vehicles for General Motors for global markets. 

A skeleton staff from the manufacturing operations will remain in place for months after the closure to take part in the decommissioning of the Elizabeth production line.

Holden chairman and managing director, Mark Bernhard, praised the staff who will leave the company and looked towards what he hopes will be a more successful future as an importer.

“They have continually pushed to improve the quality of their work for the benefit of our customers – this commitment, continuous improvement attitude and passion have been exhibited in spades in challenging circumstances,” said Bernhard.

“It’s not surprising that their skills, work ethic and flexibility are highly sought after and they are leaving a legacy for Holden that deserves to be honoured by ensuring this company has a bright and successful future.

“Holden continues to change but we are proud to retain a significant presence in Australia for the long-term that includes more than 300 people across our local design and engineering workforces, in addition to the approximately 700 corporate staff and 10,000 people employed across our dealer network.

"Holden remains committed to Australia and our customers for many, many years to come."

Holden's sales in 2016 represented the worst market share for the brand since it began building cars in 1948; Holden accounted for just 8.0 percent of the nearly 1.2 million cars sold last year, well down on its 50 percent-plus highs in the 1950s.

Toyota is the last Australian car maker to announce its manufacturing shutdown.

The company is expected to close its Altona production line after Holden, making it the last ever volume car maker in Australia.