Holden has announced it will close the doors of its Elizabeth manufacturing plant on October 20, 2017, bringing an end to its unbroken 69-year run as an Australian car maker.
The announcement is consistent with Holden’s original position that it would wrap up its manufacturing operations in the fourth quarter of 2017 and suppliers and employees were informed of the final date earlier today.
Holden first began local production with the 48-215 in 1948, while the plant in Elizabeth, South Australia opened its doors in 1963.
In a statement released today, Holden announced 30,000 vehicles will be produced between now and October 20. No decision has yet been made as to what the final vehicle off the production line will be, though not all variants will make it to the final day, with the last manual-equipped V6 Commodore having been produced in November 2016.
The Elizabeth plant will continue to run at full capacity, with nearly 1000 employees remaining until the final day. Of the 700 employees who have left Elizabeth since 2015, 80 per cent have “successfully transitioned”, within 12 months of leaving, with 69 per cent securing other employment, five per cent in training, three per cent retiring and three per cent volunteering.
A small number of employees will remain at Elizabeth beyond October 20 to decommission the plant, and more than 300 designers and engineers will be retained to work on global projects and locally engineer imported products such as the new Opel Insignia-based Holden Commodore.
Holden plans to launch 24 vehicles and 36 new drivetrain combinations between now and 2020, however has a mountain to climb having recorded its worst ever sales result in 2016 with just eight per cent market share.
Despite falling sales, Holden this year announced a $128.1million profit for its 2015 operations, its first since 2011, with boss Mark Bernhard putting the decision to end local manufacturing into stark focus by saying: “Put simply, Holden is profitable on our imported vehicle range, while our manufacturing business continued to run at a loss in 2015.”