Holden is being closed by General Motors, but what happens to current owners and employees?



General Motors is pulling the pin on iconic Australian car brand Holden, ending the marque's 72-year existence.

The news is significant, not only for the company and its hundreds of employees, but also for the thousands of Australians that own Holden cars, some of whom have been devoted to the brand for decades.


So, what does Holden's closure actually mean for them? And what happens next?


Will they still make Holden cars?

No. Production of the cars will have ended by June.

General Motors has basically said that the investment required to keep Holden alive is greater than the return it is getting, so it will no longer be making that investment.

But you can still buy Holdens that have already been built and are currently for sale. GM Holden's interim managing director Kristian Aquilina said this process may take "several months", with a few thousand cars either currently for sale or about to come out of the production line.

So if you want to buy a new Holden before the closure, the clock is ticking — they'll all be gone by the end of the year.


What happens to the Holden I already own?

GM says it will continue to support its cars with "warranty, spare parts, servicing and recalls for at least the next 10 years".

Mr Aquilina says all of these services will "work in exactly the same way as they do today".

GM says no current Holden owners will experience any changes, and the company will be keeping a number of staff in place to make sure the transition is smooth.

How exactly that will work remains to be seen — although Holden has said it will "establish a national after-sales network" to support existing customers — but Daniel Gardner from WhichCar magazine told the ABC GM had a legal obligation to make good on its promise.

"If the words of the executive team are to be trusted — and they must be, because Holden is legally obliged to support existing owners for a number of years — Holden's saying 10 years [ongoing support]," Mr Gardner said.

"If you own a Holden and have only just bought one, you'll be able to service it, buy parts, and there'll be after-sales care there for 10 years at least. Not a lot will change."


How many people will lose jobs?

Of the approximately 800 people currently employed by Holden, around 600 will be out of a job by June. The rest make up the after-sales teams who will be required to fulfil the commitments made to current owners.

"Every individual is being thought of as part of this transition," Mr Aquilina said.

"For those whose roles are impacted, we will provide an appropriate separation package, we will provide placement support and we will provide transition support."

There are 185 Holden dealerships in Australia and 31 in New Zealand. GM is holding a "Q&A session" with dealers today, and says it will formulate a transition plan and "treat them fairly".


What has the reaction to the closure been?

GM international operations senior vice president Julian Blissett said the decision was "dreadfully heartbreaking for the team back at Holden".

Mr Blissett said there were "lots of tears, lots of hugs" among staff when the news was broken.

Mr Gardner said for the wider automotive industry there was sadness "but not a great amount of surprise" at the news.

"We have seen this writing on the wall for many years, if I'm completely honest," Mr Gardner said.

"It's a very sad day. It is a great loss. But honestly, this is the latest — perhaps final — installation in what has been a downward decline for many years."

Even Holden's great rival Ford Australia expressed its sadness.




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