To clarify what may happen should General Motors decides it no longer needs to throw millions of dollars propping up Holden’s survival, and some measure of success - here’s some thoughts to ruminate on:
First, the much-vaunted, much-valued design and engineering operation, including the very talented personnel and the giant Lang Lang Proving Ground outside Melbourne, has already been spun off as a separate enterprise - managed, directed and operated from Detroit. GM-Holden in Melbourne has nothing to do with it, and no control or command over what happens there.
Second, where do Holden’s future products come from?
At this stage Commodore and Astra come from Opel in Germany; Spark from Korea; Colorado from Thailand and Equinox from Mexico.
After Groupe PSA makes a final decision on rationalizing platforms and powertrains, no doubt Holden will be offered replacements for Commodore and Astra based on PSA underpinnings.
However, if the vehicles are too expensive thanks to both the currency relativities between the Australian dollar and the Euro; plus the fact that PSA has already stated it wants to make €780 on every vehicle it makes; then Holden will have to get its products either from Korea, or at a pinch the USA. Buying US dollar-priced cars could be just as expensive and volatile as buying cars priced in Euros.
General Motors could decide to jettison Holden completely; throwing away the value of a brand, which has existed in Australia for almost 70 years. The only option in that case would be to create another export market for cars badged as Chevys, but built in Korea or Thailand. Or, nothing at all!
Third, the next installment will be massive litigation cases brought by Holden’s 200-strong dealer network, which right now is already pissed off with GM-Holden management, and as these various scenarios might play out, the costs associated with the cessation of local manufacturing, would pale into insignificance compared to paying off the dealers.
At this stage Ford will be looking pretty smug. In its transition from manufacturer to importer, Ford has left behind Dearborn’s internal moniker, The Falcon Motor Company of Australia; and is now known internally as the Ford Ranger Company of Australia.
The Aussie-designed and engineered truck has been a massive global success.
If Holden does become exctinct, it will probably turn out to be one of the greatest, and most significant examples of corporate ineptitude in modern automotive history.
Although, Australia has been the dying ground of many famous marques – Chrysler, Rootes, Renault, Peugeot, Austin, Mitsubishi, Morris, Nissan, Leyland, Volkswagen, and let’s not forget Goggomobile.
All these companies tried either full or part manufacturing at one time, and all were dealt a death blow in the market.
What a sad position for a great brand, and a tradition of Australian-engineered and built cars, which were the equal of any in the world.
If you're a Holden tragic, where does that leave you? Unloved, unappreciated and on your Pat Malone - that's where!