Holden, formerly known as General Motors-Holden, is an Australian automobile marque and former automobile manufacturer, which manufactured cars in Australia before switching to importing cars under the Holden brand. It is headquartered in Port Melbourne.
The company was founded in 1856 as a saddlery manufacturer in South Australia. In 1908, it moved into the automotive field before later becoming a subsidiary of the United States–based General Motors (GM) in 1931, when the company was renamed General Motors-Holden's Ltd. It was renamed Holden Ltd in 1998, adopting the name GM Holden Ltd in 2005.
In the past, Holden has offered badge-engineered models due to sharing arrangements with Chevrolet, Isuzu, Nissan, Opel, Suzuki, Toyota, and Vauxhall Motors. In previous years, the vehicle lineup consisted of models from GM Korea, GM Thailand, GM North America, and self-developed models like the Holden Commodore, Holden Caprice, and the Holden Ute. Holden also distributed the European Opel brand in Australia in 2012 until its Australian demise in mid-2013.Holden briefly owned assembly plants in New Zealand during the early 1990s. The plants had belonged to General Motors from 1926 until 1990 in an earlier and quite separate operation from GM's Holden investment in Australia. From 1994 to 2017, all Australian-built Holden vehicles were manufactured in Elizabeth, South Australia, and engines were produced at the Fishermans Bend plant in Melbourne. Historically, production or assembly plants were operated in all mainland states of Australia. The consolidation of final assembly at Elizabeth was completed in 1988, but some assembly operations continued at Dandenong until 1994.
Although Holden's involvement in exports has fluctuated since the 1950s, the declining sales of large cars in Australia led the company to look to international markets to increase profitability. From 2010, Holden incurred losses due to the strong Australian dollar, and reductions of government grants and subsidies. This led to the announcement, on 11 December 2013, that Holden would cease vehicle and engine production by the end of 2017. On 20 October 2017, the last existing vehicle plant, located in Elizabeth, was closed as the production of the Holden Commodore ended. On 17 February 2020, General Motors announced that the Holden brand would be retired by 2021.
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