Holden honours its manufacturing legacy

In Industry by fullboost

  • Holden honours 69 years of local manufacturing, culminating in more than 7.6 million vehicles built for Australia and the world  
  • Company pays tribute to the generations of people within Holden and the supply chain who helped build a legend
  • Holden to honour that legacy by building a bright future in Australia; company retains 1000 direct staff plus 6000 people across 200-strong national dealer network
  • Lion brand to retain world-class Design and Engineering teams working on local and global programs; retention of Lang Lang Vehicle Proving Ground ensures Holdens will always drive and feel like Holdens should
  • New vehicle onslaught continues with ongoing commitment to launch 24 new products by 2020, completely transforming Holden showrooms  
  • Holden’s world-class transition program has resulted in 85% of Holden workers to date successfully transitioning, setting a new benchmark in the industry

GM Holden today celebrated nearly 70 years of proud manufacturing heritage with the final Holden Commodore rolling off the Elizabeth line today at 10.45am (Adelaide time). A private ceremony for employees was held today to mark Holden’s proud manufacturing history and pay tribute to the generations of hard-working men and women who literally built the Holden legend.

From the very first Holden 48-215 to roll off the Fishermans Bend production line on 29 November 1948, to the final VFII Commodore Redline to come out of the Elizabeth factory on 20 October 2017, Holden has been a part of the fabric of Australia and that’s an honoured position that the Lion brand is committed to keeping for many years to come.

Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Bernhard, said: “Treating our people with dignity and respect was always our number one priority during this transition and we’re all proud we were able to achieve that, we see it as recognition of their dedicated service over the years. With 85 per cent of all workers to date successfully transitioning, we’ve worked closely with our people to support them.

“Holden also appreciates the partnership and assistance of the state and federal governments, along with the unions, over many years.

“Right after supporting our people comes ensuring we set Holden up for success for many years to come. The best way we can honour our people and our heritage is by building a successful future and that’s exactly what we’ll be focused on when Monday rolls around.

“Today, however, is about paying tribute to the generations of men and women across Holden and our supply network who have given so much to our company. Holden is the icon it is today only because of these passionate people. On behalf of everyone at Holden, I thank you for your service from the bottom of my heart,” said Mr Bernhard.

Holden’s award-winning employee transition centre will remain open on the Elizabeth site for at least two years’ post factory-closure to ensure all Holden and supply chain employees have the best possible chance to successfully transition.

Holden’s Executive Director of Manufacturing, Richard Phillips, paid tribute to the people and achievements of the Elizabeth plant: “The passion and dedication of the team here is second to none, it has been an honour to work alongside them. In the final years of production, we have been building categorically the best-quality cars to ever roll out of this plant, and our last car was our best. Together we achieved a string of productivity and quality awards in recent times, doing so during the closure period is testament to the skills, professionalism and dedication of the team.”

Looking to the future, Holden will remain a diversified business and a powerhouse of the Australian automotive industry for many years to come. Employing approximately 1000 direct employees in Melbourne and across national zone offices, Holden will also retain its highly-skilled Design and Engineering teams, working on local and global vehicle and transportation programs. This includes retention of Holden’s world-renowned Design Studios and the famous Lang Lang vehicle Proving Ground near Melbourne in Victoria.

This is in addition to the nearly 6000 people employed across Holden’s 200-strong national dealer network, ensuring Holden’s customers are continued to be looked after and all warranty and spare parts needs continue to be met as they always have been.

MEDIA NOTE – for further Holden future and manufacturing information, along with images and b-roll vision, visit the Holden media site here

Over the past two years, Holden has outlined its future path and strategic priorities:    

    • Beyond October 20, Holden will continue to employ approximately 1000 direct staff and an additional nearly 6000 people across its 200-strong national dealer network.
    • Holden will launch 24 major vehicles and 36 new drivetrain combinations by 2020.
    • Holden will have a world-class and diverse SUV line-up, including the all-new Equinox hitting showrooms in November 2017 and the all-new Acadia SUV in 2018.
    • The esteemed Commodore nameplate will live on in 2018.
    • Holden will introduce a true V8, rear-drive sports car to Australia. We are building Holden’s biggest and best vehicle range ever: a true product onslaught.
    • Holden is taking a leadership position with next-generation mobility technology through Maven and OnStar, and an ability to capitalise on GM’s leadership in electric vehicles and autonomous driving technology.
    • Holden will retain a Design and Engineering workforce of approximately 350 people beyond 2017, working on local and global programs.
    • Holden vehicles will continue to be tuned and tested for Australian conditions and customers with the retention of the famous Lang Lang Proving Ground in Victoria;
    • Holden’s world-class Global Design Centre continues to contribute to, design and execute local and global product programs, such as the Buick Avenir and Opel GT.
    • Home Ground Advantage, Holden’s $5 million / 10-year commitment to grass roots sporting clubs has been a huge success with more than 3000 entries to date.

Holden Manufacturing Fast Facts
Holden is the second oldest transportation company globally, starting as a saddlery business in Adelaide in 1856.

Almost 100 years later, Holden ushered in a new era of automotive history when it
introduced Australia’s first mass produced car, the 48-215, in 1948. Since then, more than 7.6
million cars have rolled off Holden production lines.

Total no. of vehicles built in Australia (including export models) 1948-2017: 7,687,675.

First car: 48-215 built on November 29, 1948, at Fishermans Bend, Melbourne

Final car: Commodore VFII Redline (manual) on October 20, 2017, at Elizabeth, Adelaide.

Final four cars built at Elizabeth to be kept as part of Holden’s ongoing heritage collection:

  • Caprice V V8 automatic (Switchblade) – Final Caprice = 7,687,672
  • Calais V V6 automatic (Son of a Gun) – Final Commodore Wagon = 7,687,673
  • SS Ute V8 automatic (Light My Fire) – Final Commodore Ute = 7,687,674
  • SSV Redline V8 manual (Red Hot) – Final Commodore Sedan = 7,687,675

Highest production year – 2005 – 153,026 (VZ Commodore)

Highest market share – 1958, 50.3% of national sales

Peak exports – 60,518 vehicles in 2005 to 10 countries including Middle East and North America.

Highest number of employees – 1964, Holden employee numbers peaked at 23,914 across seven facilities in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

Final Elizabeth plant employee number at October 20, 2017: 945

GM Holden Vehicle Production Milestones

First Holden (48-215) launched                      November 1948 (Fishermans Bend, Vic)

One millionth (EJ)                                           October 1962 (Dandenong, Vic)

Two millionth (HK)                                          March 1969 (Dandenong, Vic)

Three millionth (HQ)                                       June 1974 (Pagewood, NSW)

Four millionth (VC Commodore)                    June 1981 (Dandenong, Vic)

Five millionth (VN Calais)                                August 1990 (Elizabeth, SA)

Six millionth (VX Commodore SS)                 June 2001 (Elizabeth, SA)

Seven millionth (VE Commodore)                  August 2008 (Elizabeth, SA)