Infobox Company
company_name = GM Holden Ltd
company_type = Private
foundation = 1856
location = Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
key_people = Mark Reuss
"Chairman and Managing Director"
industry = Automotive
products = Automobiles
num_employees = 7015 (March 2008)
parent = General Motors
homepage = [http://www.holden.com.au/ www.holden.com.au]

GM Holden Ltd is an Australian automaker based in Port Melbourne, Victoria. The company was originally independent, but since 1931 has been a subsidiary of General Motors (GM). Holden has taken charge of vehicle operations for GM in Australasia and, on behalf of GM, holds partial ownership of GM Daewoo in South Korea. Over the years, Holden has offered a broad range of locally produced vehicles, supplemented by imported GM models. In the past, Holden has offered badge engineered Isuzu, Nissan, Suzuki and Toyota models in sharing arrangements.

Holden bodyworks are manufactured at Elizabeth, South Australia, and engines are produced at Port Melbourne, Victoria. Historically, production or assembly plants were operated in all mainland states of Australia: Acacia Ridge, Queensland; Dandenong, Victoria; Mosman Park, Western Australia; Pagewood, New South Wales; and Woodville, South Australia. Until 1990, GM's New Zealand subsidiary Holden New Zealand operated a plant based in Trentham, with a plant in Petone running until 1984. The consolidation of car production at Elizabeth was completed in 1988, but some assembly operations continued at Dandenong until 1996.

Although Holden's involvement in exports has fluctuated since the 1950s, the declining sales of large cars in Australia has led the company to look to international markets to increase profitability; in 2006, exports alone accounted for almost AU$1.3 billion in earnings.

History of the marque

Early history

In 1852, James Alexander Holden emigrated to South Australia from England and in 1856 established "J.A. Holden & Co", a saddlery business in Adelaide. [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part One), p. 16] Edward Holden, James' son, joined the firm in 1905 with an interest in automobiles. [cite web | last = Hancock | first = Joan | coauthors = Richards, Eric | url = http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A090705b.htm | title = Holden, Sir Edward Wheewall (1885 - 1947) | work = Australian Dictionary of Biography | publisher = Melbourne University Publishing | accessdate = 2008-08-23] From there, the firm evolved through various partnerships and, in 1908, Holden and Frost moved into the business of minor repairs to car upholstery.cite web | url = http://www.uniquecarsandparts.com.au/history_holden.htm | title = Holden History | publisher = Unique Cars and Parts | accessdate = 2008-08-23] The company began to produce complete motorcycle sidecar bodies in 1913, and Edward experimented with fitting bodies to different types of carriages.cite web | url = http://media.gm.com/aus/holden/en/company/history/history_milestones.html | title = Holden Company Milestones | publisher = General Motors | accessdate = 2008-08-23] After 1917, wartime trade restrictions led the company to start full-scale production of vehicle body shells. J.A. Holden founded a new company in 1919, "Holden's Motor Body Builders Ltd" (HMBB) specialising in car bodies. By 1923, HMBB were producing 12,000 units per year. During this time, HMBB was the first company to assemble bodies for Ford Australia until their Geelong, Victoria, plant was completed. [cite web | url = http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/25843/sub048.pdf | title = Submission to Automotive Enquiry | work = Productivity Commission | publisher = Government of Australia | accessdate = 2008-07-17] From 1924, HMBB became the exclusive supplier of car bodies for GM in Australia, with manufacturing taking place at the new Woodville, South Australia plant.cite web | url = http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/holdencar/index.htm | title = The Holden car in Australia | publisher = Government of Australia | accessdate = 2008-08-23] These bodies were made to suit a number of chassis imported from manufacturers such as Chevrolet and Dodge. The Great Depression era led to a substantial downturn in production, from 34,000 units annually in 1930 to just 1,651 units one year later. In 1931, General Motors purchased the business and formed "General Motors–Holden's Ltd". [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part One), p. 6] Since then, two name changes have occurred: the first, in 1998, changed the name to "Holden Ltd", and the second, in May 2005, to "GM Holden Ltd". [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part One), p. 9]


Holden's first full-scale car factory in Port Melbourne, Victoria, was completed in 1936, with construction beginning in 1939 on a new plant in Pagewood, New South Wales. However, World War II delayed car production with efforts shifted to the construction of vehicle bodies, field guns, aircraft and engines. Before the war ended, the Australian Government took steps to encourage an Australian automotive industry. [cite web | date = 2007-08-22 | url = http://www.holden.co.nz/news/article/114 | title = The Holden Ute History | publisher = Holden New Zealand | accessdate = 2008-02-26] Both General Motors and Ford provided studies to the Australian Government outlining the production of the first Australian designed car. Ford's proposal was the government's first choice, but required substantial financial assistance. General Motors' study was ultimately chosen because of its low level of government intervention.cite web | url = http://www.naa.gov.au/The_Collection/transport/road.html | title = Road transport | publisher = National Archives of Australia | archiveurl = http://web.archive.org/web/20051025213951/http://www.naa.gov.au/The_Collection/transport/road.html | archivedate = 2005-10-25] After the war, Holden returned to producing vehicle bodies, this time for Buick, Chevrolet, Pontiac and Vauxhall. [cite encyclopedia | url = http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Holden-Ltd-Company-History.html | title = Holden Ltd.| encyclopedia = International Directory of Company Histories | volume = 62 | year = 2004 | editor = Grant, Tina | publisher = Thomson Gale | accessdate = 2008-02-28] Before this however, Holden continued to pursue the goal of producing an Australian car. This involved compromise with General Motors, as Holden's managing director, Laurence Hartnett, favoured development of a local design, while GM preferred to see an American design as the basis for "Australia's Own Car". [Loffler (2006), p. 5–7] In the end, the design was based on a previously rejected post-war Chevrolet proposal. [Loffler (2000), p. 5] The Holden was launched in 1948, creating long waiting lists extending through 1949 and beyond. [cite web | url = http://www.holden.com.au/www-holden/jsp/corporateinfo/history/chifley.jsp | title = The Birth of 'Australia's Own Car' | publisher = GM Holden | accessdate = 2008-03-05] Although officially designated "48-215", the car was marketed simply as the "Holden". [cite web | date = 1948 | url = http://www.uniquecarsandparts.com.au/gallery/pdf/Holden_48215.pdf | format = PDF | title = Holden – General Motors new Australian car | publisher = General Motors–Holden's | accessdate = 2008-03-02] The unofficial usage of the name "FX" originated within Holden, referring to the updated suspension 48-215 of 1953. [Loffler (2002), p. 4]


During the 1950s, Holden dominated the Australian car market. General Motors invested heavily in production capacity, which allowed the company to meet increased post-war demand for motor cars. Less expensive four-cylinder cars did not offer Holden's ability to deal with rugged rural areas. [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part One), p. 38] 48-215 sedans were produced in parallel with the 50-2106 coupé utility from 1951; the latter was known colloquially as the "ute" and became ubiquitous in Australian rural areas as the workhorse of choice. Production of both the ute and sedan continued with minor changes until 1953, when they were replaced by the facelifted FJ model, introducing a third panel van body style. [cite web | date = 2001-04-24 | url = http://www.autoweb.com.au/A_53869/cms/newsarticle.html | title = An Aussie Icon Turns 50 - The Holden Ute: 1951 - 2001 | work = AutoWeb | publisher = Web Publications | accessdate = 2008-08-23] The FJ was the first major change to the Holden since its 1948 introduction. Over time it gained iconic status and remains one of Australia's most recognisable automotive symbols. [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part One), p. 40] A new horizontally slatted grille dominated the front-end of the FJ, which had other trim changes, along with a large rear window, but no changes were made to the body panels. [Loffler (2002), p. 5] Although little changed from the 48-215, marketing campaigns and price cuts kept FJ sales steady until a completely redesigned model was launched. [cite web | url = http://www.nma.gov.au/collections/collection_highlights/australian_society_and_history_since_1788/fj_holden/ | title = FJ Holden, 1953-1956 | publisher = National Museum of Australia | accessdate = 2008-03-04] At the 2005 Australian International Motor Show in Sydney, Holden paid homage to the FJ with the Efijy concept car. [cite journal | last = Carey | first = John | month = November | year = 2005 | title = Holden Efijy | journal = Wheels magazine | pages = 16 | publisher = ACP Magazines] Holden's next model, the FE, launched in 1956; offered in a new station wagon body style dubbed "Station Sedan" in the company's sales literature. [cite web | date = 1998-03-24 | url = http://www.autoweb.com.au/A_50400/cms/newsarticle.html | title = Golden Holden Oldies - The FE Holden: 1956 | work = AutoWeb | publisher = Web Publications | accessdate = 2008-03-06] Strong sales continued in Australia, and Holden achieved a market share of more than 50 percent in 1958 with the revised FC model. [Wright (1998), p. 117] This was the first Holden to be tested on the new "Holden Proving Ground" based in Lang Lang, Victoria. [cite web | date = 1997-10-14 | url = http://www.autoweb.com.au/A_50167/cms/newsarticle.html | title = Holden's Lang Lang Proving Ground Passes Forty-Year Milestone | work = AutoWeb | publisher = Web Publications | accessdate = 2008-03-06] The opening of the Dandenong, Victoria, production facility in 1956 brought further jobs; by 1959 Holden employed 19,000 workers country-wide. [cite web | date = 1959-11-02 | url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,892818,00.html | title = The New Blokes | work = The Times | publisher = Time Inc. | accessdate = 2008-08-23]


In the 1960s, Holden faced serious competition for the first time; its major competitors began to import cars. [Wright (1998), p. 121] In 1960, the company introduced its third major new model, the FB. The car's style was inspired by 1950s’ Chevrolets, with tailfins and a wrap-around windshield with "dog leg" A-pillars. By the time it was introduced, many considered the appearance dated. Much of the motoring industry at the time noted that the adopted style did not translate well to the more compact Holden. [Wright (1998), p. 122] The FB became the first Holden that was adapted for left-hand-drive markets, enhancing its export potential. [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part One), p. 46] In 1960, Ford unveiled the new Falcon in Australia, only months after its introduction in the United States. To Holden's advantage, the Falcon was not durable, particularly in the front suspension, making it ill-suited for Australian conditions. [Wright (1998), p. 133–134] In response to the Falcon, Holden introduced the facelifted EK in 1961; the new model featured two-tone paintwork and optional automatic transmission. [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part One), p. 48] An all-new EJ model came in 1962, debuting the new luxury oriented "Premier" model. [Wright (1998), p. 135] The EH update came a year later bringing the new "Red" motor, providing better performance than the previous "Grey" motor. [cite web | url = http://www.uniquecarsandparts.com.au/holden_red_motor.htm | title = Holden 6 Cylinder Red Motor | publisher = Unique Cars and Parts | accessdate = 2008-08-23] After the slow-selling HD series of 1965, Holden responded with the HR in 1966, selling over 250,000 units in two years. Changes came in the form of new front and rear styling and higher-capacity engines. More significantly, the HR fitted standard front seat belts; Holden thus became the first Australian automaker to provide the safety device as standard equipment across all models. [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part Two), p. 57] This coincided with the completion of the production plant in Acacia Ridge, Queensland.

Holden began assembling the compact HA series Vauxhall Viva in 1964. This was superseded by the Holden Torana in 1967, a development of the Viva ending Vauxhall production in Australia. [cite web | url = http://www.uniquecarsandparts.com.au/car_info_holden_torana_hb.htm | title = Holden Torana HB | publisher = Unique Cars and Parts | accessdate = 2008-03-06] Holden offered the LC, a Torana with new styling, in 1969 with the availability of Holden's six-cylinder engine. In the development days, the six-cylinder Torana was reserved for motor racing, but research had shown that there was a business case for such a model. [Wright (1998), p. 191–192]

Holden's association with the manufacture of Chevrolets and Pontiacs ended in 1968, coinciding with Holden's next major new model, the HK. [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part One), p. 5, 31] This included Holden's first V8 engine, a Chevrolet engine imported from the United States. [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part Two), p. 59] Models based on the HK series included an extended-length prestige model, the Brougham, and a two-door coupé, the Monaro. [Davis (1987), p. 102] The mainstream Holden Special was rebranded the Kingswood, and the basic fleet model, the Standard, became the Belmont. [Wright (1998), p. 171] The first Australian-designed and mass-produced V8 engine debuted in the Hurricane concept of 1969, before being applied to facelifted HT model. This was available in two capacities: convert|253|cuin|L|1|lk=in referred to as a 4.2L and convert|308|cuin|L|1. [cite web | date = 1999-06-28 | url = http://www.autoweb.com.au/A_51435/cms/newsarticle.html | title = Holden Employees Farewell The Last Aussie-Built V8 | work = AutoWeb | publisher = Web Publications | accessdate = 2008-03-05]

Despite the arrival of serious competitors—namely, the Ford Falcon, Chrysler Valiant, and Japanese cars—in the 1960s, Holden's locally produced large six- and eight-cylinder cars remained Australia's top-selling vehicles. Sales were boosted by exporting the Kingswood sedan, station wagon, and utility body styles to places such as Indonesia, Trinidad and Tobago, and South Africa in complete knock down form. [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part One), p. 31]


In 1970, Holden transformed the Woodville, South Australia, factory into an AU$16.5 million "Tri-Matic" automatic transmission plant. The new three-speed transmission debuted in the HG series. [Wright (1998), p. 194] The following year, Holden launched the new HQ series.Strauss (1998), p. 11] At this time, the company was producing all of its passenger cars in Australia, and every model was of Australian design; however, by the end of the decade, Holden was producing cars based on overseas designs. The HQ was thoroughly re-engineered, featuring a perimeter frame and semi-monocoque (unibody) construction. Other firsts included an all-coil suspension and an extended wheelbase for station wagons, while the utilities and panel vans retained the traditional coil/leaf suspension configuration. [cite web | date = 1998-10-26 | url = http://www.autoweb.com.au/A_50813/cms/newsarticle.html | title = Golden Holden Oldies - Stars of the Seventies | work = AutoWeb | publisher = Web Publications | accessdate = 2008-03-05] The series included the new prestige Statesman brand, which also had a longer wheelbase replacing the Brougham. [cite web | url = http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story2/0BF19BA5E77986D6CA256D2100149EA4 | title = Car review - Holden Statesman V6 sedan | work = GoAuto | publisher = John Mellor | accessdate = 2008-03-05] The Statesman remains noteworthy because it was not marketed as a "Holden", but rather a "Statesman"; [cite journal | last = Luck | first = Rob | month = September | year = 1971 | title = Bold New Breed | journal = Modern Motor | pages = 62 | publisher = Modern Magazines (Holdings)] this model was also exported as a Chevrolet to foreign markets. The HQ framework led to a new generation of two-door Monaros, and, despite the introduction of the similar sized competitors, the HQ range became the top-selling Holden of all time, with 485,650 units sold in three years. [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part Two), p. 67–68] The HQ series was uplifted in 1974 with the introduction of the HJ, heralding new front panel styling and a revised rear fascia. [Wright (1998), p. 226] This new bodywork was to remain, albeit with minor upgrades through the HX and HZ series. [Wright (1998), p. 340–341] Detuned engines adhering to government emission standards were brought in with the HX series, whilst the HZ brought considerably improved road handling and comfort with the introduction of "Radial Tuned Suspension" (RTS). [Wright (1998), p. 239–241]

During this decade, development of the Torana continued with the larger mid-sized LH series released in 1974, offered only as a four-door sedanWright (1998), p. 340] , setting the body shape for the remainder of the series life. The LH Torana was one of the few cars worldwide engineered to occupy four-, six-and eight-cylinder engines. [Wright (1998), p. 198] This trend continued until Holden introduced the Sunbird in 1976; essentially the four-cylinder Torana with a new name. Designated LX, both the Sunbird and Torana introduced a three-door hatchback variant. [Wright (1998), p. 244] During its production run, the Torana achieved legendary racing success in Australia, achieving victories at the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, New South Wales. [cite web | date = 1998-11-04 | url = http://www.autoweb.com.au/A_50858/cms/newsarticle.html | title = Golden Holden Oldies - The Holden Torana (1967-78) - A Bathurst Legacy | work = AutoWeb | publisher = Web Publications | accessdate = 2008-06-09]

In 1975, Holden introduced the compact Gemini, the Australian version of the "T-Car", based on the Opel Kadett C. The Gemini was an overseas design developed jointly with Isuzu, GM's Japanese affiliate; and was powered by a 1.6 litre four-cylinder engine. [cite web | url = http://www.uniquecarsandparts.com.au/car_info_holden_gemini_tx.htm | title = Holden Gemini TX | publisher = Unique Cars and Parts | accessdate = 2008-08-23] Fast becoming a popular car, the Gemini rapidly attained sales leadership in its class, and the nameplate lived on until 1987. [cite web | url = http://www.uniquecarsandparts.com.au/car_info_holden_gemini_rb.htm | title = Holden Gemini RB | publisher = Unique Cars and Parts | accessdate = 2008-08-23]

Holden's most popular car to date, the Commodore, was introduced in 1978 as the VB. [Tuckey (1999), p. 27] The new family car was loosely based on the Opel Rekord E body shell, but with the front from the Opel Senator grafted to accommodate the larger Holden six-cylinder and V8 engines. Initially, the Commodore maintained Holden's sales leadership in Australia. [Tuckey (1999), p. 33] However, some of the compromises resulting from the adoption of a design intended for another market hampered the car's acceptance. In particular, it was narrower than its predecessor and its Falcon rival, making it less comfortable for three rear-seat passengers.Robinson (2006), p. 23, 26–27]

Holden discontinued the Torana in 1979 and the Sunbird in 1980. After the 1978 introduction of the Commodore, the Torana became the "in-between" car, surrounded by the smaller and more economical Gemini and the larger, more sophisticated Commodore. The closest successor to the Torana was the Camira, released in 1982 as Australia's version of GM's medium-sized "J-Car".Robinson (2006), p. 24]


The 1980s were challenging for Holden and the Australian car industry. The Australian Government tried to revive the industry with the Button car plan, which encouraged car makers to focus on producing fewer models at higher, more economical volumes, and to export cars. [Wright (1998), p. 277] The decade opened with the shut-down of the Pagewood, New South Wales production plant and introduction of the light commercial Rodeo, sourced from Isuzu in Japan. The Rodeo was available in both two- and four-wheel drive chassis cab models with a choice of petrol and diesel powerplants. [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part Two), p. 82] The range was updated in 1988 with the TF series, based on the Isuzu TF.

Holden introduced the new WB series utilities, panel vans and limousines in 1980. However, the design, based on the HQ and updated HJ, HX and HZ models from the 1970s could not compete with similar models in Ford's lineup. Thus, Holden abandoned those vehicle classes all together in 1984. Sales of the Commodore also fell, with the effects of the 1979 energy crisis lessening, and for the first time the Commodore lost ground to the Ford Falcon. Sales in other segments also suffered when competition from Ford intensified, and other Australian manufacturers: Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota gained market share. [cite web | last = Kenwright | first = Joe | date = 2006-07-29 | url = http://editorial.carsales.com.au/car-review/1916079.aspx | title = Crossing the Lion | publisher = carsales.com.au | accessdate = 2007-06-16] When released in 1982, the Camira initially generated good sales, which later declined because buyers considered the 1.6 litre engine underpowered, and the car's build and ride quality below-average. The Camira lasted just seven years, and contributed to Holden's accumulated losses of over AU$500 million by the mid-1980s. [Robinson (2006), p. 26]

In 1984 Holden introduced the VK Commodore, with significant styling changes from the previous VH. The Commodore was next updated in 1986 as the VL, which had new front and rear styling. [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part Two), p. 89–94] Controversially, the VL was powered by the 3.0 litre Nissan "RB30" six-cylinder engine and had an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission. The engine change was necessitated by the legal requirement that all new cars sold in Australia after 1986 had to consume unleaded petrol. [cite web | date = 2007-06-21 | url = http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/environmental_management/air/caring_for_our_air/ | title = Caring for our air | publisher = State of Queensland | accessdate = 2008-08-23] Because it was unfeasible to convert the existing six-cylinder engine to run on unleaded fuel, the Nissan engine was chosen as the best engine available. However, changing exchange rates caused the cost of the engine and transmission to double over the life of the VL. [Robinson (2006), p. 25] The decision to opt for a Japanese-made transmission led to the closure of the Woodville, South Australia assembly plant. This came after Holden reorganised and recapitalised the business in 1985; separating the engine and car manufacturing divisions in the process.Robinson (2006), p. 27] For the most part, car bodies were now manufactured at Elizabeth, South Australia, with engines confined to a single plant in Port Melbourne, Victoria. The engine manufacturing business was successful, building four-cylinder "Family II" engines for use in cars built overseas. [cite web | date = 2004-11-09 | url = http://www.autoweb.com.au/A_103082/cms/newsarticle.html | title = Holden Reaches Golden Milestone With 50 Years Of Exports | work = AutoWeb | publisher = Web Publications | accessdate = 2008-08-23] Confident by the apparent sign of turnaround, General Motors paid off Holden's mounted losses of AU$780 million on 19 December 1986. The final phase of the Commodore's recovery strategy involved the 1988 VN, a significantly wider model powered by the American-designed 3.8 litre Buick V6 engine.

Holden began to sell the subcompact Suzuki Swift-based Barina in 1985. [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part Two), p. 91] In the same year, Nissan Pulsar hatchbacks were rebadged as the Holden Astra, as a result of a deal with Nissan. [Earl (2002), p. 29] This arrangement ceased in 1988 when Holden entered a new alliance with Toyota, forming a new company: United Australian Automobile Industries (UAAI). UAAI resulted in Holden selling rebadged versions of Toyota's Corolla and Camry, as the Holden Nova and Apollo respectively, with Toyota re-branding the Commodore as the Toyota Lexcen. [Earl (2002), p. 27–28]


The company changed throughout the 1990s, increasing its Australian market share from 21 percent in 1991 to 28.2 percent in 1999.cite web | url = http://media.gm.com/aus/holden/en/company/finance/fin_sales_share_ARCHIVE.html | title = Sales and Share of Australian Market Archive (1991-2002) | publisher = General Motors | accessdate = 2008-08-23] Besides manufacturing Australia's bestselling car, which was exported in significant numbers, Holden continued to export many locally produced engines to power cars made elsewhere. In this decade, Holden adopted a strategy of importing cars it needed to offer a full range of competitive vehicles. [cite web | url = http://www.gm.com/company/corp_info/global_operations/asia_pacific/aust.html | title = GM Global Operations: Australia | publisher = General Motors | archiveurl = http://web.archive.org/web/20070427004252/http://www.gm.com/company/corp_info/global_operations/asia_pacific/aust.html | archivedate = 2005-10-25]

On 26 April 1990 GM's New Zealand subsidiary, Holden New Zealand, announced that production at the assembly plant based in Trentham would be phased out and that vehicles would be imported duty-free. This came after the 1984 closure of the Petone assembly line due to low output volumes. [cite web | url = http://www.holden.co.nz/heart/heritage/ | title = Heart of Holden - Holden Heritage | publisher = Holden New Zealand | accessdate = 2008-08-23] During the 1990s Holden, other Australian automakers and trade unionists pressured the Australian Government to halt the lowering of car import tariffs. By 1997, the federal government had already cut tariffs to 22.5 percent from 57.5 percent ten years earlier, and by 2000 were planning to reduce this even further down to 15 percent. Holden was critical, saying that Australia's population was not large enough, and that the changes could tarnish the local industry. [cite web | last = Richardson | first = Michael | date = 1997-04-24 | url = http://www.iht.com/articles/1997/04/24/cars.t_0.php | title = Automakers Say Cuts in Duties Would Maim Industry : Tussle on Tariffs in Australia | work = International Herald Tribune | publisher = The New York Times Company | accessdate = 2008-08-23]

Holden re-introduced its defunct Statesman name in 1990, this time under the Holden marque, as the Statesman and Caprice. For 1991, Holden updated the Statesman and Caprice with a range of improvements, including the introduction of four-wheel anti-lock brakes, [Wright (1998), p. 343] although a rear-wheel system had been standard on the Statesman Caprice from March 1976. This feature was added to short-wheelbase Commodore range in 1992. [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part Two), p. 103–104] Another returning variant was the full-size utility, this time based on the Commodore. [Robinson (2006), p. 26–27] The VN Commodore received a major facelift in 1993 with the VR. Compared to the VN, approximately 80 percent of car was new. Exterior changes brought an overall smoother body and a "twin-kidney" grille—a Commodore styling trait which remained until the 2002 VY model. [cite web | last = Smith | first = Graham | date = 2002-09-06 | url = http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,20384,5037260-26236,00.html | title = 1993 Holden VR Commodore | work = Herald Sun | publisher = News Limited | accessdate = 2008-03-02] Holden introduced the all-new VT Commodore in 1997, the outcome of an AU$600 million development programme that spanned more than half a decade. The new model sported a rounded exterior body shell, improved dynamics, and many firsts for an Australian-built car. A stronger body structure increased crash safety. [McCarthy, McKay, Newton, Robinson (2006), p. 158] A revived Monaro, based on the VT Commodore, attracted world wide attention after being shown as a concept car at Australian auto shows, and it drew a large waiting list after production began. The revived Monaro was released to the Australian market in 2001 and ceased production in 2005. [cite web | date = 2005-07-21 | url = http://www.webwombat.com.au/motoring/news_reports/holden-monaro-cv8-z.htm | title = Holden Waves Goodbye to Monaro | publisher = WebWombat | accessdate = 2008-08-23] The Buick-sourced V6 engine, produced locally, powered the Commodore range, as did the auto L|5.0 V8 engine, replaced in 1999 by a auto L|5.7 unit. [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part Three), p. 11]

The UAAI badge-engineered cars first introduced in the 1980s sold poorly, but the Holden Commodore, Toyota Camry, and Corolla were all successful when sold under their original nameplates. [cite web | url = http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story2/60DB5F93CC0B207FCA256D21001310D6 | title = Car review - Holden Nova 5-dr hatch | work = GoAuto | publisher = John Mellor | accessdate = 2008-08-23] UAAI was dissolved in 1996, and Holden returned selling to GM products. This signalled the closure of the Dandenong, Victoria facility, the sole plant for Corolla and Nova production. [Wright (1998), p. 294] The Holden Astra and Vectra, both designed by Opel in Germany, replaced the Toyota-sourced Holden Nova and Apollo. This came after the 1994 introduction of the Opel Corsa replacing the already available Suzuki Swift as the source for the Holden Barina. [cite web | url = http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story2/D928D7E37EE64519CA256D210003F9D7 | title = Car review - Holden Barina Swing 5-dr hatch | work = GoAuto | publisher = John Mellor | accessdate = 2008-08-23] Assembly of Vectra began at Elizabeth, South Australia in 1998, and these cars were exported to Japan and Southeast Asia with Opel badges.cite web | date = 1999-09-08 | url = http://www.autoweb.com.au/A_51613/cms/newsarticle.html | title = Holden Announces Next Stage Of $1 Billion Export Drive | work = AutoWeb | publisher = Web Publications | accessdate = 2008-08-23] [Davis, Kennedy, Kennedy (Part One), p. 34] However, the Vectra did not achieve sufficient sales in Australia to justify local assembly, and reverted to being fully imported in 2000. [cite web | last = Kennedy | first = Ewan | date = 2005-06-18 | url = http://www.marque.com.au/usedcars/050815_Holden_Vectra.htm | title = Holden Vectra 1997-2004 | publisher = Marque Publishing Company | accessdate = 2008-03-05]


Holden's market surge from the 1990s reversed in the 2000s. In Australia, Holden's market share dropped from 27.5 percent in 2000 to 15.2 percent in 2006. [cite web | url = http://media.gm.com/aus/holden/en/company/finance/fin_sales_share.html | title = Sales and Share of Australian Market (2003-Present) | publisher = General Motors | accessdate = 2008-08-23] From March 2003, Holden no longer held the number one sales position in Australia, losing ground to Toyota. [cite journal | month = May | year = 2003 | title = Number Crunching | journal = Wheels magazine | pages = 181 | publisher = ACP Magazines] This overall downturn affected Holden's profits; the company recorded a combined gain of AU$842.9 million between 2002 and 2004, and a loss of AU$290 million between 2005 and 2006. [cite web | date = 2007-06-18 | url = http://www.caradvice.com.au/3250/holden-posts-146-million-loss/ | title = Holden Posts $146 Million Loss | publisher = CarAdvice.com.au | accessdate = 2008-08-23] Factors contributing to the loss included the development of an all-new model, the strong Australian dollar and the cost of reducing the workforce at the Elizabeth plant, including the loss of 1,400 jobs after the closure of the third-shift assembly line in 2005, after just two years in operation. [cite web | date = 2006-01-20 | url = http://www.theage.com.au/news/Business/Mitsubishi-to-cut-250-jobs-says-union/2006/01/20/1137553752787.html | title = Mitsubishi to cut more jobs | work = The Age | publisher = Fairfax Media | accessdate = 2008-08-23] Holden fared better in 2007, posting an AU$6 million loss. [cite web | last = Pettendy | first = Marton | date = 2008-07-30 | url = http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story2/D0F21ACCD85E4C94CA25749500261F3B | title = GM Holden posts a $6 million loss for 2007 as domestic and export sales slow | work = GoAuto | publisher = John Mellor | accessdate = 2008-07-30] Holden caused controversy in 2005 with their [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L19CaoXBCaE Holden Employee Pricing] television advertisement, which ran between October and December 2005. The campaign publicised that "For the first time ever, all Australians can enjoy the financial benefit of Holden Employee Pricing". However, this did not include a discounted dealer delivery fee and savings on factory fitted options and accessories that employees received. At the same time, employees were given a further discount between 25 and 29 percent on selected models. [cite web | date = 2006-04-19 | url = http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/732368/fromItemId/2332 | title = Holden employee pricing backfires | publisher = Australian Competition and Consumer Commission | accessdate = 2008-01-28]

The VT Commodore received its first major update in 2002 with the VY series. A mildly facelifted VZ model launched in 2004, introducing the GM "High Feature" engine. [McCarthy, McKay, Newton, Robinson (2006), p. 159] This was built at the Port Melbourne, Victoria facility completed in 2003, with a maximum output 900 engines per day. This has reportedly added AU$5.2 billion to the Australian economy; exports account for about AU$450 million alone. [cite web | date = 2003-11-05 | url = http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/newsroom/news_item_archive.asp?id=323 | archiveurl = http://web.archive.org/web/20040106180213/http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/newzsroom/news_item_archive.asp?id=323 | archivedate = 2004-01-06 | title = Premier Opens New Holden Engine Plant | publisher = State of Victoria] After the VZ, the "High Feature" engine powered the all-new VE Commodore. In contrast to previous models, the VE no longer utilises an Opel-sourced platform adapted both mechanically and in size. [Robinson (2006), p. 34–35, 55–56] Throughout the 1990s, Opel had also been the source of many Holden models. To increase profitability, Holden looked to the South Korean Daewoo brand for replacements after acquiring a 44.6 percent stake in the company in 2002. [cite web | date = 2005-02-01 | url = http://www.drive.com.au/Editorial/ArticleDetail.aspx?ArticleID=9144&vf=1 | title = Spanner in the works | work = The Sun-Herald | publisher = Fairfax Media | accessdate = 2008-08-23] The first of such models, the Barina was replaced by the Daewoo Kalos in 2005, still under the Barina nameplate. [cite journal | last = Carey | first = John | month = November | year = 2005 | title = Holden Barina: Korea-built mini goes large on value | journal = Wheels magazine | pages = 131 | publisher = ACP Magazines] The following year, the Viva, based on the Daewoo Lacetti, replaced the entry-level Holden Astra Classic, although a new Astra came about in 2004. [cite journal | last = Carey | first = John | month = November | year = 2005 | title = Holden Viva: Better than when it was a Daewoo. Just | journal = Wheels magazine | pages = 128–129 | publisher = ACP Magazines] The Captiva crossover SUV came next in 2006. After discontinuing the Frontera and Jackaroo models in 2003, Holden was only left with one all-wheel drive model: the Adventra, a Commodore-based station wagon. [cite journal | last = Ponchard | first = Nathan | month = November | year = 2006 | url = http://www.wheelsmag.com.au/wheels/site/articleIDs/5AF5DC88746CD7A0CA25725900163A60?open&template=domWheels | title = At last, Holden finds a Seoul mate | journal = Wheels magazine | pages = 106–112 | publisher = ACP Magazines | accessdate = 2008-08-23] The fourth model to be replaced with a South Korean alternative was the Vectra, by the mid-size Epica in 2007. [cite journal | last = Newton | first = Bruce | month = June | year = 2007 | title = Sneer Miss | journal = Wheels magazine | pages = 104–108 | publisher = ACP Magazines] As a result of the split between GM and Isuzu, Holden in 2008 lost of the naming rights to the "Rodeo" nameplate. Consequently, the Holden Rodeo was facelifted and sold as the Holden Colorado. [cite web | last = Stanford | first = James | date = 2008-07-01 | url = http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story2/FEF201F0B47FC07FCA2574790020E81C | title = Colorado cuts loose | work = GoAuto | publisher = John Mellor | accessdate = 2008-07-04]

Vehicle lineup

Corporate affairs and identity

As of 2008, chairman and managing director Mark Reuss heads operations at Holden. Executives of secondary departments include William Lesner, Alison Terry, Ian McCleave, Tony Hyde, Tony Stolfo, Alan Batey, Rodney Keane, Scott Sandefur, Pierre Matthee, Gene Stefanyshyn, Raymundo Garza, Mark Bernhard, and Fiona Harden. Vehicles are sold countrywide through the Holden Dealer Network (310 authorised stores and 12 service centres), which employs more than 13,500 people.

Since the 1960s, Holden models have been a staple of domestic touring car racing, and the quasi-factory Holden Racing Team (HRT) has successfully participated in V8 Supercar racing. [cite web | url = http://www.hsv.com.au/racing/2004/history/history.htm | title = Holden Racing Team History | publisher = Holden Special Vehicles | archiveurl = http://web.archive.org/web/20060823045603/http://www.hsv.com.au/racing/2004/history/history.htm | archivedate = 2006-08-23] In 1987, Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) was formed in partnership with Tom Walkinshaw, who primarily manufactures modified, high-performance Commodore variants. [cite web | url = http://www.hsv.com.au/studentpack/spackhistory.htm | title = HSV History & Background | publisher = Holden Special Vehicles | archiveurl = http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.hsv.com.au/studentpack/spackhistory.htm | archivedate = 2005-07-22] To further reinforce the brand, HSV introduced the HSV Dealer Team into the V8 Supercar fold in 2005 under the naming rights of HSV Toll Racing. [cite web | date = 2005-11-21 | url = http://www.hsvdt.com.au/hsvdt_new/2006/news/toll_hsvdt_release.asp | title = Toll and HSV Dealer Team confirm V8 Supercar alliance | publisher = HSV Dealer Team | accessdate = 2008-02-20]

The logo, or "Holden lion and stone" as it is known, has played a vital role in establishing Holden's identity. In 1928, Holden's Motor Body Builders appointed Rayner Hoff to design the emblem. The logo refers to a prehistoric fable, in which observations of lions rolling stones led to the invention of the wheel. With the 1948 launch of the 48-215, Holden revised its logo and commissioned another redesign in 1972 to better represent the company. [cite journal | last = Wright | first = John | month = May | year = 2004 | title = Badgeology | journal = Wheels magazine | pages = 152 | publisher = ACP Magazines] The emblem was reworked once more in 1994. [cite web | url = http://www.holden.com.au/www-holden/jsp/corporateinfo/history/history.jsp?link=symbol | title = The Story of the Holden Lion | publisher = GM Holden | archiveurl = http://web.archive.org/web/20080208222349/http://www.holden.com.au/www-holden/jsp/corporateinfo/history/history.jsp?link=symbol | archivedate = 2008-02-08]


Holden began to export vehicles in 1954, sending the FJ to New Zealand. [Tuckey (2003), p. 120] Exports to New Zealand have continued ever since, but to broaden their export potential, Holden began to cater their Commodore, Monaro and Statesman models for both right- and left-hand drive markets. The Middle East is now Holden's largest export market, with the Commodore sold as the Chevrolet Lumina since 1998, and the Statesman since 1999 as the Chevrolet Caprice. Commodores are also sold as the Chevrolet Lumina in Brunei, Fiji and South Africa, to Brazil as the Chevrolet Omega and to North America as the Pontiac G8. [cite web | url = http://www.holden.com.au/www-holden/jsp/corporateinfo/exports/exports.jsp?link=vehicle | title = Vehicle Exports | publisher = GM Holden | accessdate = 2008-08-23] The long-wheelbase Statesman model was sold previously in China as the Buick Royaum, before being replaced by the Statesman-based Buick Park Avenue. [cite web | last = Pettendy | first = Marton | date = 2007-04-11 | url = http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story/FFABEC624C07CD29CA2572BA001E9522?OpenDocument&Highlight=2,buick | title = Holden's Chinese Buick | work = GoAuto | publisher = John Mellor | accessdate = 2008-03-03] Beginning in 2005, Statesman exports began in South Korea, sold as the Daewoo Statesman, and later as the Daewoo L4X. [cite web | last = Martin | first = Terry | date = 2007-04-11 | url = http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story/6780E3E2496BF0FACA2572BA000D440E?OpenDocument&Highlight=2,buick | title = Seoul mates | work = GoAuto | publisher = John Mellor | accessdate = 2008-03-03] Sales of the Monaro began in 2003 to the Middle East as the Chevrolet Lumina Coupe. Later on in the year, a modified version of the Monaro began selling in North America as the Pontiac GTO, and under the Monaro name through Vauxhall dealerships in the United Kingdom. This arrangement continued through to 2005 when the car was discontinued. [cite web | date = 2006-02-01 | url = http://www.worldcarfans.com/2060201.003/very-last-holden-monaro-up-for-auction | title = Very Last Holden Monaro Up For Auction | work = WorldCarFans.com | publisher = Black Falcon Media Group Oy | accessdate = 2008-03-03] Holden's move into international markets has been profitable; export revenue increased from AU$973 million in 1999 to just under $1.3 billion in 2006. [cite web | url = http://media.gm.com/aus/holden/en/company/finance/fin_results.html | title = Financial Results 1998 - 2003 | publisher = General Motors | accessdate = 2008-08-23] [cite web | url = http://www.holden.com.au/www-holden/jsp/corporateinfo/exports/exports.jsp?link=vehicle | title = Vehicle Exports | publisher = GM Holden | accessdate = 2008-08-23]



** [http://media.gm.com/aus/holden/en/company/history/HH13Part1.pdf Part One] , [http://media.gm.com/aus/holden/en/company/history/HH13Part2.pdf Part Two] , [http://media.gm.com/aus/holden/en/company/history/HH13Part3.pdf Part Three] (PDF).

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