The end of Holden in Australia

A timeline of Holden’s rise and fall.

  • 1856: Holden starts as a saddlery business in Adelaide.
  • 1908: Holden expands its operations into vehicle upholstery.
  • 1917: Holden begins manufacturing vehicle bodies.
  • 1924: General Motors signs a contract with Holden to build local bodies for its vehicles.
  • 1928: The famous lion and stone logo is created.
  • 1931: General Motors buys Holden Motor Body Builders.
  • 1948: The FX, the first Australian-designed Holden, is released.

Peter Brock with blue 1985 Holden Commodore

  • 1951: Holden releases its first ute for sale.
  • 1953: The now-iconic FJ Holden goes on sale (price at the time from $2046).
  • 1958: The South Australian Holden manufacturing plant opens in Elizabeth.
  • 1963: The Holden EH goes into production and becomes the biggest selling Holden to date.
  • 1968: The Monaro and Kingswood enter the market for the first time.
  • 1969: Holden builds its first V8 engine.
  • 1971: Holden launches its HQ model. The HQ became the biggest-selling model of all time with 485,650 made from 1971 to 1974.

  • 1978: The Holden Commodore is released and replaces the Kingswood model.
  • 1990: Holden’s last Australian boss, John Bagshaw, quits.
  • 1996: The Holden Commodore starts its 15-year run as Australia’s favourite car.
  • 1997: The new-generation VT Commodore is released and becomes a local favourite with 303,895 built from 1997 to 2000.
  • 1998: Holden stuns the automotive industry when it unveils a two-door Commodore concept car at the Sydney Motor Show which is dubbed the Monaro.
  • 2001: The new Holden Monaro goes on sale. The vehicle proves popular in the United States with left-hand-drive versions imported and used as a Pontiac GTO.
  • 2003: Holden opens a $400 million V6 engine plant in Melbourne and begins exporting to Korea, China and Mexico.

Classic Holden car

  • 2003: Toyota overtakes Holden as Australia’s top-selling car manufacturer.
  • 2004-05: Holden exports 31,500 Monaro’s to the United States as Pontiac GTO’s.
  • 2006: Holden launches its “billion-dollar baby”, the VE Commodore sedan and WM Caprice limousine.
  • 2007-09: More than 41,000 Commodores are exported to North America as Pontiac Sedans.
  • 2009: Parent company, General Motors files for bankruptcy during the Global Financial Crisis but survives.
  • 2011: The Holden Cruze goes into production after originally being imported from South Korea since 2009.
  • 2012: Holden begins exporting the Caprice limousine to the US as a police vehicle.

Two white Holden Colorado LSX vehicles near lake

  • 2013: Prime Minister Tony Abbot announces reduced governmental support for automotive manufacturers.
  • 2013: Holden decides to end its Australian manufacturing by 2017.
  • 2016: Holden shuts its Port Melbourne engine plant which produced more than 10 million engines since 1948.
  • 2017: The last Holden rolls off the assembly line on October 20.
  • 2018: Holden introduces the Acadia SUV, a seven-seater imported from the US. Less than 4000 Acadia’s have been sold since it went on sale.
  • 2019: General Motors announces it will discontinue all Commodore and Astra models by 2020.
  • 17 February 2020: General Motors announces the retirement of the Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand.

Various Holden vehicles in front of a rural house