Australia reluctantly said goodbye to its auto manufacturing industry as the last mass-
produced car designed and built in the country rolled off General Motors Co.’s production
line in Adelaide last week.
The last car to be built by GM Holden Ltd. came 70 years after it has built its first. It
was 1948 and the car was the FX Holden. GM Holden Ltd.is an Australian subsidiary of the
U.S.-based General Motors.
Along with Holden, other carmakers including Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Ford, Leyland, and
Chrysler have also closed their manufacturing plants in the country.
The last Holden vehicle that left the Adelaid plant in suburban Elizabeth was a gleaming
red Holden VF Commodore, a six-cylinder rear-wheel drive sedan. The Elizabeth plant
provided hundreds of jobs. As of the closure, there were 955 factory workers who signed off
for the last time.
“It’s pretty tragic really that we’ve let go probably one of the best cars around the
world,” Kane, an auto painter, told reporters.
The 36-year old Kane has worked for 17 years at Holden. He already has a new job lined up
with an air-conditioning manufacturer. He’s worried about other former Holden employees who
won’t be able to find a new job fast enough.It’s not just the direct workers for Holden
that are at risk; there’s also those jobs in businesses that supplied accessories and
components to auto manufacturers in the country.
During the closing of the Adelaide plant, dozens of Holden enthusiasts gathered outside and
brought Holdens old and new, with some dating back to models built between 1953 and 1956.
The brand itself hasn’t closed down, but Holden cars will be imported from GM plants
abroad. The company also retains its design and engineering staff, global design studio,
local testing ground, around 1,000 employees, and its national dealer network.
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