Everyone has a Holden story. Whether it’s beachside naps in the back of your Sandman or proudly sticking your P-plates on your third-hand VK Commodore, no doubt there’s a Holden car woven into your memory somewhere. For those in the Holden team, it’s no different, and this week we’re reflecting on how far we’ve come as we mark another milestone in the Holden story.
On 20 October, the last locally manufactured car will roll off the production line in our Elizabeth plant in Adelaide’s north. Long considered our home city, Adelaidians have had the ultimate vantage point from which they not only witnessed, but significantly contributed to, Holden’s evolution over the past 150 years.
We’ve always been a company dedicated to moving Australia forward. In 1856 we opened our doors as a saddlery, moving on to horse-drawn carriages, before converting to car-body building during World War I. We launched the FX and the FJ, the EH, Monaro, and of course, our beloved Commodore, winning the hearts and minds of a nation. We were the first to bring seat belts to Australia, the first with air bags and the first with anti-lock braking. We became ‘Australia’s car company’, reflecting the energy, innovation and attitude of the nation.
Perhaps the ultimate testimony to our impact on Australian culture was seen at the Holden Dream Cruise – our community event held on 15 October in which over 1000 mint-condition Holdens, representing every model made in Australia, cruised through the streets of north Adelaide. From the FX to the VFII (and even a gorgeous Chevrolet Roadster) it was a stunning tour through the decades of Holden innovation and engineering achievements. Holden fans came from far and wide, but there was no prouder group than our own team.
In the lead-up to our final production day in Elizabeth, the sense of pride among our manufacturing team has grown and grown. Since the decision was made in 2013, their mantra has been ‘our last car will be our best car’ and true to their word, the team achieved record quality and operation results right to the end – a standout plant in the GM world.
For many in the north of Adelaide, and certainly within the Holden team around Australia, the impact of our manufacturing arm closing will be significant. For those who made us what we are today, and those who will be staying on to shape our next chapter, the legacy of our manufacturing history will ring loud in our ears for years to come. It’s what will inspire us to keep earning our place as an Australian icon, and what will ensure we bring only the best of the best home to Australia.
Our support for the community that has given us so much will also continue. Our partnership with The Smith Family will fund 55 Learning for Life scholarships for students in northern Adelaide – that’s a scholarship for every year of Holden manufacturing at Elizabeth.
Images of the Holden Dream Cruise can be viewed here and for a journey through Holden’s history as well as a sneak peek of what’s in store, watch our video below.