SYDNEY – The factory of General Motors’ subsidiary Holden shut down on Friday in Adelaide, leaving Australia without any domestic automotive production.
“I feel very sad as we all do. It’s the end of an era. You can’t get away from the emotional response to the closure,” Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on 3AW radio in reference to the Australian brand.
Holden, which has produced more than 7.5 million cars since 1948, ceased car production, risking the loss of 2,500 jobs in the company and its supply network, according to the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union.
“When those doors close at Holden, the car industry will close forever,” the union’s state secretary John Camillo said in a statement quoted by the local news agency AAP.
Holden’s communications director Sean Poppitt said that the company is “celebrating with Australia, not commiserating.”
The Adelaide plant, which had about 950 workers before its closure, opened in 1963 and during its boom period between 2003-2005, produced 750 cars per day, including the VY Commodore, Adventra, Crewman, Caprice and Statesman models.
Holden is the last automobile manufacturer to shut down in Australia after Toyota did the same earlier in October and Ford in 2016.
The Australian automotive industry attributed the closures to the appreciation of the Australian dollar as well as the rising costs of production and high tariffs that affect automobile exports from Australia.