Holden brand axing: Dealerships, new owners thrown a lifeline

Holden dealerships and new owners are being given a lifeline after it was announced the iconic car brand is being shut-down. 

But that comes as little consolation to the hundreds of people who will lose their jobs and the thousands of fans that feel betrayed.

Steve Fabish is indisputably the country's biggest Holden fan. Who else could rival his 35-car collection that grew so large he opened a museum dedicated to them?

News on Monday that General Motors, the US owner of Holden, was shutting down production was heartbreaking for him. 

"I was absolutely devastated," Fabish told Newshub. "For a brand like Holden to just give up is unbelievable."

Holden was the victim of dwindling sales in what's considered a minor market, but killing off the brand that goes back 160 years - from dependable family transport to motor racing - has not gone down well.

"The world has changed and we're moving now to SUV's and electric vehicles and Holden didn't jump onto the bandwagon," motoring journalist Paul Maric said.

Blame is being laid directly at the car manufacturer's feet. 

"This is a classic case of bad management," motoring journalist Alan Dick told Newshub. "They tried to give us cars branded as Holdens which aren't Holdens at all."

In 2013 General Motors announced it would stop making them in Australia leading to thousands of job losses.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 11: Holden VE Ute SS-V is displayed at the 2007 Australian International Motor Show at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre on October 11, 2007 in Sydney, Australia. This year's show, which runs from today until October 21, 2007, features the Maserati GranTurismo, Mitsubishi Evo X, Lexus IS-F, BMW's Concept CS and the Toyota LandCruiser 200 series. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

"Once they weren't being made there they realised they weren't Aussie cars anymore and people weren't buying them," motoring commentator Neil Waka said.

That's a far cry from the iconic status they once held - particularly in Australia.

"I'm disappointed but not surprised, but I am angry like many Australians would be," Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

"Taxpayers put billions into this multi-national company and they let the brand just wither away on their watch." 

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo credit: Reuters

Holden is reassuring its 31 dealerships in New Zealand and its customers that it will honour all warranties and service agreements, and provide parts for the next 10 years. 

Fabish, however, said while the damage has been done, it doesn't tarnish the brand.

"Their legacy as far as I'm concerned will live on with us here in the museum."