A private ceremony for employees was held to mark Holden’s proud manufacturing history and pay tribute to the generations of hard-working men and women who literally built the Holden legend.
From the very first Holden 48-215 to roll off the Fishermans Bend production line on 29th November 1948, to the final VFII Commodore Redline to come out of the Elizabeth factory on 20th October 2017, Holden has been a part of the fabric of Australia and that’s an honoured position that the Lion brand is committed to keeping for many years to come.
Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Bernhard, said: “Treating our people with dignity and respect was always our number one priority during this transition and we’re all proud we were able to achieve that, we see it as recognition of their dedicated service over the years. With 85 per cent of all workers to date successfully transitioning, we’ve worked closely with our people to support them. Holden also appreciates the partnership and assistance of the state and federal governments, along with the unions, over many years.”
“Right after supporting our people comes ensuring we set Holden up for success for many years to come. The best way we can honour our people and our heritage is by building a successful future and that’s exactly what we’ll be focused on when Monday rolls around. Today [20th October], however, is about paying tribute to the generations of men and women across Holden and our supply network who have given so much to our company. Holden is the icon it is today only because of these passionate people. On behalf of everyone at Holden, I thank you for your service from the bottom of my heart,” said Mr Bernhard.
Holden’s award-winning employee transition centre will remain open on the Elizabeth site for at least two years’ post factory-closure to ensure all Holden and supply chain employees have the best possible chance to successfully transition. Holden’s Executive Director of Manufacturing, Richard Phillips, paid tribute to the people and achievements of the Elizabeth plant: “The passion and dedication of the team here is second to none, it has been an honour to work alongside them. In the final years of production, we have been building categorically the best-quality cars to ever roll out of this plant, and our last car was our best. Together we achieved a string of productivity and quality awards in recent times, doing so during the closure period is testament to the skills, professionalism and dedication of the team.”
Looking to the future, Holden will remain a diversified business and a powerhouse of the Australian automotive industry for many years to come. Employing approximately 1,000 direct employees in Melbourne and across national zone offices, in addition to the nearly 6,000 people employed across Holden’s 200-strong national dealer network. Holden will also retain its highly-skilled Design and Engineering teams, working on local and global vehicle and transportation programs, including retention of the famous Lang Lang vehicle proving ground near Melbourne in Victoria where Holden vehicles will continue to be tuned and tested for Australian conditions and customers.
Holden will launch 24 major vehicles and 36 new drivetrain combinations by 2020 and develop a world-class and diverse SUV line-up, including the all-new Equinox and the all-new Acadia SUV in 2018. Holden is also taking a leadership position with next-generation mobility technology through Maven and OnStar, and an ability to capitalise on GM’s leadership in electric vehicles and autonomous driving technology.
All of this will ensure Holden’s customers are continued to be looked after and all warranty and spare parts needs continue to be met as they always have been.