Now that our Car Manufacturing is gone whats left? Chinese Cars Nooooo!
Yah Forced Free Trade Agreement (can’t wait til they’re driverless…ugh!) – Mick Raven
Or Indian Cars! – Mick Raven
Football, Meat Pies , Kangaroos and NO CARS….
Holden closure: End of local Cruze production ‘beginning of the end’ for car maker in Australia
Photo: Holden will wind up car production in Australia next year. (AAP: Eric Sands)
The end of the Holden Cruze is not the end of Australian-made Holdens.
That comes next year, when Commodore production ends.
But today is the beginning of that end.
When it’s finally done, for the first time in its history, the famous lion badge will be pinned exclusively on imported cars.
Curiously, the Cruze started out life in Australia as an import, from General Motors’ Korean arm, Daewoo.
The decision to make the Cruze locally was tied up with the global financial crisis.
In its aftermath, Holden’s parent company GM, the company that had once boasted
that what is good for GM is good for America, needed a vast government bailout.
Former SA treasurer Kevin Foley said there were real fears Holden was destined for the basket of
GM’s underperforming assets, slated for closure or sale.
Then premier of SA, Mike Rann, hopped on a plane to Detroit and talked up the possibility of an electric
version of the Cruze being built in Australia.
The federal government eventually kicked in $150 million from the defunct green car fund to establish a second car line —
the Cruze — alongside the Commodore, keeping production at Elizabeth viable.
Cruze production brought hope for workers
On the eve of local production, Holden chief Mike Devereaux spoke to the ABC about his expectations of the model.
“[Cruze] was the number five selling car in Australia in September  and we are very optimistic
about its fortunes as a locally produced vehicle,” he said.
In a tradition stretching back to 1948 with the first Holden and Ben Chifley,
the prime minister was on hand when the first Cruze came off the Elizabeth line on February 28, 2011.
As Julia Gillard gingerly drove off in the red car, two workers told the ABC what the day meant to them.
“I don’t have to stress where my wages are coming from. I can buy a house with confidence, repaying the mortgage isn’t going to be laying awake at night wondering if I’ve got a job or not,” one Holden employee said.
Another said: “I feel happy, I feel exhilarated, I feel hopeful.”
Holden said 270 workers would now lose their jobs after the end of the Cruze, staggered over the coming months.
A barbecue is planned for Cruze workers later today, no doubt part celebration, part wake.
There are many reasons why we are witnessing the twilight of local car making.
‘Our tastes have changed’
It’s worth remembering, these are big businesses, with their headquarters overseas.
There are questions about the economies of scale in Australia.
There are, of course, questions for government.
There’s our geographic location.
But there’s also the Australian consumer — us.
Big six-cylinder and V8 sedans, the Commodore and Falcon, hold a special place in the national mythology,
but it’s been a long time since they were private buyers’ first choice.
The dollars go to cars like Toyota Corollas, Mazda 3s, and Hyundai i30s, as well as any number of SUVs.
We’ve changed in our tastes, our outlooks, and perhaps even our expectations of what should be made in this country.
Just how much can be seen in this Holden ad from 1962.