Holden Motors Departure From Australia A Sad Chapter In A Great Automotive Tradition

By George Polgar

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The wild and sprawling Australian island continent is the setting for a great automotive drama, as Holden, an Australian former saddle maker turned auto body supplier, and a General Motors company since 1931, is on the verge of being uprooted to the GM international operations HQ in Shanghai.

Despite GM’s “build where we sell” policy, sluggish car sales in Australia have forced a showdown over a government subsidy program for Holden to maintain its current plan for manufacturing there through 2020. The Australian GM brand follows Toyota and Ford in shutting down operations there over the last two years.

Evolving over nearly 90 years with distinctly pure bloodlines, Holdens have become indelibly imbued with an Australian character of toughness and power.

A Holden Monaro arriving in the US in 2004 was underappreciated but exhilarating as a 400 horsepower V8 powered Pontiac GTO. A Holden Commodore badged as a high-performance Pontiac G8 expired with the division back in 2010, but came back as the highly acclaimed Chevrolet SS in 2013.

And though GM can lay claim to the Holden heritage, cars like the Holden Commodore owe as much to a 2003 BMW M5 which it emulated with uncanny performance and driving dynamics similarities.

Sadly, unrelated to the current Holden drama in Australia, the Chevrolet SS has also been discontinued, here in the US despite the fact that in some ways the Australians make muscle cars better than Americans!

2017 Chevrolet SS Specs
MSRP: From $46,625
Horsepower: 415 hp
MPG: 14 city / 22 highway
Curb weight: 3,997 lbs
Dimensions: 196″ L x 75″ W x 58″ H

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