What would Brocky think? Holden’s favourite son and folk hero, the late Peter Brock, would have been the ideal spokesman to express what the decision to end local production after 2017 means to the make’s loyal followers.
Leaving aside the enormous financial impact for workers and supplier companies, the decision ends a golden era of Australian social culture.
Brock at Bathurst, kelpies in farm utes, sex in the Sandman, Monaros, Toranas, humpys, Ted Bulpitt’s Kingswood, generations of families who would countenance nothing else in the driveway, migrants who built new lives and became true Aussies on the production lines at Elizabeth.
And we had pride, too, in the fact the Holden was built for us. It was designed for our roads, our families and our way of life. Not some foreigner’s idea of what was good for us.
Few makes anywhere in the world have had a richer relationship with their owners than Holden. Find me a fan with Nissan or Skoda tattooed across his back for life.
Whether or not it made the correct decision, Detroit has pulled the rug from under 65 years of tradition.
Holden cars, all imported, will continue to be sold here but the connection has been broken. Australians’ loyalty was to the Australian-designed and -built Holden and it will be no more.
From now on, the boast “always a Holden man” will be meaningless. After the demise of the Commodore, there will be no loyalty and Holdens will be judged by buyers purely on merit against their rivals.
Sure, most of the current Holden range of hatchbacks, sedans, wagons, utes and SUVs already comes from overseas, but Australians have bought them with an intrinsic understanding of what this company has been capable of and what it stood for, due to the history of the local product.
Gone, sunk ultimately because local manufacturing could not compete in a global market but helped by the fact bosses failed to respond to car buyers’ changing needs.
Holden (like Ford) will now have a massive job to maintain the special prominence it has enjoyed since the first 48-215 rolled off the line at Fisherman’s Bend.