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David Gore
Username: david_gore

Post Number: 3588
Registered: 04-2003
Posted on Wednesday, 19 February, 2020 - 19:54:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Vladimir has submitted his perspective on the recent announcement by GM that they are withdrawing the Holden brand completely from the Australian market and are, with a few exceptions, ceasing production of RHD vehicles world-wide.

I add my comment that GM with this decision have obviously overlooked the lessons learnt by Ford in 1960-1965 when they launched the new US Falcon in Australia and immediately encountered massive problems with the cars literally falling to pieces within 18 months on our roads. The Falcon XP range launched in 1965 finally proved robust enough for Australian conditions and the XR "Mustang-inspired" model released in 1966 became a strong competitor for Holden who released their new HD model in 1966 to compete with the Falcon XR - the Holden HD quickly earned the nickname "Holden Destruction" for the effect it had on the previously unchallenged Holden reputation. The next model carried the designation HR and quickly earned the nickname "Holden Resurrection". Vladimir's assessment of the GM decision to withdraw the Holden brand by the end of 2020 follows:

"It's been announced that no more Holden's will be built.

And that's a good thing.

GM USA took the Aussies for total mugs from the release of the first Holden in 1948. The first Holden 48-215 aka the FX was created and tested in Detroit before three of these hideous cars were shipped to Australia.

They had virtually no brakes, and handled like a bag of rotten potatoes. Their appearance was quaintly ugly. Comfortable as a tent in a fly infested desert with no air-conditioning, no power brakes, no power windows, no power steering etc. In fact they registered subzero on the comfort scale bordering on torture with most fitted with sticky smelly vinyl seats producing a lake of slippery sweat under all bums and legs for any occupants.

The engines were trash and used a fibre timing gear prone to stripping along with a tappet cover and side plate which leaked oil no matter what you did with them.

The 3 speed manual gearbox was also a mongrel with no synchromesh on first. The dashboard was steel with bits of diecast (think permanent facial disfigurement) and along with no seat belts and a steering column built to impale you together a body that was far off the ground with skinny tyres. These cars had all the safety of swimming with large hungry crocodiles or juggling deadly funnel web spiders and maybe blue ringed octopi.

The emblem was a lion but I suppose that beats having a kangaroo or a blowfly.

Holdens were deathtraps and Aussies loved them because in 1948 Australia was a totally different country. Workplaces were dangerous, workers underpaid, hotels were riddled with heavy drinking smoking and fistfights.

Swearing In front of females would result in a sound bashing and kiddies at school were routinely caned, strapped and slapped for crazy reasons. Even men's bicycles had bars for testicle crushing and any male caught riding a girl's bike would be set upon viciously whilst all immigrants even or especially the English got punched silly on a regular basis. Strangely, not standing up for the playing of the British Royalty film before the first feature at a cinema would result in your instant removal.

Everybody ate VEGEMITE.

Holden's propaganda was "Australia's Own Car" and "Designed and built in Australia for Australian Conditions"

While later models were designed in Australia the first Holdens were as American as Uncle Sam. And coming from GM USA they were right at the bottom of the pecking order with Cadillac at the top, Chevrolet at the bottom, with Holden in a subterranean area.

Holden's made from 1948 to approximately 1984 are all collectable now with the exception of Commodores (Certain exceptions to this exception are rare high-performance models ie Walkinshaw but in a body as solid as a beer can). The rest are either at the dump, or fast on the way to the dump or simply abandoned or driven by the desperate unwashed until they stop.

Holden's foray into the luxury car market was topped with the Holden Statesman Caprice which compared with Cadillac like chalk does to cheese and was always sub Chevrolet.

If you would have walked into any Australian hotel bar in 1948 and announced one day that most Australians would drive Japanese cars and our Holden's would one day be called Commodores that were originally German Opels you probably would have been shot dead.

Holden was pure snake oil from start to finish together with just under 2 billion dollars of free untaxed loot from Government subsidies."

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Larry Kavanagh
Frequent User
Username: shadow_11

Post Number: 574
Registered: 05-2016
Posted on Thursday, 20 February, 2020 - 12:15:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

I get the distinct impression that Vladimir is not an admirer of the Holden brand.
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Trevor Hodgekinson
Experienced User
Username: wm20

Post Number: 156
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Thursday, 20 February, 2020 - 15:16:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Probably not.

However all of the factories were subsidised to a sort of standard level.

Chrysler got the lions share , disproportionately large for their turn over because they were in SA where jobs were scarce. They pulled the plug & the plant became part of Mitsubishi and they regularly threatened to pull out to get bigger subsidies to stay here but eventually went under.

Ford has been getting subsidies despite that Ford actually ran at a profit.

On the subject of the HD the problem with them was the switch to deep drawing cross rolled steel which allowed the pressing of those sharp angled panels made form substantially thinner steel.

This was a new material to Australia and getting the best out of it took a long while. Ford sat back and just upped the HP of their engine to compensate for the substantially heavier bodies which were still made from the thicker fully annealed strait rolled steel which we knew exactly how to get the best from.

When Ford eventually went to cross rolled steel it was at least a decade latter ( XD ? ) from memory , a huge tank of a car that suffered all of the teething problems of the HD - HK range.

Then there was Ford's poor effort at a luxury variant, the Fairmont and even worse the Landau (XLD ?) a vehicle where the tyres were so wide & steering ratio so high, if the engine stopped while moving you could neither steer nor stop.

As previously mentioned, the killer was the politicians, not the car companies and the subsidising of wages rather the actual product which provided no incentives to produce a better vehicle more economically.

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