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Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux says the iconic brand will remain a “great part of the automotive culture” long after the company stops building cars in Australia in 2017.

Amid rumours the Holden brand and famous lion logo could be replaced with General Motors’ global Chevrolet division and its bowtie badge from 2018, Devereux says the homegrown brand is here to stay.

“One thing people need to understand is Holden is not leaving Australia – Holden is committed to the auto industry in this country,” he insisted.

“What will happen is that Holden will become an importer of vehicles like most of our competitors. We still have over 230 dealers, we expect that we will be a thriving brand in this country for many years to come.”

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The outgoing boss – who will take up a senior role with GM’s consolidated international operations division in China from January before it relocates to Singapore in Q2 – says the Holden brand has enormous emotional value in Australia.

“I know in this country we have a unique place in being a brand that’s really only sold in Australia and New Zealand, so our brand has a lot more of an emotional connection to the country,” he said.

“We remain committed to being a great part of the automotive culture in this country with the Holden brand through our dealers for many, many years to come.”

With the exception of Holden’s Commodore-based products, every vehicle in its line-up is sold as a Chevrolet in other markets around the world. Australia- and New Zealand-specific Holden badges, grilles and other components are fitted to vehicles at the time of assembly at their manufacturing plants in countries like South Korea, Thailand and the US.

The lion badge has appeared on Holden vehicles for 85 years. It was first introduced in 1928, and has been redesigned three times since, in 1948, 1972, and to its current form in 1994.

Holden earlier this week refused to confirm the demise of the Commodore nameplate when local manufacturing ceases in 2017, leaving the possibility that the large car badge will continue as an imported model.