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The final locally made Holden Cruze rolled off the production line near Adelaide today — the same day as rival Ford closes its own production facilities in Melbourne.

The final iteration Australia’s small car is a blue SRI Z-Series hatch, which is fitting since this body-style was also locally designed.

From December 1, the Cruze will be replaced by the Opel-based Holden Astra hatch from $21,990 (plus on-roads), which you can read all about here. Next year, an imported new-generation Cruze sedan from South Korea will enter the fray.

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The end for Cruze is part one in the scaling-down of Holden’s Elizabeth plant, with the Commodore and Ute to be made there until late 2017.

The end of Cruze production will see around 270 Holden employees leave the business throughout the remainder of October, and into November, all on a voluntary basis. This is fewer than forecast in July (400 was expected), due to ongoing demand for the Commodore.

As you can read here, the Commodore was once again in the top-ten sellers last month, with a large number being V8 performance models — proving that demand still exists for plush muscle cars in Australia.

commodore

Every Holden Australia worker has access to “transition services” and up to $3000 in approved training – all part of Holden’s $15 million contribution to the federal government’s Growth Fund for specific support of manufacturing employees.

Holden’s Transition Centre at Elizabeth is set up to provide a range of support services for staff including information sessions, workshops, career counselling, employment expos, resume writing and interview skills preparation.

Of the approximately 450 employees who have left Holden in the last two years, the company says that 78 per cent have transitioned successfully to jobs, retirement or study.

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Beyond 2017, Holden will retain a presence in Australia for the long-term, including its sales and marketing operations, spare parts organisation, world-class design studios (that create a number of concepts for the globe and contribute to worldwide projects) and an ongoing engineering department. It also retains the Lang Lang proving ground.

As a full-line importer, Holden is committed to refreshing or replacing every single model in its portfolio by the end of 2020, with models sourced from GM’s global Opel and Chevrolet brands.

Holden chairman and managing director Mark Bernhard paid tribute to Holden’s employees in launching, designing and building Australia’s locally-made small car, done, launched with government support in 2011.

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Pictured: New Holden Astra. 

“Those who were involved in the Cruze project have a strong, and deserved, sense of pride at what was achieved in terms of project development, management, engineering, design and, of course, production,” he said.

“Holden’s business is changing and we are building a bright future, but it is equally important to recognise and honour our people and our heritage. We’re incredibly proud of our manufacturing history and our legacy; I want to thank every Holden employee, and all those people in the supply chain, for their personal contribution to our industry and our company.”

As with any other model ending production, Holden must hold 10 years of spare parts, and there will be no change to warranties or service agreements, the company says.

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Cruze History and Details:

Since production at Elizabeth began in early 2011, 126,255 Cruze sedan and hatch models were built.

As the last small car and the most fuel-efficient model to be made in Australia, Cruze allowed Holden to develop new small car engineering and manufacturing skills, and to keep jobs and automotive manufacturing in South Australia in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Planning for Cruze manufacture started in 2008, with the sedan model eventually launched by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard in February 2011. The Cruze hatch – introduced into the Elizabeth plant alongside the sedan in late 2011 – was designed by Holden at its Port Melbourne International Design Centre.

Holden couldn’t have built Cruze without the help of the federal and South Australian governments. Combined with Holden’s own investment, government investment allowed new, flexible vehicle architecture to be introduced to the Elizabeth plant.

MORE: Holden Cruze Australia experiment failed, but credit where it’s due
MORE: Holden Cruze Australian production ending October 2016
MORE: 2017 Holden Astra preliminary specs and pricing revealed, on sale in December – UPDATE
MORE: Holden Acadia SUV revealed alongside new Astra, Trailblazer and facelifted Trax, Barina
MORE: 2016 Holden Cruze SRi Z-Series Hatch Review




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