Holden called time on its 72-year run under General Motors ownership after posting the lowest sales since its first full year in business.
- shares

Holden reported 16,688 cars as sold in its final year – posting just 28 sales in December 2020 – after US car giant General Motors announced the retirement of the brand in February 2020, ending its 72-year run.

The 2020 result represents Holden’s lowest sales tally in 71 years – since 1949, its first full year of manufacturing after producing just 524 cars at the end of 1948, according to historical data unearthed by CarAdvice from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Holden’s 2020 tally also falls short of its sales result in 1950, when it sold 19,266 new cars.

Unless there are some new cars that may have slipped through the cracks, December 2020 should represent the last of Holden’s official reported new-car sales.

The December 2020 figures show 27 of the 28 Holdens reported as sold were Colorado 4x4 utes, the other vehicle was a Commodore.

All Holden dealers across Australia had been advised to declare all remaining new cars in stock as sold – even if they were still in showrooms – by the end of December to cash-in on huge factory discounts of between $7500 and $17,000.

It was at each dealer’s discretion to pass on some, none, or all of the discounts on each model.

Some dealers quit their cars early amid uncertainty as the coronavirus crisis gripped the nation, while others held onto their vehicles to trade for as long as possible.

About half the Holden dealer network of 200 showrooms have already taken down their signage. Some have installed new brands or closed altogether. A number of former Holden dealers will continue as service and parts agents.

Holden has vowed to support the 1.6 million cars still on Australia roads with parts and service for “at least” the next 10 years.

However some dealers have told CarAdvice that Holden warranty claims are not being approved as easily as before “because GM (General Motors) has nothing to gain by doing the right thing by the customer and nothing to lose by doing the wrong thing by the customer, they’re not selling Holdens any more,” one long-standing dealer claimed.

Below is Holden’s final sales tally for 2020, model by model.

Model2020 salesChange from prior year
Holden Acadia1407Down 56.2 per cent
Holden Astra1254Down 70.1 per cent
Holden Colorado 4x2845Down 53.6 per cent
Holden Colorado 4x46714Down 57.1 per cent
Holden Commodore1009Down 82.9 per cent
Holden Equinox1719Down 62.3 per cent
Holden Trailblazer1426Down 49.3 per cent
Holden Trax2314Down 51.9 per cent

Source: Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

Below is Holden’s annual sales tally since 2002 – the last time it led the Australian new-car market, which was also its biggest result in its 72-year history. At the time Holden had 21.6 per cent market share. In 2020, Toyota had 22.3 per cent market share in Australia.

2002: 178,392 (the last time in first place on the sales charts)
2003: 175,412 (second place)
2004: 178,027 (second place)
2005: 174,464 (second place)
2006: 146,511 (second place)
2007: 146,680 (second place)
2008: 130,338 (second place)2009: 119,568 (second place)
2010: 132,923 (second place)
2011: 126,095 (second place)
2012: 114,665 (lowest in 19 years, since 1993)
2013: 112,059 (lowest in 20 years, since 1993)
2014: 106,092 (lowest in 21 years, since 1993)
2015: 102,951 (lowest in 22 years, since 1993)
2016: 94,308 (lowest in 24 years, since 1992, fourth place)
2017: 90,306 (lowest in 26 years, since 1991, fourth place)
2018: 60,751 (lowest in 57 years, since 1961, beaten by Ford for the first time since 1997, sixth place)
2019: 43,176 (lowest in 65 years, since 1954, tenth place)
2020: 16,688 (lowest in 71 years, since 1949 when 8656 vehicles were sold)

Source: VFACTS and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.