Holden factory closure marks end to Australian car manufacturing

The manufacture of Australian-made cars has come to its end as General Motors Holden closes its Elizabeth production line in Adelaide for the very last time today.

A private function marking the historic event has been planned for employees, past and present, following the official closure at midday.

Holden fans also lined up outside the plant to celebrate the manufacturer’s history, which began 69 years ago.

“Australia’s automotive industry is up against a perfect storm of negative influences, including the sustained strength of the Aussie dollar against almost all major trading currencies, the relatively high cot of production and the relatively small scale of the local domestic market,” said Holden managing director Mike Devereux.

Following the closures of Holden and Toyota factories this year, analysts have projected a 13,000 reduction to the automotive workforce.

Read: Why Australia’s automotive sector is still hiring

That figure includes 7,000 related to car manufacturing directly and a further 6,000 spread across the supply of tier one and tier two components.

However, the automotive industry is lacking numbers, according to a report released by the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC).

Holden will retain approximately 350 designers and engineers beyond 2017, in addition to approximately 700 corporate staff and almost 6000 people employed across the 200-strong Holden dealer network.

Vehicles will continue to be tuned and tested for Australian conditions and customers with the retention of the famous Lang Lang Proving Ground in Victoria, along with advanced engineering capabilities.

Meanwhile, Holden’s Global Design centre will continue business in Port Melbourne.

“I feel very sad as we all do [that] it’s the end of an era,” said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. “You can’t get away from the emotional response to the closure.”