General Motors to retire historic Holden brand by 2021

General Motors (GM) has announced it will retire the Holden car brand by next year as the manufacturing giant looks to exit several markets outside the US and China.

GM said it will wind down Holden sales, design and engineering operations in Australia and New Zealand in 2021, in a move that could result in up to 600 job losses.

The announcement comes three years after GM ended the production of Holdens in Australia in favour of importing vehicles from overseas plants, at a cost of nearly 3,000 Australian jobs.

In a statement posted on GM’s website, chief executive Mary Barra said: “I’ve often said that we will do the right thing, even when it’s hard, and this is one of those times.”

The decision will end Australia’s 160 year association with the Holden brand, after the company was founded as a saddle maker in South Australia in 1856 before it started building vehicles in 1908. Holden was subsequently bought by GM in 1931.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “I am disappointed but not surprised. But I am angry, like I think many Australians would be.

“Australian taxpayers put millions into this multinational company. They let the brand just wither away on their watch. Now they are leaving it behind,” he added.