Holden manufacturing history | mega gallery

CarsGuide ·

11 December 2013

Holden may have started out making horse accessories in 1856, but we all know it as the manufacturer of many of Australia's favourite cars.  From the 48-215 unveiled by PM Ben Chifley in 1948, to today's VF Commodore and JH II Cruze, 'our' Holden is a significant piece of Australia's industrial history. 

With today's announcement that Holden will cease local production in 2017, we've put together a mega galley of images to commemorate the brand's colourful manufacturing past; including family sedans and wagons, working utes, luxury Statesman and Caprices, and track-bred high performance models. 

 

This reporter is on Twitter: @Mal_Flynn 

 

Holden milestones

1948
Prime Minister Ben Chifley unveils the first Holden car, declares “she’s a beauty”. More than 18,000 orders are held before the 48-215 “FX” Holden goes on sale. Some customers sell their place in the queue for £100.

1954
One in three cars on the road is a Holden.

1958
One in two cars on the road is a Holden.

1960
The first export of left-hand-drive Holden vehicles begins with a small shipment of cars to Hawaii.

1962
1 millionth Holden sold (EJ Special sedan, Oct 1962).

1964
Holden employee numbers peak at 23,914 across seven facilities in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

1969
2 millionth Holden sold (HK Kingswood, March 1969).

1974
3 millionth Holden sold (HQ Kingswood, June 1974).

1978
Holden celebrates 25 years of continuous sales leadership.

1981
4 millionth Holden sold (VC Commodore, June 1981).

1990
5 millionth Holden sold (VN Calais, August 1990, more than twice as many as any other Australian built car at the time).

1991
Japanese car-maker Toyota beats Holden and Ford to market leadership for the first time in Australia.

2001
6 millionth Holden sold (VX Commodore SS, June 2001).

2002
The last year Holden led the Australian new-car market.

2004
Holden produces 165,000 vehicles (the most in its modern era), almost matches the 1963 peak of 166,274. Factory worker numbers in 2004: 7350.

2005
Holden’s biggest export year: 60,518 cars were shipped, mostly to the US and the Middle East.

2008
7 millionth Holden sold (VE Commodore LPG, Aug 2008).

2011
After 15 years as Australia’s favourite car, Holden Commodore sales are overtaken by the Mazda3 from Japan. Automotive historians say it is the first time since WWI an imported car has led the new-car market.

2013
Toyota Corolla on track to become Australia’s top-selling car for the first time.

Only five out of 100 new cars sold in Australia is a locally-made Holden.

Holden is overtaken in some months by Mazda, Hyundai and Nissan.

After several redundancies and a three-year wage freeze, Holden factory worker numbers fall to 1760.

Despite a record new-car market, Australian vehicle production falls to its lowest levels since 1958.

Holden is on track to export just 14,000 of the 84,000 cars it will make locally.
 

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Written by

Malcolm Flynn

Motoring journalist with an obsessive interest in all things automotive.

Published 11 December 2013