Saturday, November 8, 2014

The New Holden Engine, 1956

The Book of Knowledge 1957 Annual.  The Grolier Society, 1957.
The Holden Company of Australia dates back to 1853 when James Alexander Holden emigrated from England and started a saddlery business. Along the way it became Holden & Frost, and moved into the production of motorcycle sidecar bodies.  In 1919, they changed direction, focusing on automobile bodies and by 1924 they were the exclusive supplier of car bodies to GM Australia.  They suffered during the Great Depression, and were bought out by GM in 1931.  They produced their own car, the Holden, in 1948.  The company's fortunes ebbed and flowed over the following decades, and then began a slow decline.  In 2013, foreign competition, high costs and a strong Australian dollar translated into an average of $3423 US extra to build cars in Australia compared to GM plants overseas.  Consequently, GM announced in 2013 that Holden's engine and vehicle manufacturing in Australia will cease by the end of 2017.  (Ford plans to close its Australian manufacturing by 2016.) This is part of an overall, dismal pattern, as manufacturing in Australia has shrunk from 39 percent of the economy in 1960 to 7.1 percent today.

As the old saying goes, "You have to know when to Holden, and know when to fold'em."

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