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Tue 18th Feb 2020
Holden has taken out full-page newspaper ads to print an open letter from its managing director Kristian Aquilina after it was confirmed the iconic brand will stop selling cars in Australia by the end of the year.
The letter, addressed to "all customers, fans, employees and members of the Holden family", provides some insight into what happens next for the Lion.
"The company will honour all warranties, guarantees and servicing offers made at the time of sale. There are 1.6 million Holdens out there and we will provide servicing and spare parts for at least 10 years," Mr Aquilina said.
But that wasn't the point.
The man who will likely serve as the brand's last managing director took the opportunity to express some of the emotion he shared at yesterday's press conference on the closure, which he said would have loyal Holden fans feeling an "understandable" devastation and possible anger.
"I ask that you please be respectful of the local Holden team who love this brand and have fought tirelessly to turn around our fortunes. We are all hurting," he wrote in the letter.
General Motors announced its decision yesterday to stop producing right-hand-drive vehicles, which were being sold in Australia with Holden badges since local manufacturing ended in 2017.
Its exit from the right-hand-drive market is expected to cost the company more than $US1 billion ($A1.5 billion).
Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday criticised the US corporation for allowing the Holden brand to "wither away on their watch" after receiving billions in government subsidies.
"I am disappointed but not surprised," Mr Morrison told reporters Monday afternoon.
"(It's) very disappointing that, over many years, more than $2 billion was directly provided to General Motors for the Holden operations.
"Now they are leaving it behind," he said.
GM bought the Holden brand, which previously made saddles and then autobodies, in 1931. Seventeen years later it released its first all-Australian car, the 48-215, or FX.
Mr Aquilina took time in his letter to assure the local Holden team, including dealers and staff, that GM's decision was "in no way a reflection of the expertise, commitment and passion" they had shown over the years.
"They have put their hearts and souls into this organisation under very challenging circumstances, and I simply couldn't ask for more from the team," Mr Aquilina said.
He also repeated a promise from yesterday that the brand would "deliver a dignified and respectful transition" for the hundreds of workers who will lose their jobs.
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"It has been a privilege and an honour to have been there with you during so many important moments in life," Mr Aquilina told customers on behalf of the company.
"The L-plates and P-plates. Bringing home a newborn. First cars, hot cars and family cars, fishing trips, camping trips and family holidays. Helping our tradies and farmers get the job done, and just being a part of daily life for generations of Australians. Thank you, from Holden."