HOLDEN enthusiasts in Ballarat are mourning the end of the dominant car brand in Australia as we know it, with General Motors opting to dump the name synonymous with Australian motoring by 2021.
Ballarat-based automotive historian Norm Darwin said the reality was most Holden enthusiasts had seen this coming for some time.
"Once they ceased manufacturing Holden cars in Australia, that was the real death knell," Dr Darwin said.
"It's been clinging to the Holden name since then. This decision got bad publicity as to why and there was a lot of speculation. As an indication, sales fell."
Dr Darwin said there was a chance this would have been different if GM had left Holden manufacturing alone to continue generating profits.
But that was hind-sight.
Looking forward, Dr Darwin said GM's decision to move out of manufacturing right-hand drive cars was unlikely to increase the value in existing Holdens, at least in the short-term. The Holden-Ford rivalry should, however, survive.
"The pride in Australian car manufacturing has kinda gone now. Ford hasn't made Falcons here for years," Dr Darwin said.
"Because there will always be older cars in the market, there will be a Ford-Holden rivalry.
"Holden enthusiasts will be disappointed this has happened and the thing that's really disappointing was the loss of manufacturing in Australia that should never have been able to happen."
Canadian's Newell Barrett said he had thought Holden would be about Australian streets "for good".
Mr Barrett, aged 92, said he purchased the first Holden to arrive for sale in Camperdown.
"I'm an original car owner on the Holden line, going back to what must have been before 1950," Mr Barrett said.
"I'm absolutely devastated, particularly for the fellas losing their jobs...I still think it's the best car on the road."
After closing the company's Australian manufacturing operations in 2017, GM said it had taken the "difficult" decision to retire the brand from sales in both Australia and New Zealand after considering numerous options to revive Holden's flagging sales.
"Over recent years, as the industry underwent significant change globally and locally, we implemented a number of alternative strategies to try to sustain and improve the business, together with the local team," GM international operations senior vice president Julian Blissett said on Monday.
"After comprehensive assessment, we regret that we could not prioritise the investment required for Holden to be successful for the long term in Australia and New Zealand, over all other considerations we have globally.
"This decision is based on global priorities and does not reflect the hard work, talent and professionalism of the Holden team."
GM said Holden employees would be provided with separation packages and employment transition, though it was not initially clear how many jobs would go.
It has also pledged to work with its dealer network on transition arrangements, with dealers to be able to continue as authorised service outlets for Holden customers.
The company will also honour all warranties and provide servicing and spare parts for all Holden vehicles for at least 10 years.
Holden interim chairman and managing director Kristian Aquilina said given the significance of Holden through its history, it was critical the company worked with all stakeholders to deliver a dignified and respectful wind-down.
"Holden will always have a special place in the development of our countries. As Australia and New Zealand grew, Holden was a part of the engine room fuelling that development," he said.
"Today's announcement will be felt deeply by the many people who love Holdens, drive Holdens and feel connected to our company which has been with us for 160 years and is almost ubiquitous in our lives.
"Unfortunately, all the hard work and talent of the Holden family, the support of our parent company GM and the passion of our loyal supporters have not been enough to overcome our challenges."
As part of the wind-down, Holden Financial Services will also cease operations.
- with AAP