It was a sad start to the week for the automotive industry in New Zealand when it was announced that Holden will cease trading by the end of next year.
On Monday, General Motors (GM) announced that the 160-year old company will end vehicle sales, design and engineering in New Zealand and Australia.
It’s yet another example of how the industry can often be cutthroat, and Holden are certainly not the first, nor will they probably be the last, manufacturer to cease some, or all of their operations worldwide.
We’ve put together a list of five other marques across the globe that have seen a similar fate:
Daewoo was a South Korean manufacturer famed for creating cars like the Matiz and Lanos.
Initially, all Daewoos were based upon platforms used by GM, but after the joint venture came to an end, Daewoo became an independent company. The company’s first solo project saw the release of the Lanos at the end of 1996, which came in three styles – including a three-door (Romeo), and a five-door (Juliet).
At the turn of the millennium, Daewoo actually owned the now-established South Korean marque SsangYong Motor Company but by 2004, the Daewoo brand had come into serious financial trouble which saw them sell their assets back to GM.
British marque MG, whose name is an acronym for ‘Morris Garages’, has been around for almost a century in one capacity or another.
Manufacturing sports cars in Oxford, England helped the brand to establish itself, but MG had a rocky history in terms of ownership over the years, and many thought we might never see another new MG on our roads when the ‘MG Rover’ group went into administration back in 2005, resulting in 6,000 people losing their jobs.
After a difficult few years, however, MG was revived and now sits under the ownership of SAIC Motor Corporation. The brand relaunched in New Zealand a year ago with the modestly-priced MG3, ZS and GS models. 2020 will see the launch of the ZS EV, which could open up EV technology to even more New Zealanders thanks to a starting price of $50,100 (+ORC) for the first 150 pre-orders.
Rover was another British marque and the famous Nordic-inspired logo sat proudly on cars for over a century. It designed and manufactured cars like the 200 and 400 series, which were commonly spotted on our roads throughout the nineties.
Like MG, the Rover brand had been owned by various companies over the years, and the last car produced solely by Rover was way back in 1999.
Rover continued to operate under MG Rover until the company went into administration but, unlike MG, we’re yet to see a new car with the Rover badge remerge on our roads, although Tata Motors currently own Rover’s assets via their luxury subsidiary company Jaguar Land Rover.
Saab was a Swedish car manufacturer who specialised in luxury sedans from 1945 until they came to their demise in 2012.
GM invested US $600 million into the company in 1989 when they became 50 per cent owners, and 11 years later they purchased the other 50 per cent for US $125 million more.
As a fully-owned subsidiary of GM, the brand started to slump and by 2008 Saab was in trouble. After delays and cancellations to the production of new models, GM announced that they would be reviewing the brand and started listening to offers from investors around the world, including from fellow-Swedish manufacturer Koenigsegg.
Chinese consortium group National Electric Vehicle Sweden now own all assets of Saab, although they will no longer use its trademark.
DeLorean Motor Company (DMC)
DMC is famous for their one and only car, the DeLorean, which has become an iconic vehicle thanks to the renowned Back to the Future franchise.
Available with minimal extras, there were approximately 9,000 produced between 1981 and 1983, some of which are now based here in New Zealand. With its gullwing doors, and incredibly futuristic design, it was (and still is) a ‘head-turner’.
Due to numerous factors, DMC only operated for seven short years and went bankrupt in 1982. This wasn’t helped by the fact that the company’s owner, John DeLorean, was charged with cocaine trafficking after inadvertently meeting an FBI informant. DeLorean was found not guilty in 1984, but by this time the damage was already done and his company had already closed.