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1944 - 1998

   

1944

  • With military contracts winding down, General Motors-Holdens revives plans to build an Australian car.
 

1945

  • GMH responds to a Federal Government request for submissions from companies interested in producing an Australian car and undertakes to carry out the project. Funds are to be raised in Australia.
 

1946

  • Holden engineers and designers join a GM team in Detroit. The project transfers to Fishermens Bend headquarters late in the year.
  • Preparations for manufacture include the expansion of existing operations, addition of facilities to manufacture motors, transmissions, axles, sheet metal stampings and chassis components.
 

1947

  • Testing of 3 hand-built US and two Australian prototypes is undertaken on rough local roads and some components are extensively modified.
  • Names for the new car - ANZAC and GMH - are considered.
  • 300 Australian companies are contracted to supply components, materials and services.
 

1948

  • The first production schedule is finalised on April 5.
  • The first Holden body is completed at the Woodville plant in July.
  • September 1 - the name HOLDEN is decided upon.
  • The first Holden engine is produced at Fishermens Bend on September 25.
  • The first of ten secret pilot run cars comes off the line on October 1.
  • 26,000 employees and family members preview the new model at 'open house' gatherings at GMH plants nationwide.
  • 1200 official guests, headed by Prime Minister Ben Chifley, greet the first 48/215 Holden as it comes off the Fishermens Bend production line on 29 November. Initial production capacity averages 10 vehicles a day.
 

1949

  • Unexpectedly high demand for Australia's Own Car far exceeds supply. The Holden is advertised as 'worth waiting for' and efforts are made to achieve annual production of 20,000 units.
 

1950

  • Production lifts to 100 units per day to reach an annual total of 20,113 vehicles.
  • $43 million is paid to outside suppliers of components, materials and services
  • New vehicle registrations in Australia total 206,087 - almost 70 per cent up on the previous year. Total sales of GMH products exceed the 1949 total by 60 per cent.
  • The number of Holden employees Australia-wide exceeds 10,000, an employment peak.
 

1951

  • Production rates reach 100 units a day. Total 48/215 production passes 50,000 units.
  • The first Holden 'Coupe Utility' is launched, PVC interior trims are introduced.
 

1952

  • On Holden's fourth birthday, GMH announces an $11 million expansion program designed to raise output to 200 units a day. Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide plants are to be enlarged and modernised, production efficiency and quality levels lifted.
  • Holden annual sales reach 32,000.
 

1953

  • The famous FJ Holden is launched. The extended model range now includes a Special Sedan, Standard Sedan, Business Sedan and Utility. The first Panel Van makes an entry in December.
  • Based on record sales, GMH makes the largest profit in its history and creates 1700 new jobs.

 

1954

  • Further expansion plans are announced, including the building of a new plant at Dandenong, Victoria. The aim is to produce 72,000 units per annum.
  • Exports of Holdens to New Zealand begin in November.
  • Australian vehicle registrations are the highest ever recorded, and one in every three vehicles on Australian roads is a GMH product.
  • Seven GMH plants employ 13,822 people.

 

1955

  • While Holden passenger cars accounted for 26.95 per cent of all registrations and the Holden Ute has a 32.1 per cent share, market leader GMH reports that these figures did not reflect true demand as availability was limited by production facilities.
  • 1,341 Holdens are exported.
  • 2,152 acres of land are selected at Lang Lang, Victoria, and plans to construct 'a modern and completely equipped proving ground' - Australia's first - commence.

 

1956

  • It is 100 years since James Alexander Holden set up a saddlery business in Adelaide.
  • In January, the 250,000th Holden, an FJ, is built and the tubeless tyre is introduced.
  • The new Dandenong body and assembly plant opens.
  • The first entirely new Holden since the 48/215, the FE, is launched following four years of development and a $4 million investment.
  • CKD (completely knocked down) Holden packs are exported to NZ for the first time. Holdens are shipped to Thailand, Malaya and North Borneo.
  • Employee numbers top 16,000; Holden dealers and distributors employ a further 14,000.

 

1957

  • The first Holden station wagon, based on the FE sedan, is produced in March.
  • 4500 Holdens are exported to 17 markets, which include Hong Kong, Sudan and East Africa.
  • GMH achieves a new sales record, increases its share of total registrations to 46.3 per cent.
  • The Lang Lang proving ground commences operations.
  • The one millionth car body is produced at the Woodville plant.

 

1958

  • A $9 million expansion of plant and manaufacturing facilities, aimed at increasing annual production to 125,000 units, is announced.Planning of a new facility at Elizabeth, SA, begins.
  • The FC Holden is launched in May.
  • Holden passenger cars account for 47.4 per cent of total registrations, the Holden Ute records 49.6 per cent of the light commercial market.
  • The total number of Holdens produced exceeds 500,000.
  • Employee numbers reach 18,699 - an increase of over 10,000 in 10 years.
  • Work begins on a banked, circular high-speed test track at Lang Lang.

 

1959

  • Total exports since 1954 exceed 14,000.Assembly of CKD Holden Ute commences in Indonesia and South Africa.

 

1960

  • Holden sales top 12,000 per month; Holden number 750,000, an FB, is built.
  • Left-hand drive production for export markets begins, the first shipment to Hawaii follows.
  • The Elizabeth hardware plant opens.

 

1961

  • The EK Holden is launched in May

 

1962

  • A new body assembly plant opens at Elizabeth, a new engine plant at Fishermens Bend nears completion.
  • The EJ Holden is launched in July
  • When the millionth Holden is built in October, it is estimated that if these cars were placed bumper to bumper they would stretch from Geraldton, WA, to Townsville, Q.

 

1963

  • The new engine plant and foundry commences operation at Fishermens Bend.Capacity is 700 engines a day.
  • Further expansion plans, with a 175,000 annual production target, are announced.
  • The EH Holden is introduced
  • GMH retains sales leadership for 12th successive year, sets new sales records.
  • Dealers and distributors with Holden franchises operate in 59 export territories, exports total 10,798 units.

 

1964

  • Employee total reaches 23,914
  • A new Technical Centre opens at Fishermens Bend.It houses over 900 designers, engineers, draftsmen, modellers, technicians and skilled tradesmen and provides state of the art automotive design and development facilities.
  • The EH Holden is the best selling vehicle for Holden thus far, with 250,000 vehicles sold.

 

1965

  • The radical new HD model is introduced.Its completely new body makes it wider than previous Holdens.
  • Holden retains long-term sales leadership record, outselling its nearest competitor by more than 3 :1.One out of every three cars on Australian roads is a Holden.
  • Exports increase by 41 per cent to total 19,369 units.
  • The 1,500,000th Holden is produced.Australian content exceeds 95 per cent.
  • 601 Holden dealerships nationwide employ over 20,000 people.

 

1966

  • The HR Holden is launched in April.
  • GMH is the first Australian manufacturer to fit seat belts on all models.Its vehicles provide class-leading levels of standard safety features.
  • Investment in expansion continues.Vehicle assembly at the new Acacia Ridge, Q, plant commences.
  • Holden accounts for 56.2 per cent of all Australian motor vehicle exports.

 

1967

  • GMH increases its market coverage and improves its market position with the launch of the first small Holden, the Torana.It takes its name from an Aboriginal word meaning 'to fly' and is based on the Vauxhall Viva.
  • The 100,000th export Holden is produced.

 

1968

  • The HK Kingswood is introduced.
  • The Holden Monaro and Brougham models make their debuts.
  • Holden introduces the energy-absorbing steering column to the Australian market.
  • Torana bodies are made in Australia for the first time.
  • Work progresses on a V8 engine plant at Fishermens Bend.
  • More than 4,000 Australian companies are supplying Holden with components, materials and services.

 

1969

  • The HT Holden is launched in May
  • Australia's first automotive safety design test centre opens at the Lang Lang proving ground, complete with barrier test and Hyge sled facilities.
  • The first Australian-made V8, developed at a cost of $22.5 million, is exhibited in the advanced, mid-engined Holden Hurricane experimental car.It is introduced with the HT range.
  • The two millionth Holden is produced .
  • GMH moves into the small/medium market sector with the launch of the locally designed six-and four-cylinder LC Torana series, which includes the sporty Torana GTR.
  • GMH employs almost 26,000 people at 10 locations nationwide.

 

1970

  • The HG Holden is launched in July.
  • Total annual Holden sales exceed 200,000.
  • A fibreglass-bodied Torana concept model, called the GTR-X, is exhibited to gauge public reaction.
  • A $16.5 million Tri-Matic automatic transmission plant, Holden's first, opens at Woodville, SA.
  • Total export revenue rises to $42 million, almost double the 1968 figure.Seven overseas plants assemble Holden vehicles from Australian-manufactured components.

 

1971

  • Holden's first luxury long-wheelbase derivative, the Statesman, is launched.
  • The HQ range is introduced in July, following the most ambitious product development program undertaken by GMH since the first Holden.
  • The first car-based Holden cab/chassis light truck, commonly known as the one tonner, is announced as part of the HQ range, which boasts the largest-ever selection of 18 model variants.

 

1972

  • The LJ Torana is launched.

 

1973

  • Holden celebrates the 25th anniversary of manufacture in Australia.
  • The first sled test-developed child safety capsule is developed.
  • A record export year for Holden, with 41,000 vehicles exported.

 

1974

  • The three millionth Holden is produced.
  • The HJ Holden is launched in October
  • Launch of the LH Torana range.Holden's first all-Australian medium car is one of the few cars ever offered with a choice of four- six- or eight-cylinder engines.

 

1975

  • The Holden Gemini TX, a version of GM's first world car, is released.It soon becomes Australia's most popular small 4-cylinder car and 42,792 TX models are built.
  • Active safety programs are operated by all Holden plants

 

1976

  • General Motors celebrates 50 years in Australia.
  • The HX Holden is launched in July

 

1977

  • The HZ Holden is launched in October.
  • Holden introduces its acclaimed Radial Tuned Suspension (RTS) to Torana and full-sized Holden models.

 

1978

  • Holden celebrates its 25th straight year of overall market leadership.
  • There is a major change of direction with the launch of the VB Commodore in October.

 

1979

  • Holden announces a $300 million expansion plan, which includes a new engine plant at Fishermens Bend.

 

1980

  • WB versions of the Statesman de Ville, Caprice and Holden's car-based commercial vehicles are launched.
  • The Isuzu-sourced Holden Rodeo light commercial range goes on sale.

 

1981

  • The 4 millionth Holden, a VC Commodore, is produced.It is driven off the line by Sir Laurence Hartnett, acknowledged as the father of the Holden car project.
  • The Isuzu-sourced Jackaroo, Holden's first 4WD passenger vehicle, is announced.
  • The VH Commodore is launched in October.Holden's new engine plant is commissioned and begins production of Family II four-cylinder engines.Exports of these begin with a shipment to England.

 

1982

  • Holden's version of GM's international "J-Car", the Camira JB sedan, is released.It is the first front-wheel drive car produced by Holden and is powered by the Family II four cylinder engine.
  • The Holden Shuttle, Holden's entry into the forward contol van market, is unveiled.

 

1983

  • Engine plant production reaches 1000 units a day and the 200,000th engine is built.By year's end, the 250,000th engine is exported.

 

1984

  • The VK Commodore is launched in February, with some new models names - SL, Berlina and Calais.
  • Holden's annual export revenue exceeds $200 million.
  • Production of Statesman models and car-based light commercials is to be discontinued.

 

1985

  • The Suzuki-based Barina hatchback, 4WD Drover and Scurry delivery van are released.A single point tool body assembly shuttle is introduced at the Elizabeth manufactduring facility.

 

1986

  • The VL Commodore is launched in February.
  • Holden is restructured into two companies: Holden's Motor Company (HMC) and Holden's Engine Company (HEC).

 

1987

  • A completely new Astra model, powered by the Family II 1.8 litre engine, joins the Holden range, the result of a joint venture with Nissan.
  • Holden makes a significant contribution to the GM Sunraycer's victory in the first cross-continental solar race, which is run from Darwin to Adelaide.

 

1988

  • Agreements are signed to create United Australian Automotive Industries Ltd (UAAI), the controlling company for a Holden-Toyota joint venture.The GM arm of the new company is to be known as General Motors-Holden's Automotive (GMHA).
  • The one millionth Holden Family II 4 cylinder engine is exported.
  • The VN Commodore is launched in August.
  • The MF Barina is released with a completely new "aero" body
  • Formation of Holden Special Vehicles.

 

1989

  • Holden declares an operating profit of $157.3 million after tax, on sales of $2178 million.
  • The VN Commodore range wins major car of the year awards.
  • Holden Commodore is Australia's best selling car for 1989.

 

1990

  • Holden rejoins the long-wheelbase field with the introduction of new Statesman and Caprice luxury models.They feature the first independent rear suspension fitted to a locally designed and built mass produced car.
  • The Holden Ute returns.
  • The 5 millionth Holden is produced, highlighting the fact that more than twice as many Holdens have been built in Australia than any other model.
  • The VN Commodore remains Australia's best-selling car.

 

1991

  • HEC marks 10 years of Family II engine manufacture, total export revenue tops $1.9 billion, making HEC one of Australia's foremost exporters of manufactured goods.
  • The VN Commodore retains its title as Australia's most popular car.
  • The VP Commodore is launched in October

 

1992

  • Reinforcing Holden's commitment to safety, anti-lock brakes (ABS) become available on IRS-equipped Commodore and Calais sedans - another Australian safety first.
  • Holden leads the way in customer care with the introduction of a no-cost roadside service package and an extended warranty initiative.

 

1993

  • The VR Commodore is launched in July.
  • Holden invests $100 million in plant and equipment to build the VR Commodore
  • With the VR range, Holden becomes the first Australian maker to fit a driver airbag system.It is developed specifically for drivers wearing seatbelts.

 

1994

  • A $150 million, state of the art paint facility opens at Elizabeth.
  • Prime Minister Paul Keating attends a ceremony to mark production of Holden's 2 millionth export engine.
  • The Holden V8 celebrates its 25th anniversary.Over 450,000 have been built.
  • The VR Commodore tops the passenger car market.Holden production is up 25 per cent on 1993, sales grow by 19.5 per cent.

 

1995

  • Holden wins the inaugural Motor magazine award for outstanding achievement in the Australian automotive industry.
  • The new VS Commodore range features a new 3800 ECOTEC engine, the result of a $20 million technology investment, and the first application by an Australian manufacturer of driver and passenger airbags.
  • Holden's long-term field accident research program earns it the National Road Safety Award.
  • The Elizabeth manufacturing facility produces 107,000 vehicles and sets a new production record.

 

1996

  • The Holden Commodore records a best-ever sales year and regains its top-selling title.
  • The GM/Toyota joint venture is dissolved.
  • Holden announces plans to build a second car line at Elizabeth to produce the medium-sized, export-orientated Holden Vectra.
  • The Supercharged V6 engine is introduced.
  • The operations of Holden's Engine Company are re-integrated into Holden's manufacturing operations.
  • Holden is the first Australian manufacturer to be certified to International Quality Standard ISO9001.
  • Launch of the European-sourced Holden Astra into the small/medium passenger market segment.

 

1997

  • Holden is formally established as the General Motors Product Engineering Centre for the Asia Pacific Region.
  • For the eighth successive year, Holden leads the industry in terms of financial performance.
  • Holden is named a major sponsor of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
  • The totally new Commodore VT model range is introduced.It represents a $600 million investment and the culmination of the largest and most ambitious new vehicle engineering program Holden has ever undertaken.
  • The Lang Lang proving ground complex passes a forty year milestone.
  • On November 29, Holden begins a year of 50th anniversary commemorative activities.
  • The Holden Commodore retains its top-selling title.
  • The Commodore VT wins a variety of prestigious motoring and design awards.

 

1998

  • The Commodore VT is named Wheels magazine Car of the Year.
  • GMHA is renamed Holden Ltd.
  • Holden announces plans to export a left hand drive version of new VT Commodore to the Middle East and Latin America
  • Holden introduces the big new Suburban and new Jackaroo and Rodeo models
  • The Euro-styled limited edition Barina Cabrio is launched nationally at the Melbourne International Motor Show

This is a rehash of the information I found at (http://www.angelfire.com/yt/MyHoldenPage/history.html)