Automotive insiders believe Holden vehicles are on the trajectory to become collectables, particularly V8 and performance models, following General Motors' shock announcement it would "retire" its Holden brand.
The American vehicle manufacturer yesterday announced it would discontinue the Holden brand in New Zealand and Australia by 2021. This follows its announcement to stop manufacturing in Australia in 2017 and the subsequent sale of its right-hand drive production facility in Thailand.
Automotive website Driven, owned by Herald publisher NZME, said the news of the closure in Australasia would have come as a shock to the industry, with many dealers relying heavily on the sale of Holden models.
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Matthew Hansen, senior multimedia writer at Driven, said there would likely be "massive savings" to be had on new Holden vehicles on the market from now until 2021, and that some models would, over time, significantly increase in value.
HSV Commodores and Clubsport models would be the most likely to increase in value following the end of the brand, Hansen said. These were already being sold for "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in some cases, he said.
"The last HSV that was ever produced, the HSV GTSR W1, those are already being sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. They were like a $200,000 car new and people are already stockpiling them and putting them into garages, and I think that kind of behaviour is now going to extend to every other Australian-produced Holden Commodore," Hansen told the Herald.
More standard models of Commodore, such as the Liftback LT, however, were not expected to become collectors items over time, he said.
"The Holden line-up, outside of the Commodore, has long been produced outside of Australia but the current line-up, ironically, as it stands, is probably the best it has been in terms of the quality of vehicles they are selling at the moment, which adds to how much of a shame it is [that it is retiring the brand]."
Allan White, president of the Christchurch-based Holden Enthusiasts Club, agreed that the value of Holden vehicles would increase over time once the brand was no longer available on the market.
"There will be people chasing the very last of these cars," he said.
"Early models that are already sought-after now are going to become more popular ... and there will be a market for [more models], if not here, back in Australia."
White expects the Holden Commodore VE, manufactured from 2006, would increase in value, along with V8 models and newer models, and those dated 2020, which would no doubt also have higher values.
"Anybody that's a car collector will now look at that stuff as well.
"It's an affordable market at the moment, but you'd have to be prepared to get it and wait. If you got in early enough now, they will be a collectors' car."
The Holden Colorado ute is Holden's best-selling vehicle in New Zealand, followed by the New Zealand Police's favourite, the Commodore - the 13th best-selling car in the country last year.
Death of Holden should come as 'no surprise' to industry
Some say the end of the road for the Holden brand Down Under should come as no surprise for dealers following the manufacturer's initial signals in 2017.
Car dealers contacted by the Herald, including Holden Schofield of Giltrap Group, and perhaps the country's largest Holden dealer, Ebbett, have remained quiet following General Motors' announcement.
Holden Schofield's general manager had no comment to make when contacted by the Herald, and Ebbett, which according to its website operates two Holden-only vehicle dealerships in Tauranga and Porirua, has not responded to requests for comment.
A Giltrap spokesman said General Motors' announcement to retire the brand was "significant" for the group, which had been involved with Holden for more than half a century.
"Our immediate priority is our staff at Giltrap Group's Schofield Holden and Giltrap Holden
dealerships, along with our Penrose Service Centre," the spokesman said in a statement, adding that these sites were multi-franchise operations.
Holden has committed to 10 years of warranty, parts and service support for its vehicles in New Zealand.
The Herald understands Ebbett started out only selling Holden vehicles but in recent years has diversified its brand offering throughout its 15 locations across the country.
2019 was a particularly bad year for Holden sales in Australia - its worst ever in its history. Sales in New Zealand were moderate, totalling around 12,000, according to Motor Industry Association figures.
There are still a number of vehicle dealerships in New Zealand that only sell Holden vehicles. It is not yet clear how retiring the Holden brand will effect their business.
In Australia, a number of dealerships are seeking compensation from General Motors.
"I think that the people who were hurting the most from the announcement have been hurting since Australian production stopped anyway," Hansen said.
White said one Christchurch dealership he had spoken to had only found about the company's plans to retire the brand yesterday when it was announced publicly, though he suspected many dealers would have been anticipating the move.
"They'd already decided they were going to drop Commodores. We always knew that they weren't going to be Australian-built anymore, but I think the demise and sale of Opal in Europe, which was the only other place they could get their cars, did confirm this was going to happen."
The closure of Holden in New Zealand would leave a hole in the market and the brand would be greatly missed by enthusiasts, he said.
"I can see economically why the decision was made. [But] I'm surprised that they are completely dropping right-hand drive cars."