GM Holden Ltd. celebrates 50 years at its Elizabeth manufacturing facility in Adelaide, South Australia, by burying a time capsule.
The plant started out in 1958 making vehicle components such as locks, mufflers, air cleaners, brake drums and moldings. Operations now include a press shop, automated body shop, paint shop and plastics operation, as well as a general assembly line producing 620 vehicles a day.
GM Holden Executive Director-Manufacturing Rod Keane and South Australian Premier Mike Rann buried the capsule containing a GM Holden work-shirt, emblems and brochures of the current range of cars, pictures and other contributions. The capsule will be reopened on the company’s 75th anniversary in 2033.
“Since the first concrete was poured at this site back in 1958, GM Holden has been proud to play its part in the Elizabeth community,” Keane says.
“We recognize the contribution of the local community, our suppliers, federal and state governments for their ongoing support of automotive manufacturing in South Australia.”
The event also marks the 40th anniversary of the Holden Monaro, which ended production at the plant last year.
The plant produces a vehicle every 76 seconds, including the Holden Caprice and Statesman, top-selling Calais, Berlina and Commodore sedan range – all in right- and left-hand-drive configurations – and the Holden Ute for domestic and export markets.
Vehicles are exported around the globe under the Holden, Vauxhall, Pontiac and Chevrolet brands.
More than A$530 million ($499 million) has been invested in the site since 2000, making the plant one of the most-advanced automotive manufacturing facilities in the world, employing 3,400 workers.
The Elizabeth complex built 107,795 vehicles for domestic and export markets in 2007. More than 36,000 of these were shipped to the U.S., Brazil, the Middle East, New Zealand, South Africa and the U.K.
The Holden name has been linked with the city of Adelaide for 152 years. The auto maker originated in Adelaide in 1856, when James Alexander Holden set up shop as J.A. Holden and Co., supplier of saddles and leather goods.
Holden began manufacturing horse-drawn coaches in 1878 and by the turn of the century, the firm was known as Holden and Frost, carriage makers. By 1919 it had become Holden’s Motor Body Builders.
In 1924, the company launched a manufacturing plant and became the sole supplier of bodies forCorp. vehicles, among them Buick, Chevrolet, Oakland and Oldsmobile brands.
A 1931 merger between GM Australia and Holden’s Motor Body Builders saw the formation of-Holden’s. More recently, the name was changed to GM Holden Ltd.
Later this year, production will begin on the newest addition to the GM Holden range, the VE Sportwagon for Australian and New Zealand. The plant also recently began building the Pontiac G8 GXP, a high-performance car for the U.S. market.