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General Motors-Holden

Formed in 1931 when the American firm General Motors took over Adelaide-based Holden's Motor Body Builders, General Motors-Holden (GM-H) has played a major role in Melbourne's industrial development since the opening of the Fishermans Bend plant in 1936. With increased technical and manufacturing capacity created by World War II and a federal government invitation to manufacture motor cars, GM-H launched its Holden on 29 November 1948. Car bodies were produced in Adelaide, with Melbourne the centre of engine production and product development. The success of the Holden encouraged GM-H to open its Dandenong plant in 1956, allowing it to capture more than half the market. The decision to downsize its models in reaction to the first oil crisis proved costly for Holden, allowing Ford to gain market leadership in the early 1980s. Heavily in debt, GM-H was involved in a major restructure in 1986, entering into a joint venture that saw Toyotas being produced in the Dandenong plant. Although this plant was closed when the venture was dissolved in 1994, Holden's ties with Melbourne were strengthened with the opening of a $400 million engine plant in Port Melbourne in November 2003.

Samuel Owens