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Australian government says GM’s Holden division isn’t going anywhere

Fans were already pouring one out for Holden, General Motors’ Australian division, but the Australian government is denying reports that Holden production will end.

Holden was negotiating a new co-investment agreement with the government, which would require it to keep building cars domestically, before the reports about ending production surfaced.

Australian auto industry minister Ian Macfarlane denied that Holden was planning to shut down and said the negotiating process was ongoing, according to Carsguide.

“The Productivity Commission is continuing its work assessing the Australian automotive industry and will report to the Government,” a statement from Macfarlane said. “That process is unchanged and will continue.”

Previous reports stated that GM would shutter Holden by the end of 2016, following the lead of rival Ford, which announced earlier this year that it would stop producing its Aussie-specific models in the same time frame.

The death of the Australian car industry has been forecast for some time to the high cost of building cars in the country, which makes it difficult for Holden and Ford to compete with imports.

The types of cars produced are also an issue.

For American car enthusiasts, Australia is like a time capsule. Aussies can still buy the big, rear-wheel drive sedans the Big Three stopped selling in the United States decades ago.

In fact, the last Pontiac GTO was a Holden Monaro in disguise, and GM continues to import versions of the Holden Commodore, which does double duty as the Chevrolet SS sports sedan and Caprice PPV (Police Patrol Vehicle) cop car.

Take a trip down under, and you can even get a modern-day Chevy El Camino SS in the form of the Holden VF Ute SS. The car-pickup hybrid, or ‘ute’, is actually an Australian invention that was imported to the U.S. beginning in the 1950s.

Now, poor fuel economy and other factors are making these muscle cars unpopular in Australia as well. The 2016 termination date coincides with the end of the current Commodore’s model cycle.

For now, though, this bastion of old-school performance still stands.

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