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Australian car-making ends

The last mass-produced car designed and built in Australia rolled off General Motors Co.'s production line in the industrial city of Adelaide on Friday as the nation reluctantly bid farewell to its auto manufacturing industry.

GM Holden Ltd., an Australian subsidiary of the U.S. automotive giant, built its last car almost 70 years after it created Australia's first, the FX Holden, in 1948.

Since then, an array of carmakers including Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Chrysler and Leyland have built and closed manufacturing plants in Australia.

After the last gleaming red Holden VF Commodore, a six-cylinder rear-wheel drive sedan, left the plant in the Adelaide suburb of Elizabeth that had grown over decades to provide its workforce, 955 factory workers will clock off the last time

"It's pretty tragic really that we've let go probably one of the best cars around the world," an auto painter who identified himself as Kane told reporters.

The 36 year-old worked at Holden for 17 years and starts a new job with an air conditioner manufacturer on Monday. But he knows many other former Holden employees won't find jobs so quickly.

Thousands of jobs in businesses that have supplied components and accessories to Australian auto manufacturers are also at risk.

"It's not the easiest thing. Life will go on," Kane said.

Dozens of Holden enthusiasts gathered outside the factory, bringing with them generations of Holdens dating back to favoured FJ models that were built between 1953 and 1956.

The brand will survive although Holdens will all now be imported from GM plants around the globe.



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