The first 48-215 rolled off the line at Holden's Fishermans Bend headquarters on 29 November 1948, at which point Prime Minister Ben Chifley famously told reporters: "She's a beauty." A gala launch event attended by more than 1000 dignitaries signalled the arrival of 'the car made in Australia, for Australia' and the beginning of a new era in local motoring. Since that day, GM Holden has built more than seven million vehicles and more than 10 million engines for local and overseas sale. More than 780,000 GM Holden vehicles have been sent around the world in five decades and more than four million export engines in 27 years, representing Australia's largest automotive export program. Australia's oldest automotive enterprise grew from a saddlery business established by James Alexander Holden in 1856.
The company merged with General Motors in 1931. GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mark Reuss, said the company had become a symbol of local design and engineering expertise and Australia's ability to compete on the world stage. "Since the 48-215 was introduced to Australian roads 60 years ago, the Holden name has become synonymous with local ingenuity," Mr Reuss said. "Ongoing development and a commitment to making cars for local driving conditions has seen Holden forge a special place in the hearts and minds of Australian families. "Significant advances in safety technology including standard driver, passenger and side impact airbags, computer optimised restraint systems and ABS brakes were introduced by Holden as 'firsts' for Australian manufactured cars.
"But as we celebrate our proud past, we are busy planning for the future, developing more alternative fuel and fuel saving technologies that reduce Aust-ralia's dependence on foreign oil. "It is about making Holden the smarter choice for Australian motorists, producing cars that are cheaper to run and better for the environment." In 2008, GM Holden builds on 12 consecutive years of Commodore as Australia's top selling passenger vehicle and export programs to USA, Brazil, Korea, South Africa, New Zealand, Middle East, UK and Canada. GM Holden's major operating facilities are located at Fishermans Bend in Victoria, a site which houses Holden's technical centre, administration and engine plants. Also in Victoria are the company's spare parts operations in Dandenong and automotive Proving Ground at Lang Lang. Holden's vehicle manufacturing facility is in Elizabeth, South Australia.