'My kids have only ever known Holden': end of iconic brand stuns Mandurah owner

By the time Shane Van Daele found out Holden was quitting, much of the rest of the country was already in shock.

The news stunned the owner of Mandurah Holden, a brand that has been iconic in Mandurah for 27 years, much like Holden has been in Australia for 65 years.

"I was with a customer signing over a car and I was wondering why my phone was going off," the family man said.

The Van Daele family expected the Holden brand to forever be synonymous with Australia. Pictured are Shane, Jackson,3, Sherron, Harrison, 5 and business founder, Lou.

The Van Daele family expected the Holden brand to forever be synonymous with Australia. Pictured are Shane, Jackson,3, Sherron, Harrison, 5 and business founder, Lou.

Missing the announcement

"The word got out quicker than it could get to me."

Shane and several staff were so busy doing their jobs, they missed the announcement.

"We've been very loyal to the franchise and this has come as a shock. We expected to find a solution so of course, it hurts a bit."

"The word got out quicker than it could get to me."

Shane Van Daele

General Motors, Holden's US parent, announced on Monday that the brand will be "retired" and local design and engineering operations cease.

Like the rest of Australia, the Van Daele family expected the Holden brand to forever be synonymous with Australia, given its rich history.

Football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars

After all, the jingle told us we loved "football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars". But these days we love Japanese utes and small Toyotas, Hyundais and Subarus more, it seems.

The abrupt decision to kill off Holden has put "a spanner in the works" for Shane but he said it would force a change his business was ready for.

The family business has six franchises in the pipeline, including a signed deal with off-road vehicle company Polaris and plans for an accessory-based business for outdoor activities, with most expected to be operating by the end of the year.

The blow somewhat lessened

But that only somewhat lessens the blow for the Barragup family, which has only ever known Holdens.

In 1993 when Shane was just 12 years old, his father, Lou Van Daele started Mandurah Holden and a few years later Shane bought his first car with his own money - a "boring, plain white four-cylinder" UC Torana.

It was the first of many Holdens for him and he expected his sons Harrison, 5 and Jackson, 3 would continue the family tradition.

"Harrison already says he wants to take over the family business," Shane said. "My kids have only ever known Holden."

'We had to prepare him': Conversations in the school yard.

Instead, Harrison is having conversations in the school yard because the news is so big for Australians that "even year ones are talking about it", Shane said. "We had to prepare him because we knew other children would be asking him about it."

Shane said the business would continue its decades-old commitment to supporting local sporting clubs and groups under a different umbrella - West Coast Automotive Group.

He said the business had posted record months since he took over the helm in April and he was confident local jobs weren't at risk.

"We are going to build the loyalty in Mandurah again for the brands we choose," he said. "Our staff know our business is already expanding into other franchises."

Shane said they would continue to support Holden owners with "warranty, spare parts, servicing and recalls for at least the next 10 years".

Holden has pledged to provide compensation to dealers to transition their operations to other brands or to close.