Holden began as Holden's Motor Body Builders Ltd., a coach-builder that made bodies to suit a number of chassis imported from different manufacturers, but particularly Chevrolet.  It was purchased by General Motors in 1931 and became General Motors - Holden's Ltd.  After the end of World War II, the Australian government took steps to encourage an Australian automotive industry, and persuaded General Motors to build "Australia's own car". 
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The Holden 48/215, introduced in 1948, was a medium-sized vehicle fitted with a 132 cu in (2.15 L) engine, and based on a design proposed for the 1949 Chevrolet, that had been rejected as being too small for that purpose.  Although not particularly mechanically or stylistically sophisticated, it was simple, rugged, more powerful than most competitors, and offered reasonable performance and fuel economy in an affordable package.  Better suited to Australian conditions than its competitors, and assisted by tariff barriers, it rapidly became Australia's best-selling car.


Despite the arrival of competitors in the 1960s, Holden's locally produced large six and eight-cylinder cars have remained Australia's top-selling vehicle for most of that time. 


The Kingswood sedan, wagon and ute (utility or pickup truck) was exported and assembled abroad, including New Zealand along with South Africa (badged as the Chevrolet Kommando), Indonesia and Trinidad and Tobago.  Holden has offered a reasonably full range of other vehicles, some locally produced but others sourced from various other parts of the General Motors empire, such as Chevrolet, Opel, Isuzu and Suzuki.

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