United Australian Automobile Industries

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United Australian Automobile Industries
Joint venture
FoundedDecember 11, 1987 (December 11, 1987)
FounderHolden, Toyota Australia
DefunctMarch 1996 (March 1996)
ProductsMotor vehicles

United Australian Automobile Industries (UAAI) was an automobile model sharing firm that operated in Australia between 1987 and 1996 as the result of an agreement between Holden (the Australian subsidiary of General Motors) and Toyota Australia. The joint venture resulted in the two companies sharing production of locally produced automobiles by selling their models under both brands.

UAAI produced three rebadged vehicles: the Holden Apollo (based on the Toyota Camry), Holden Nova (based on the Toyota Corolla) and Toyota Lexcen (based on the Holden Commodore).[1]


The formation of UAAI can be traced back to the May 1984 announcement of the Button car plan, the work of Senator John Button, the Minister for Industry under the then current Bob Hawke led Labor government. The plan envisaged to rationalise and make the Australian automotive industry more competitive on a global scale by means of reducing import tariffs.[2] Under an obligation to amalgamate, Holden and Toyota formed the UAAI joint venture on 11 December 1987 that resulted in model sharing between both automakers.[3] These cars were released to the market in August 1989.[4] As consistent with the government mandated plan, UAAI operated under the framework of coordinated design, engineering and product sharing whilst maintaining independent marketing operations and dealership networks.[3] For Holden, it replaced the earlier joint venture with Nissan that had resulted in model sharing from 1984.[5]

Toyota commenced manufacture of the Nova for Holden in June 1989 and the Apollo in July.[6] Both companies held back certain marketing advantages to produce a greater level of model differentiation, for example the Toyotas were positioned as slightly more upmarket and equipment levels differed.[7] Irrespective of this, many buyers could tell that the cars were merely rebadged versions of other cars available on the market, and sales figures generated by the disguised versions reinforced this. That is, the version of the car produced by the original manufacturer far surpassed the sales figures for the rebadged version.[8]

Poor sales of the rebadged cars and an unwillingness to embrace the forced relationship led to dissolution of UAAI.[9] This occurred in March 1996.[6] Production ended later in the year, although a large enough stockpile remained for some vehicles to remain in showrooms until 1997.[10]


Holden Apollo[edit]

Introduced in 1989, the Holden Apollo was basically a badge-engineered Toyota Camry sedan and station wagon.[11] The second generation model was introduced in 1993 and remained in production until 1996.

Holden Nova[edit]

The Holden Nova sedan and hatchback, like the Apollo arrived in dealerships in 1989 replacing the Holden Astra (LD), a joint development with Nissan also producing the Nissan Pulsar (N13).[12] The Nova was a rebadged Toyota Corolla (E90)[13] with the front panels, grille and headlamps from the Japanese-specification Corolla FX hatchback. This was a similar approach to the then contemporary Geo/Chevrolet Prizm sold in the United States and Mexico, which utilised E90 Sprinter panels to differentiate between GM and Toyota models. While the Nova was a Toyota design, the factory producing it in Dandenong, Victoria was a Holden factory closed in 1988 in preparation of production of the Corolla/Nova.[14]

In 1994, Holden released the second generation Nova based on the Toyota Corolla (E100), now manufactured at Toyota's Altona, Victoria facility. Production ended in 1996.

Toyota Lexcen[edit]

The Toyota Lexcen reached Toyota dealerships in 1989, the same year that Toyota models arrived in Holden showrooms. The Lexcen was Toyota's version of the Holden Commodore,[15] available in the same sedan and station wagon body styles, but only in the V6 engine and automatic transmission guise. The Holden however, was available with a V8 engine option, and had the availability of manual transmission for both the V6 and V8.[8] Holden stopped supplying Toyota with the Lexcen in 1997.


By the end of 1993, the UAAI venture cars realised sales of 21 percent at best when compared to the models retailed by their original manufactures.[16]

Nova production in 1992 totalled 3,697 units (16.6 percent of the Toyota Corolla figure); 3,016 Novas were manufactured in 1993 (12.6 percent), and in 1994 production amounted to 3,581 units (16.5 percent).[17] Apollo production in 1992 totalled 4,490 units (17.5 percent of the Toyota Camry figure, excluding exports); 5,314 Apollos were manufactured in 1993 (18.2 percent), and in 1994 production amounted to 5,519 units (14.7 percent).[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kenwright, Joe (1 May 2005). "Day of the Clones PtII". Carsales.com.au. Retrieved 26 July 2009. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |website= (help)
  2. ^ Wright, John (1998). Heart of the Lion: The 50 Year History of Australia's Holden. Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. pp. 277–278. ISBN 1-86448-744-5. In May of 1984, the Minister for Industry in the Hawke Labor Government, Senator John Button, unveiled the federal government's new plan for the industry. It quickly became known as the 'Button Plan'. This blueprint was [...] to make the local industry more internationally competitive. [...] But its major thrusts were to lower tariffs and to reduce the number of different models manufactured locally from thirteen to six, shared between three production groups.
  3. ^ a b Tuckey, Bill (1999). Commodore Lion King: Celebrating 21 Years. Middle Park, Victoria: Quil Visual Communications. p. 168. ISBN 0-646-38231-4. On Friday 11 December 1987 at 2.30 pm came the announcement: "Holden's Motor Company Ltd, AMI Toyota Ltd and Toyota Manufacturing Australia Ltd, are joining forces to create Australia's largest automotive group." [...] The press statement outlined plans to co-ordinate design, engineering and product sharing strategies while keeping marketing operations and dealer networks totally separate, and the decision was described as consistent with the Government's 'Button Plan' for forced rationalisation of the industry. [...] The join venture organisation was to be called United Australian Automobile Industries or UAAI.
  4. ^ Bebbington (1998), p. 125. "Holden's joint venture operation with Toyota began in 1987 and produced several shared models. The first of these was released in August 1989 as the Holden JK Apollo."
  5. ^ Earl (2002), p. 24–26.
  6. ^ a b "Overview of Overseas Production Affiliates: Oceania". Toyota Motor Corporation. 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  7. ^ Earl (2002), p. 29–30.
  8. ^ a b "Union ... and demarcation". The Age. 26 May 2000. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ Business Review Weekly, Volume 17, Issues 30–33, pages 10–11
  10. ^ Bebbington (1998), p. 131. "Production of the JP ceased in late 1996, but the series continued to be sold until [...] mid-1997."
  11. ^ The Bulletin, Issues 5994–6002, J. Haynes and J.F. Archibald, 1995, page 77
  12. ^ Business Review Weekly, Volume 13, Issues 26–34, 1991, page 135
  13. ^ General Motors Public Interest Report, General Motors, 1990, page 12
  14. ^ Fujimoto (1998), p. 23.
  15. ^ Japanese Motor Business, Economist Intelligence Unit, Issues 31–34, page 45
  16. ^ Scott, Phil, ed. (November 1993). "Joint Venture Blues". Wheels magazine. Sydney, New South Wales: ACP Publishing: 19. At best the badged models – Lexcen, Apollo and Nova – have achieved barely 21 per cent of the sales volumes of their original counterparts.
  17. ^ a b Fujimoto (1998), p. 26.