The federal government says it is very disappointed that Holden is quitting the Australian market, particularly given the billions of dollars the company has received in subsidies over the years.

General Motors on Monday announced it was retiring the Holden brand from sales in both Australia and New Zealand after the company ceased local manufacturing in 2017.

“I’m very disappointed with the decision that Holden has made,” federal Industry Minister Karen Andrews said.

“The Australian government in various forms has done a lot to support auto vehicle manufacturing here.

“A lot of money has been given to these car manufacturers to try and support them … that makes it particularly disappointing that they have made the decision that they have.

“Holden is walking away from Australia.”

Ms Andrews – whose first car was a Holden Torana – said she was “disappointed” the government was only informed of Holden’s decision just ahead of Monday’s public announcement.

“I don’t think it’s acceptable for Holden to have made this decision without any consultation with government,” she said.

“It would have shown a considerable amount of goodwill, as well as decency, in picking up the phone and talking to government beforehand.”

The minister said she understood 500 workers would be affected and “our heart goes out to them”.

Holden had made it clear the decision had nothing to do with government policy but was the result of the Australian business case “that they believed was no longer sustainable”, Ms Andrews said.

As a result of the shock announcement, the minister said she will be making a call to car manufacturer Ford about its plans in Australia.