Two years after Holden ceased local production of the Commodore, we find ourselves lamenting the loss of the nameplate all over again with the news that the European-built version will be retired at the end of the year, along with the Astra hatchback.
The decision allows Holden to focus heavily on the SUV and ute market, as we’ve seen with other brands including Nissan and Mitsubishi.
BREAKING: Holden Commodore dropped
So, where to next for Commodore and Astra owners (and anyone looking to score a deal on either model)? Here is a quick guide about what the news means.
Why is Holden discontinuing the Commodore and Astra?
Sales of the Opel sourced ZB Commodore have plummeted compared to the Aussie built VF model it replaced. A large part of this was due to the backlash against Holden daring to call an overseas model Commodore, but there were other factors including the rise in SUV sales which have taken their toll on passenger cars, including the Astra.
According to Holden’s acting chairman and general manager Kristian Aquilina, dropping passenger cars from the range is “consistent with customer preferences”.
“So far this year SUVs and utes have increased to 76 percent of Holden sales, a trend we only see continuing,” Aquilina said.
Holden cites the low Australian dollar along with an 87 percent drop in large passenger car sales since 2013 as key reasons why the Commodore is no longer available.
“At its peak, the large car segment in Australia accounted for 217,882 sales in 1998. This year it is projected to come in at about 8,700 units,” Aquilina points out.
As for Astra, it too is a victim of the changing local vehicle market, with Holden explaining that it can’t sustain being competitive in the small-car market with a European-built hatchback.
The Astra wagon and Korean-built Astra sedan were already deleted from the Holden range earlier in the year.
Does Holden have a future in Australia without the Commodore?
That’s a good question considering it’s the only vehicle brand in Australia that doesn’t actually build cars. Time will tell, but the Holden line is that the brand is “much more than any individual nameplate no matter how successful it may have been”.
It also points out it has retained its local design and engineering capabilities and is well placed to make all the vehicles it imports better suited to Australian conditions.
Holden is launching updated Equinox medium SUV early next year, followed by a significant MY21 upgrade its Colorado dual-cab ute. It will also set in motion US production of the right-hand drive versions of the mid-engine Corvette.
Can I still buy a Commodore or Astra?
For now, yes but only while stocks last. Holden dealers will have various Commodore and Astra variants their showrooms and will be able to order more from Holden itself until stocks run out, which is expected to take a several months.
Can I get a new deal on a new Commodore or Astra?
Being the end of the year Holden would have been keen to clear existing stock regardless so it’s likely there will be some good run out deals.
IN DETAIL: Holden Commodore Range Review
At the moment you can get Astra, Astra R+, and Astra RS driveway for just a few hundred dollars over retail.
If buying a Commodore, take note of the build year as slow sales means some of the MY19 cars still on sale could have been built in 2018
What will the resale be like for Commodore and Astra?
The Commodore already has a pretty low resale value, ranging from 36 to 38 percent, which means it will be worth about 37 percent of the new retail price after three years.
The Calais-badged variants fare a little better with 40-41 percent. In each case the upper-spec V6 variants enjoy the slightly higher resale value.
Leanne Harvey from Glass’s Information Services, which guides used car prices, says the discontinuation of each model isn’t expected to make an impact on resale either way.
IN DETAIL: Holden Astra Hatchback Range Review
The Opel built Astra hatchbacks enjoy a more respectable 50 percent resale value, though the base-spec R is currently at 48 percent.
Harvey told WhichCar you’ll only get a bounce in resale value if a company puts out a special final edition variant, like Holden did with the last of the Aussie-built VF Series II Commodores. But that’s unlikely to happen with Holden simply phasing out the current stock of MY19 cars.
On the plus side you’ll be able to score a good used deal on a ZB Commodore, with the low resale reflecting demand rather than quality issues.
Will my Commodore or Astra’s warranty still be valid?
Holden has sought to reassure existing Commodore and Astra customers their vehicles will continue to be backed by their warranty and roadside assistance commitments, with spare parts supply guaranteed well into the future.
Can I still get my Commodore or Astra serviced at Holden?
You will still be able to get your Commodore serviced at your local Holden dealer. In addition, all MY19 ZB Commodores and MY19 BK Astras ordered or delivered from December 10, 2019 onwards will be subject to a seven-year free scheduled servicing offer.
What about Commodore and Astra spare parts?
Like any other discontinued model, spare parts supply for Commodore and Astra will be guaranteed well into the future.