The future of the ZB Commodore is unclear, with the company’s new chairman and managing director Dave Buttner not ruling the divisive flagship passenger car in or out of its portfolio plans despite expressing his support for the car.
Speaking shortly before it was revealed he had ordered a temporary cessation of Commodore production in Germany to clear a stockpile of unsold cars, Buttner said he believed the ZB Commodore is “probably the best Commodore that we’ve ever sold in this country from a specification point of view and styling”.
However, he said it was too early to confirm whether or not it was part of Holden’s future plans, saying only it remains a “huge focus” as the company looks ahead to its future portfolio.
“We’ve started that work and of course part of that discussion will be a portfolio that meets the needs of the Australian consumer info the future,” he added.
“I certainly don’t want to go writing off anything. Discounting any product, it’s just too early to do that.”
Buttner said he understood why the ZB Commodore hasn’t enjoyed the love of its Aussie-built predecessors, but felt people still in the market for a large sedan were coming around to what it had to offer in terms of quality and value.
“I think 30 percent of the buyers were V8 buyers and they will be the ones that will find it the hardest to move on,” he said, adding the ZB Commodore’s sales slowdown also had to be put in context with the rise in SUV sales at the expense of the large passenger car segment.
Australian sales aside, the Commodore’s future is also at the mercy of Holden’s relationship and obligations to Peugeot and Citroen parent company Groupe PSA, which took over Commodore and Astra production when it acquired Opel from GM in February 2017.
That arrangement has been subject to tight secrecy, with Buttner becoming the latest Holden executive to remain tight lipped over certain aspects including how long Opel is contracted to build Commodore, or if it and the Insignia on which it’s based, has a future beyond the current model.