HOLDEN’S Commodore would have muscled into the top five best-selling vehicles in March – if you include the biggest jump in US sales the car has ever encountered.
Chevrolet, the US brand that takes V8-engined Commodores and rebadges them with a Chevy bowtie on the snout and tail, pegged 1217 new owners for the Chevrolet SS in March, official figures from General Motors show, equating to a 325.52 percent jump over February’s 248 sales.
Add that to the 2081 sales the Commodore snared here in March, and the total jumps to 3298. That would have seen the Commodore ranked as the fourth-best selling vehicle for the month instead of just sneaking into the top 10.
Rub out the strong-selling trade utes, and the Commodore would have been the second best-selling passenger car behind the Toyota Corolla for the month.
However it's a bit unfair to count export volumes when comparing locally sold models. After all, the humble Camry has traditionally been exported in bulk quantities overseas – quantities that would routinely see it at the pointy end of the top sellers' list.
Previously, SS sales in the US have bumped around the low hundreds, and even into double digits, with the previous peak coming in April last year when the brand sold almost 600 of the LS3-engined left-hand-drive Commodores in that month.
Pushing up the popularity of the SS-badged Commodore during March was a 20 percent runout discount on the car, reducing prices to the equivalent of about $53,000 in our money. Let’s not forget the car is a semi-HSV version of the car sold here as the $54,000 Holden Commodore SS-V Redline.
It’s a stark contrast to Australia, where Holden dealers have been told to stop offering discounts on V8-engined Commodores as demand ramps up ahead of the October 20 shutdown of Commodore production. According to Holden, Australian V8 sales were “going good”, and there was no risk of running out of stock any time soon.
Sales of the long-wheelbase Caprice, sold Stateside as the Chevrolet Police Pursuit Vehicle, accounted for another 26 sales in the US in March.
However, despite the huge jump in sales for the brand that allowed Chevrolet to crow that it had helped its parent company, General Motors, rank as North America’s fastest-growing automotive brand, Holden’s contribution doesn’t even rate a mention.
The carmaker instead talks up an up to 40 percent rise in sales of its Chevrolet-badged Cruze, Sonic, Spark, Volt and Camaro models.
Holden announced last year that it had received an order for an extra 1000 Chevrolet-badged Commodores that would help the carmaker meet an anticipated ramp-up in US demand for the rear-drive, four door sports car as buyers realised that come October, they won’t be made any more.
The carmaker had planned to sell about 3000 Chev-badged Commodores in the US as it worked up to the October 20 deadline that will mark the end of almost 70 years of Australian manufacturing, and the end of the industry as a whole.
It has already sold more than 1500 cars in the US in the first three months of this year.