IT’S OFFICIAL: The Holden Commodore is no more. Holden has today confirmed that its most iconic nameplate – a car intrinsic to Australian culture since its introduction in 1978 – will be retired at the of the year.
The news comes as Holden revealed its 2020 portfolio will focus exclusively on SUVs and light commercial vehicles. That means the Holden Astra, another long-standing nameplate on Aussie roads, will also be axed.
“The company has elected to retire the ZB Commodore and the BK Astra in 2020”, read an official Holden statement.
Both the Commodore and Astra will continue to be sold throughout 2020 until existing stock is depleted.
The news caps off a turbulent time for Holden. After months of worsening sales results – November was the lowest in the company’s 70 year history and saw its entire model range outsold by the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger – the embattled brand is also currently searching for a new chairman and managing director following David Buttner’s recent decision to resign.
“The decision to retire the Commodore nameplate has not been taken lightly by those who understand and acknowledge its proud heritage,” said Holden interim chairman and managing director Kristian Aquilina.
“The large sedan was the cornerstone of Australian and New Zealand roads for decades. But now with more choice than ever before, customers are displaying a strong preference for the high driving position, functionality and versatility or SUVs and utes.”
Holden first launched the Commodore in October 1978 and has sold more than three million units since. In total, there have been 16 generations over the past 42 years: VB, VC, VH, VK, VL, VN, VP, VR, VS, VT, VX, VY, VZ, VE, VF and the ZB.
It holds a special place in Wheels history too, being the old model to win our esteemed Car of the Year trophy five times (1978, ’88, ’93, ’97, ’06).
Once Australia’s most popular car for 15 straight years (1996-2010), the Commodore has since suffered a spectacular fall from grace. Last month saw the Lion Brand sell only 309 units, a shadow of what it moved in its heyday when its monthly tally could get close to 10,000.
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The numbers also show how far Australia’s love of big sedans has tumbled. In 1998, the large car segment accounted for 217,882 sales. This year, Holden predicts it will manage a meagre 8700 units.
“Holden is taking this decisive action to ensure a sharp focus on the largest and most buoyant market segments,” added Aquilina. “So far this year SUVs and utes have increased to 76 percent of Holden sales, a trend we only see continuing.”
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