The decline of Holden (and the Commodore) in numbers

We track how Holden and the Commodore's sales have declined since 1996

Holden Commodore

The last couple of years have been rough for the once mighty Holden brand, as it endured some of the poorest monthly sales in its history.

Far from the production highs of the mid 2000s, Holden recorded one of its lowest volume sales month on record in November last year with just 2,668 cars sold, down from 5,125 in the same month in 2018.

In a shock twist following the sales slump, the decision was made to retire both the ZB Commodore and BK Astra from the 2020 Holden line-up. And now, the entire brand has been axed.

This marks the end of the road for the nearly 42 year old Commodore which has struggled with declining sales for a five year period.

To fully understand their demise, we must look at the stark decline in Holden’s automotive significance.

In the year ending 1996, 124,259 Holdens were sold for a 17.7 percent market share, second only to Ford.

Both sales numbers and market share made leaps in the run up to 2000, but ultimately lost out to Toyota in 2003 for the title of Australia’s most popular manufacturer.

From 2002-05, Holden enjoyed 4 consecutive years where sales steadily remained above 170,000 units, while the Commodore continued to lose support, with 12,376 fewer sold from 2004-05.

Then in 2006 Holden suffered its first heavy sales decrease, with 27,953 fewer cars sold and market share reducing to 15.2 percent.

The run since 2010 has been a steady downward slope.

As a result of reductions in government grants and tariffs in the auto industry, Holden’s losses grew, leading to the announcement in December of 2013 that local production would be ceased completely by the end of 2017.

In the year after local production ceased, Holden sold nearly 30,000 fewer cars, marking a more than 30 percent decline.

Much like the company as a whole, the Holden Commodore’s sales peaked in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. The model’s best year on sale was 1998, with 94,642 registrations in 12 months, equal to 63.5 percent of total Holden sales.

A decade later that figure was 51,093 registrations for 39.2 percent of the brand’s sales. By 2018, less than 10,000 Commodores were sold in a single year.

Check out the full table below to track the decline yourself.

Holden and Commodore sales in numbers:



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David Vegners

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