In 12 months’ time, the Commodore will be pulled from Australian showrooms after a 42-year production run and back-to-back titles as the country’s most-loved car. It’s a dramatic fall from grace for one of the longest-running nameplates in the country and the nation’s top-selling car for a record 15 years in a row, from 1996 to the end of 2011.
The news comes just three years after the Australian automaker switched to an imported model — Opel derived — following the end of local manufacturing in 2017. It marked the first time in the model’s history that consumers couldn’t get their hands on a V8, with the replacement vehicle in the lane of a Toyota Camry rather than a performance hero.
Holden states that the company made an executive decision to favour SUVs and utes, based on customer preferences.
“Holden is taking this decisive action to ensure a sharp focus on the largest and most buoyant market segments,” said Holden interim chairman and managing director Kristian Aquilina. “So far this year, SUVs and utes have increased to 76 per cent of Holden sales, a trend we only see continuing.”
At the Commodore’s peak in 1998, Holden sold 100,000 of the cars, after an 11-year run of selling at least 75,000 units. Now, according to Holden, nearly half a million SUVs and more than 200,000 light commercial vehicles (LCVs) were sold this year.
“That’s where the action is, and that’s where we are going to play,” said Aquilina.