Published: Tue, December 10, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Holden Commodore axed after 41 years of Australian motoring

Holden Commodore axed after 41 years of Australian motoring

The upswing in sales of SUVs (which account for 76% of Holden's total sales) as well as a renewed focus on the ute, are combining to sign the Commodore's death warrant, with the ZB model to be the final incarnation of the humble road hog.

"The large sedan was the cornerstone of Australian and New Zealand roads for decades", Holden interim chairman Kristian Aquilina said in a statement.

Australia's Holden Commodore in its previous guises was once an iconic rear-wheel sedan that also formed the basis of South Africa's Chevrolet Lumina SS and the USA market's Chevrolet SS, both V8-powered brutes that provided plenty of good old fashioned bang for the buck.

Over the past four decades, the Holden Commodore established itself as one of Australia's most-loved vehicles - but the auto has now reached the end of its road.

It was replaced with a model manufactured in Germany that never proved a hit down under.

This years result meant that more Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger and Hyundai i30's were sold overall than Holden sold cars.

"The decision to retire the Commodore nameplate has not been taken lightly by those who understand and acknowledge its proud heritage", he said.

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"Holden Commodore axed after 41 years of Australian motoring ... it's like having a Melbourne Cup and maybe one Australian horse running", another tweeted.

Holden will also stop selling the Astra hatchback in 2020 as part of a plan to transition to a mostly SUV and pickup truck lineup.

At its peak, the large vehicle segment in Australia accounted for 217,882 sales in 1998. "But now with more choice than ever before, customers are displaying a strong preference for the high driving position, functionality and versatility of SUVs and Utes".

Australia's auto market has largely fallen out of love with large sedans in recent years, with Commodore sales dwindling after massive peaks in the late 1990s.

Sales and deliveries of Commodore and Astra will continue through 2020, albeit with diminishing model availability as part of an orderly runout.

In recent years, however, sales of the humble Commy have plummeted, with an estimated 8,700 units shifted in 2019.

"Holden is taking this decisive action to ensure a sharp focus on the largest and most buoyant market segments", added Aquilina.

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