Long Live The Commodore
11 December 2019
Six years almost to the day, since announcing the closure of local manufacturing, Holden has announced the end to the Holden Commodore name plate. All our hopes and dreams of cheaper version CT5 or similar to takes it place, where dashed with the confirmation by Holden, that the SUV KULT has officially taken the reins.
"Holden is today announcing a modified portfolio dedicated exclusively to SUVs and light commercial vehicles."
A stalwart of the Australian and New Zealand markets, the Commodore punched on with local rival Ford Falcon
for decades, each taking turns at car of the year until Ford ended the run of its longest running nameplate ever, in 2016.
Holden endured an absolute battering since 2008, when the GFC put an end to a lucrative Pontiac export plan, including the Ute as the G8 Sport Truck. GM battened down the hatches after receiving a multi billion dollar bail out from the US Federal Government, with a series of measures that saw a shrinking global empire. This included Holdens management of other export markets including the Middle East, which has now shrunk significantly without Commodore or Caprice, and the stalled and then disabled management of the South Korean Daewoo capability.
Since the GFC, General Motors has dropped out of Europe, closed plants in South Korea, and sold Opel (the German manufacturer building the ZB Commoodore) as part of a strategy to reduce global risk and focus on the perceived shift to autonomous ridesharing. In short, General Motors had bigger fish to fry, and Holden was pretty low on the list. At Commodores best, it sold 94 thousand units in 1998. Chevrolet sold over 100 thousand Silverados this year in 2 months...
The political environment was just as difficult, with the spotlight being shined on value earned from government subsidies and a strong push for the continued reduction of import tariffs, and a promotion of free trade agreements.
The value for Holden was diminishing too, with the profitability of the local products waning in the face of improving competition from Asian manufacturers.
The last hoorah ZB Commodore was built in the image that market pundits and punters said it should. It is more refined, more efficient, with modestly shrunken dimensions, available with a european diesel and 8 and 9 speed transmissions.
It failed to fire. We can (and have) argued until the cows come home about why the ZB Commodore wasn't successful, but I guess the simplest explaination is that what the Commodore had, can't be engineered. It's built over time. They would have had to deliver an almighty, firebreathing swiss army knife to have even come close to the Commodore.
General Motors just don't have that product anywhere in the world. That's why they called on Holden to supply them with hero cars in America, as the Pontiac G8 and Chevrolet SS.
...oh, they also cancelled the Astra. Per ardua ad Astra...
Originally Posted by PR blurb