Australia’s once iconic Holden Commodore axed after 41 years
PORT MELBOURNE - 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 US market’s Chevrolet SS, both V8-powered brutes that provided plenty of good old fashioned bang for the buck.
But from the end of 2020, the Commodore nameplate will be no more, Goauto.com.au reports, but truth be told the Commodore has already been dead since 2017 when production of the Australian-designed rear-driven model ended just as the country’s entire car manufacturing industry was grinding to a halt.
Rather than let it go out with a blaze of glory, however, GM then decided to import a rebadged version of the front-wheel-drive Opel Insignia and the result has been a sales disaster, with GM expecting to shift just over 8000 units this year.
This is a far cry from its heyday, when the Commodore was Australia’s best-selling car by far, even hitting the 94 000 mark in 1998, according to CarAdvice.
Until the latest-generation was launched, the Commodore was a home-grown product, although it did get most of its mechanical genes from GM’s international parts bin, with some of the earlier versions also partially related to the respective Opel Record and Omega sedans.
There was a Commodore for every type of person, from humble repmobile sedans to stately versions such as the Calias and Caprice, but it was the performance versions such as the V8-powered SS that really captivated enthusiasts, and let’s not even get started on some of the wild creations of Holden-aligned tuner HSV.
Of course, there was also a station wagon and an El Camino like single cab bakkie called the Ute, which also featured prominently in South Africa’s Chevrolet-badged range.
In the end though, sales of the Commodore range started slipping as Australians downsized to smaller vehicles and, like their counterparts almost everywhere in the world, also started gravitating towards SUVs.