By on January 18, 2013

The big, rear-drive Aussie sedans beloved by enthusiasts overseas aren’t gaining traction in the Australian marketplace, and the smart money is betting on the death of the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon.

The reports come as Holden officials confirmed that  Australian production the next generation VF Commodore would run through 2016, with new product lines keeping Australian Holden factories online through 2022. One potential savoir for the Commodore could be production in America, under a common rear-drive platform shared with other GM brands, but that situation is a long shot at best. The two new products set to be built locally are a compact SUV and an unnamed front-drive sedan.

Meanwhile, the fate of the Ford Falcon appears to be all but sealed, with the “One Ford” strategy, the high Australian dollar and slumping sales conspiring to kill off the Falcon and its sister vehicle the Ford Territory SUV. While the Falcon was outsold by the Commodore by a 2:1 margin, the Mazda 3, Australia’s top-seller, outsold it by a 3:1 margin. Not even an Ecoboost 4-cylinder could help save the Falcon from irrelevance.

The irony is that Chrysler may be the only one left selling a big, powerful rear-drive sedan. The 300C SRT8 has become quite popular Down Under, and at this rate, it could be the last bloke standing in the segment.

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98 Comments on “Death Warrant Signed For Aussie Rear Drive Sedans, Execution Called For 2016...”


  • avatar

    Don’t get sucked in by the speculation. Nothin was said by nobody!

    Mike Devereux stated that the second model would have to be a top ten format. At the moment the top ten is made up of 4 cylinder sedans like the Cruze and Mazda 3 as well as the Toyota Hilux and, yep, the Holden Commodore.

    Unless the mid size sedan or CUV are market busting runways, they are not viable choices.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    It’ll be a sad day when/if this happens. Such great cars. Although they are great cars, Chrysler appears to have the better formula with the LX/LD.

    • 0 avatar

      How do you figure the LX is a better formula? It only has 2 variants, vs. The Zeta platform bringing sedan, wagon, coupe and LWB.

      Current SRT is a good product though and big kudos for introducing a diesel variant!

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        LX is really 4 variants. LX/LD 300 and Charger sedans, LC Challenger coupe and the 300/Magnum wagon. I think Chryler has figured out a better feautre content level and I feel their powertrains are slightly better in performance and refinement.

        Not that Zetas are bad cars, they’re awesome. I hope they keep finding ways to sell them in NA.

      • 0 avatar
        unretrofiedforu

        @danio3834

        No. LX is only fit for sale in 2 variants, coupe and 4 door sedan. Magnum was discontinued in 2007 and Chrysler/Fiat is looking to put the Challenger out of its irrelevant misery with a lighter, SRT cuda.

        Seems like Ford/GM could take a lesson from the euros in this sense; why try with a lighter, better designed RWD replacement than just listening to the market data with a boring FWD car?

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    The photo looks a lot like a DI 3.6L I drove in 2010. A wonderful car.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      It has SS badges on the rear doors and AFM badges below the A-pillar. Its a L76 6.0L V8 powered 2010.

      The DI 3.6L version was supposed to go into the “base” G8 GT in 2010 had the car lived on. So you would have had 302 HP, 355 HP and 415 HP as your choices, assuming the L76 and LS3 were not changed from their 2009 configuration. The L76 could easily be bumped back to 361 or 365 HP, and the LS3 to 425.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      The one in the pic is a VE I SS-V, looks like an early one judging by the V8 badge in the fender. If the toadster is right, it may be A/T, the thing is that some of those cars have a green E85 badge when equipped with manuals.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    The Commodore has the same problem as the Kingwood before it: it got too big and thirsty for the market to support.

    • 0 avatar

      Big thirsty SUVs and CUVs seem to do ok. It’s more about marketing than product.

      • 0 avatar

        The difference is that, to a lot of people, SUVs and CUVs can be reasoned for being useful. Whether its ground clearance, higher-ride height, increased towing capacity, increased cargo capacity, AWD/4WD, whatever…people can reason increase fuel costs for those things. For sedans that do what other cheaper and more fuel efficient sedans also do (carry people), while having a key difference that 90% of buyers don’t care about? Nah, not so easy.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Have the Aussies whip up a boat (sea vessel) load of the those V8 RWD, LHD 4 doors and send them to US as we start converting/building some new RHD Ram, Silverados and F-series that the Aussies crave so much!

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      And once they get here, they won’t sell.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Yup. We see this over and over and over again.

        Oh if Nissan just sold the Skyline here. Here – Infiniti G37 – oh dude, I don’t want to pony up that kind of cash.

        Oh if this wagon, oh if they just sold the diesel variant. We’ve seen over and over and over again from the Japanese, the Euro and the US makers, that if they listen to the enthusiast audience on car XYZ from overseas, it never becomes a volume hit. The true fans line up, a handful of other buyers who don’t know and who don’t care, and the rest of them don’t pony up – turns out to be a load of puffery.

        If the UAW wasn’t ramming the next gen Colorado/Canyon down the buyers throats in the US, I would say the Commodore Ute has a chance here. It would be niche at best.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Idk what he problem was with G8s other than they were Pontiacs, but if Falcons and Commodores were sold next to Taurus’ and Impalas, I do know what I would do. Heck, 300s and Chargers somehow manage to leave the lot. Some with Hemis

        Idk how receptive LE and the livery industries would be, but also make the those the base-base models available to the public (in true muscle car fashion) with rubber floors and vinyl (knit) seats. Just A/C, P/W & locks.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        +1. Such great cars that nobody wants to actually pay for.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Are you kidding me? If I couldn’t have a base full-size pickup, I would be all over a Work Truck Edition Commodore like one pictured, but with a 6.0 or 6.2 V8, manual trans, steel wheels and minus the ground effects & deck spoiler. Just the taxi cab, cop car, or work truck basics. OK, maybe it’s just me.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        BS they won’t sell. They might not hit Camcord volume, but I think there is a case for them. I drive a 2013 Charger R/T and would have seriously looked at a 5.0 Falcon or Chevy Commodore (SS sedan) had they been available at the time.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Im not sure if anyone told you this, but you are only one person. And unless you trade in your cars annually, in the context of a model run, to a manufacturer you are like 1/5-1/6th of a sale

          Nobody wants these cars. The big Caprices and all that died in the 90s. The Chrysler LX platform peaked in volume about 5-6 years ago and is moving less than half what it did at its peak. The G8 was DOA. Gas is getting more and more expensive and Americans are getting broker and broker. From a business standpoint crossovers are the ticket.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            I do trade my cars frequently, but that’s still a drop in the bucket as you mentioned. But there are many others like me who shop these cars. The Charger has the youngest buyer age demographic of any large car as well.

            LX volume is on the upswing now that Chrysler’s future is more secure and production is fully running to meet demand.

            The Challenger, visually the same since 2008, had record high sales this year. No these aren’t the highest volume cars, but there is a market and there will be another generation of the LX cars. See Derek’s large car post from today.

            The problem with the Falcon is that it’s appearance is too generic looking and can’t differentiate itself from mroe mainstream sedans. If they had dragged out the Interceptor concept from a few years go for production, they would have a proper 300 competitor.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Good idea, let’s only sell taxi-versions of an expensive to make platform to cheap enthusiasts. That’ll make awesome profits.

        APaGttH has this pegged.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @DenverMike

        As I’ve previously posted, there was nothing “wrong” with the G8 per se. In a second review TTAC gave it praise, and like so many other reviews gave the Pontiac swan song to the G8 GXP. At least Pontiac went out with its head held high, not a whimpering bitch like Mercury or Plymouth.

        The first 2008 G8s went on sale in very late February, early March 2008. The 2008 model year run was only about 12K units for all of North America. The economy imploded on September 18, 2008, and the Bush Administration bailed out the auto industry in December of 2008. It was already widely speculated that Pontiac was a dead brand walking.

        The G8, like the Solstice coupe, were dead before they could really be born.

        You won’t find a comparo review of the Charger vs. G8 where the Charger wins. Top Gear put the GXP variant made for Vauxhall up against a BMW M5 and adored the Vauxhall for the value and raw bonkers V8 power. The G8 was trained in Germany, and designed by a legion of poached BMW engineers. Actually, its dimensions and performance numbers are almost identical, down to the millimeter, the hundred of a second, and inches (when it comes to braking) to last generation 5-series.

        So if it never really had a chance, if production ramped up just as Pontiac died – how can you declare the car a success?

        Unwanted fodder loses value like a rock. In 2009 there was rampant speculation that one could wait until 2010 and snap up a gently used G8 GT or GXP for 50 cents on the dollar.

        Five model years later you can’t even buy a stripped V6 2008 G8 for 50 cents on the dollar. G8 GTs are selling for around $20K to $24K – still – dependent on market and condition/mileage. Salvage title of course goes for less. GXPs are just starting to come down to earth, selling for a wider range of $27K to $35K today. However I would speculate those in the high 20′s are being sold by people who don’t understand the difference/value/collector potential of the G8 GXP.

        Had the G8 been given some more time, had their been some actual marketing budget, and most importantly (IMHO as a marketing professional) had it not been called G8, the story might be different. Had Pontiac called it Bonneville, Grand Prix, LeMans or Tempest – adoption might have been a little quicker.

        The G8 was so horribly marketed one of the most common questions to owners was, “isn’t that the car Oprah gave away.”

        Today the G8 would face an uphill battle due to the very weak US dollar, the historically strong Aussie dollar, the rapid evolution of technology adding cost (a navigation system could not be offered in 2008 because GM was too broke to retool the interior to meet US DOT standards). This is probably why the Chevrolet SS will be more “BMW” in price (where the G8 was half the price) but with a lot more content (magnetic ride control comes right to mind).

        The G8 lives on with a very activity community, and improvements made on the Zeta based Camaro have trickled over to the G8 for those who want to do the work – larger capacity tranny pans, tranny coolers, and better/strong rear ends for example, along with more aggressive rear brakes and “bolt on” 20″ rims from the Camaro that look damn good on the G8.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        “Good idea, let’s only sell taxi-versions of an expensive to make platform to cheap enthusiasts. That’ll make awesome profits.”

        Well no one said to “only” sell the cheap ones. Chargers can exceed $50K and cheap base/fleet pickup trucks are there for us to enjoy mostly because of the Lariat, King Ranch, Big Horn and whatnot. Sizable volume doesn’t hurt either.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        “Today the G8 would face an uphill battle due to the very weak US
        dollar, the historically strong Aussie dollar…”

        I can see that, and if sales did take off, I think it can be built on the Camaro assembly line.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        The G8 should have been a Cadillac, not a Pontiac. High-cost-to-make cries out for a premium car with premium pricing. At worst, the G8 could have been a top-of-the-line Buick, with a storied name like Wildcat. Then GM wouldn’t have needed to make entry-level versions of a top-of-the-line car, like they did with Grand Prix.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @Lorenzo

        I believe the ideal place for the VF Commodore is as Buick’s flagship car, not a Chevrolet. Raid the Chinese parts bin for the Park Avenue, give it a historical name like you noted, and it offer it in CAFE friendly 3.6 DI V6 version and asphalt destroying flagship LSA version. Give them distinct personalities. The 3.6 DI V6 version more about luxury, ride, quiet, and rear passenger comfort. Make the LSA version a premium asphalt destroyer but firm ride, not the full list of luxury appointments, and distinct aggressive style.

        It would maintain the brand, give Buick a premium RWD offering to counter Lexus, Infiniti and the Germans, get cross traffic into showrooms, and GM would make more $$$ commanding a higher sticker price.

        GM haters could bash t as an overwrought G8 for twice the price that can’t compete due to pushrods. Everyone would be happy.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      What have you been smoking? Lucky to sell 150 in a year, sell 12-15 times as many Porches.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Pot. And U? Anyways, Porsches aren’t grey market, durr…
        The last official F-series imported into OZ have the highest resale value of ANY car! Up to 127%!
        Stop speaking for yourself.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        What has the Grey Market got to do with it? They only imported a tiny number of US HD Pickups in Australia last year 150 being the top figure. Usually slightly used examples as new Diesel HD Pickups cannot be sold in Australia.
        Highest resale of any car? No, . They the older F250′s keep a reasonable value as they are seen as a more user friendly alternative to a Japanese Truck i.e Parking by the Grey Nomads for 5th wheelers or larger Caravans.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Stop proving my point for me! I don’t need your help… but then diesels are banned? Why not just ban 3/4 tons altogether?
        As you know, just the RHD Conversion is $10K+ , so you really have to want one badly… Never mind that used, grey market F-150s in Oz sell for up to 2X what loaded, brand new Maloos sells for. But then new US pickups are banned, right? (thank you).
        Mostly, (up to) 127% resale value means absolutely nothing to you?
        What have YOU been smoking???

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        “As you know, just the RHD Conversion is $10K+ , so you really have to want one badly…”
        Yes they do need them for RV’s not really “badly”. Really F150′s? rare as Hens teeth, what do they use them here for here?
        “US Pickups are banned” you have no idea of the Australian market. Selling brand new Gas F250/F350′s no problems No they certainly are not banned.
        Markups on imported cars sold in Australia are huge something that a lot of people complain about. Yes it would be nice to GET the Opportunity to sell a Maloo in the US.

        As far as smoking goes it appears to have given you multiple personalities and a belligerent attitude to any Australians on Pickup.coms. No matter which “personality” you use.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        “you have no idea of the Australian market”

        If you know more that I about the Oz market, good job at playing dumb! Obviously, Ford stopped importing “new” F-series in 2007.

        “Selling brand new Gas F250/F350′s no problems”

        What part of ‘gray market’, don’t you understand? “New” they are not. New = F&I, bumper to bumper warranty, dealer service, parts depts, etc. These may be ultra low mileage trucks, but they’re definitely not new trucks. There’s all kinds of disadvantages when buying gray market used, highly altered and “as-is”.

        Ford stopped importing trucks when Australia banned diesels. What’s the point at that point? Guess what happened to resale value of 2007 and older US diesel pickup trucks? Yep, they shot up to 127% of original retail. What other car has done anywhere near that in modern history?

        carsguide.com.au/news-and-reviews/car-news/ford_f_utes_top_resale_value

        “Yes it would be nice to GET the Opportunity to sell a Maloo in the US.”

        Maloo sales have completely tanked in Oz so what makes you think US sales would be any less dismal?

        “Really F150′s? rare as Hens teeth, what do they use them here for here?”

        Really, how rare do you think Maloos would be in the US if they were asking 2X the price of loaded F-150s (in the US) or around $90,000UD? Used, no warranty, as-is and highly altered? What use would anyone have for them? At any price? How many do you estimate would sell? Really?

        “As far as smoking goes it appears to have given you multiple personalities and a belligerent attitude to any Australians on Pickup.coms. No matter which “personality” you use.

        When have I been “belligerent” or even disrespectful to anyone from anywhere?
        You and your Oz buddy on Pickups.com are the only Australians I’ve (knowingly) discussed cars with. You specifically, are extremely bitter and absolutely relentless towards the US auto industry while singing the praises of Oz OEMs ad nauseam.

        Being critical is one thing, but complete, across the board, biased trolling towards one specific OEM market, is another. “Trolling” and “biased” aren’t my words. Multiple TTAC commenters have called you a that.

        “…it appears to have given you multiple personalities…”

        When have I appeared anywhere, as anyone but myself, “DenverMike”? Why would I???

        I’m an enthusiast 1st, including Ozzie Utes and V8 sedans.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        After that massive shot of hot air from you Denvermike. Yes you can buy new from the US current US Pickups as well as Camaro’s and Mustangs and have them converted here, not difficult at all. Warranty would be a problem

        “When have I been “belligerent” or even disrespectful to anyone from anywhere?
        You and your Oz buddy on Pickups.com are the only Australians I’ve (knowingly) discussed cars with”

        Interesting concept regards “discussion” we would call it something else.

        “Maloo sales have completely tanked in Oz so what makes you think US sales would be any less dismal? ”

        You like Aussie Utes but think they will not sell in the US? (No Maloo s have not tanked)We are arguing about a pitiful 150 sales of US Pickups in Australia in a year. Others on this site have said they will not sell outside NA Why cannot you accept that fact? The F250 was a totally abysmal failure in Australia and others from Australia can attest to that. Otherwise Ford Australia would be still selling them, diesel version or otherwise

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        “Yes you can buy new from the US current US Pickups as well as Camaro’s and Mustangs and have them converted here, not difficult at all.”

        Anyway you spin it, you cannot buy a US pickup or Camaro or Mustang “New” in Australia just like you can go out and buy a “New” Commodore or Maloo or Falcon in Australia. We’re talking ‘Gray Market’ “New”. Whole other Ballgame, Player…

        It doen’t matter if you come to the US and buy it new, yourself and have it shipped, converted to RHD, pay the taxes, deal with the red tape yourself OR have an importer do it all for you. Now you may save a bundle doing it yourself, but it’s still not the same as a “New” Oz vehicle.

        “Warranty would be a problem”

        Drrrr… Really? With a “New” car???

        “Interesting concept regards “discussion” we would call it something else.”

        You seem to be confused about a lot of things

        “You like Aussie Utes but think they will not sell in the US? (No Maloo s have not tanked)We are arguing about a pitiful 150 sales of US Pickups in Australia in a year.”

        It’s not a matter of what I like. The Maloo would be an utter failure. At least the F-series sells in insane #s in NA. The Maloo is a failure in it’s home turf.

        Now trying to draw comparisons between the F-series failing in Oz and Maloo not having a chance in NA is an irrational thought! Trying to sell the Maloo under the same conditions/hurdles and what it takes (and the cash it takes) to own a gray market F-series in Oz… Laughable at best!!! 150??? 2 maybe.

        Banning diesel F-series from Oz really killed the deal. Ozzies want it diesel or not at all.

        “Others on this site have said (F-series) will not sell outside NA Why cannot you accept that fact?”

        I’m not arguing that at all. It’s ‘relatively’ easy to own a (gas powered) gray market F-series in Oz compared to most parts of the world. Still, they are found in every corner of the world.

        “The F250 was a totally abysmal failure in Australia and others from Australia can attest to that. Otherwise Ford Australia would be selling them.”

        How many F-series do you REALLY think would sell, even in the US, if you doubled or tripled the price, took away the diesel option, took away the warranty/sold them as-is after having them altered from RHD from some unknown vendor, made parts hard to get…??? They wouldn’t (and don’t) stand a chance. 150 sales under those conditions would be tremendous!!!

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        “The F250 was a totally abysmal failure in Australia and others from Australia can attest to that. Otherwise Ford Australia would be selling them.”
        I will say it again and other have said so on this site. The F250 was sold through Ford Australia,it was no “Grey Import” It was one of their worst failures . The warranty costs were crippling. They would not touch any future F250/F350 ‘s with a barge poll. Any newer models are directly imported from a US by owners /importers and converted here.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        “The F250 was sold through Ford Australia, …was one of their worst failures . The warranty costs were crippling. They would not touch any future F250/F350 ‘s with a barge poll”

        Those F-series were built in South America so I couldn’t tell you what went on. Either way, you’re drifting way off the subject… Thin profit margins have little to do with what vehicles the Oz public desires. If F-series weren’t highly sought after used trucks, diesels especially, would resale values have skyrocketed to unheard of and unmatched proportions???

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        “If F-series weren’t highly sought after used trucks, diesels especially, would resale values have skyrocketed to unheard of and unmatched proportions???”

        Although they are garbage, they now suit the purpose of reasonably affordable tow vehicle for pulling 5th wheelers and Large Caravans. Their is only a finite number of F250/F350′s available , so the prices remain steady. The IVECO Daily is being used more and more to do the same thing. You see them towing 35ft 5th Wheelers quite effectively.Again their price has gone up as well.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        “Although they are garbage, they now suit the purpose of reasonably affordable tow vehicle for pulling 5th wheelers and Large Caravans.”

        Again, stop proving my point for me… Garbage AND still highly sought after?
        Now (try to) picture this:

        *North American F-series quality for the Oz consumer.
        *North American F-series profit margin for Ford of Australia.
        *Diesel engine availability
        *F-series prices equal or less than Commercial IVECOs (depending on pickup options/bling) not to mention available 4X4, conventional layout and normal crewcabs/beds
        *Full warranty/ Dealer support/ financing
        *Factory RHD

        *Truck enthusiasts wins
        *OEMs win
        *Who who the heck loses???

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Lincoln is looking for a way to into the domestic luxury car market without spending too much money. Tarting up the FWD Ford Focus isn’t doing it. Seems to me the RWD V-8 Australian Ford Falcon platform is a natural.

    • 0 avatar
      jimboy

      That’s the best idea I’ve heard about Lincoln’s revival. Why aren’t you working for them. A D or E segment Lincoln based on the Falcon is EXACTLY what Lincoln needs to jumpstart its revival. Tarted up Mondeo variations aren’t going to cut it.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Agreed but they aren’t interested in real Lincolns, they want sales volume… which they think they will accomplish with Ford clones. If they took Baruth’s advice there is a way to build a flagship model and still sell the tarted up Fords, but I won’t hold my breath.

      • 0 avatar
        morbo

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_LS

        Trited. Failed. Next.

        It wasn’t a bad car. It would have made an excellent Mercury Marquis or Ford galaxy. It just wasn’t what a Lincoln supposedly aspires to be.

      • 0 avatar
        FuzzyPlushroom

        The LS is sort of a different animal, though. A long-wheelbase livery vehicle/luxury car (sort of a more modern Town Car, with slightly more formal styling than the Falcon) with a low-production sport-touring variant? Possible. The LS was just crowded out by BMW and Cadillac on one side and the Town Car on the other.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I’m not so sure you could call the LS a failure. It won NACOTY and MTCOTY when it was introduced, and they sold over a quarter million of them.

        Unfortunately they let the product go stale with few updates, then closed the plant it was built at.

        I’m confident that if Ford wasn’t in such bad shape at the time and they had invested in a 2nd generation like Cadillac did with the CTS, we wouldn’t think of Lincoln as a dead brand walking as we do now.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The LS wasn’t a big success because of Ford management and engineering. Engineering failed it with a flexible body relative to the competition, a problem shared with the Jaguar S-Type. Management dinged it with engines that were intentionally inferior to those in the Jaguar, conceding that Lincoln wasn’t a true luxury car. They also approved styling that was tough to differentiate from a Mitsubishi Diamante, which surely reduced desirability to anyone not looking for stealth.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      This is what a lot of us have been saying for a while. The Falcon seems like the obvious platform to adopt here for a RWD flagship. But it would obviously be a halo product, not a volume one.

      As for putting some LHD ones on a boat, yeah, most of the people who want them are too cheap to buy them. They probably won’t sell.

    • 0 avatar
      Gardiner Westbound

      Notwithstanding Lincoln discontinued the LS after the 2006 model year they’re still a common sight on the road. Owners seem to love them.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      It seems that Mulally has decided that Ford won’t be able to compete head-on against the Germans in the luxury car market, both here and in Europe, and has positioned Lincoln accordingly.

      That means that Lincoln can expect to have only minimal investment, and that its eventual demise won’t be costly or tragic. Globalization won’t allow for a US-centric financially viable luxury brand to be much more than an exercise in elaborate badge engineering.

  • avatar
    Rday

    I would say that the Aussies are a wise group of car buyers. Unless you pull a large trailer, RWD is not that relevant anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Blasphemy!!!

      People Exhibit A – FR-S / BR-Z

    • 0 avatar

      Unless you drive in the snow FWD is not that relevant…… ever. Okay so there are certain packaging advantages but really, I look at the Taurus and see a packaging failure when compared to the Falcon. It has less interior space and is slower and less efficient. Some comparisons are difficult to make, but we have the advantage in Oz of having seen how the Falcon compares to the Commodore (and therefore proportionately against the Caprice which has challenged the SHO in PPV trials…. and lost once by 0.1 seconds in a lap).

      What I’m getting at, is in Australia RWD has been/was the status quo. Why change it?

      Of course the answer is “because the rest of the world drives through snow” but that doesn’t make it a good answer from my point of view. I don’t like under steer. In fact I don’t like the amount of understeer I get in my RWD car. Imagine if I had to drive a Taurus! I’D IMPLODE! AAAARRRRGH

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      We do pull large trailers, Pickups and diesel SUV’s have taken over the car role.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        I’ve seen people towing relatively big boats with an Omega.

        But then I’ve also seen Festivas with a tow hitch.

        My point is, people here will use whatever has 4 wheels and an engine to tow.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        True . We do not have the “Pickup can only do that” mentality as in the US. Still a Fiesta can tow a small utility trailer. Bigger loads are towed by Pickups , SUV’s and Larger cars

  • avatar
    tatracitroensaab

    So is this also going to bring the death of the ute?????? That would be a real shame.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      That is a problem. Utes especially Sport utes do a have a fair bit of clout in Australia. The rush to small cars SUV’s (of all sizes) and Pickups is distorting the market.

  • avatar
    morbo

    You could bring the Falcon over, shine it up, make it sparkle. It won’t sell. it won’t sell because, as awesome as 300+ RWD horsies are (and as the owner of an ’11 300C, I know what i speak of), it will look like every other generic modern sedan.

    Half (or more) of the 300′s success is that it looks bad-ass. It’s largely why I bought instead of the ‘better on paper’ Genesis.

    If FoMoCo wants to fix Lincoln (and I hope they do), they need a god damned Continental. A real one with suicide doors, big honkin hood, and Morpheus stepping out of it a la the matrix. Follow up with a Mark IX so that Mr. Mehta and the three other large luxo coupe buyers left in America have something to desire.

    Fords, Toyota’s, Honda’s are appliances. Acura’s, Lexus, MB are nice appliances. Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Corvette, Cadillac (well CTS-V and Escalade) are desired.

    Unless FoMoCo wants to make something desirable, they’d be better off killing Lincoln and resurrecting Mercury to sell nice appliances like the MKC/T/S/X/Y/Z-now I know my ABC’s, won’t you sing along with me.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      The Ford Territory as a Lincoln MKA (for Aviator) would seem to be a natural extension of the Falcon becoming a Lincoln Continental/Mark IX too, but it probably won’t happen. Then, no one can call it the MKExplorer.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      What?? They’ll have to go back to the 3-box formula sedans with old-fashioned luxury details and leave the field of swoopy-coupe design to everybody else. Is that any way to stand out???

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Looks are not the 300′s strong suite. The looks and general dynamics go against it here.

  • avatar
    gessvt

    So the Holden Commodore is going away, yet GM is going to have the 2014 Chevy SS built in Oz, with an annual production of 3,000 – 5,000 units. Huh?

  • avatar
    Dr.Nick

    Isn’t the Mustang platform going to be the one ford RWD platform?

  • avatar
    BrianL

    I think Derek should be a bit more careful with the wording.

    The Commodore was the best selling vehicle for awhile in Oz. Some other vehicles have been gaining traction because smaller vehicles are more efficient and therefore, economical.

    I would be surprised to see this go away because these models don’t seem to sell well elsewhere and are losing ground in the home market. Get one while you can. They won’t be around for long.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Australia used to have high import tariffs. The game was rigged to favor the domestic auto producers.

      Australia has been steadily reducing import tariffs to the point that they are no longer a factor in shaping the car market. And sure enough, that has led to changes in consumption habits.

      The Falcon/Commodore concept was driven by the tariff regime. Australia is a small market, so domestic production could only survive if it could support a minimal number of high-volume common platforms. This business model worked in the past when regulations helped to make it work, but globalization has since killed off the viability of this approach.

      • 0 avatar

        Tariffs are most certainly a factor in shaping the car market. Do you know how much import tariff there is on a Japanese built Mazda 6? 5%. How about a Thai built Honda CRV? 0%.

        We have a free trade agreement with Asia’s emerging Automotive superpower. *facepalm*

  • avatar
    pacificpom2

    There is no way that Ford NA will allow Ford Aus to upstage their large cars under current management. The Falcon/Territory will die as, as stated before, they do not fit into “one world, one car” apart from they will be a competitor to the varius taurii and lincolns and SUV’s.

    Fords lineup in Oz will be Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo, and whatever SUV they create from the new Ranger. The large car segment, if there is one will probaly be filled with a Taurus variant.

    As for the death of Commodore, Holden (GM) line up will be Barina, Cruze, Cruze Wagon, Malibu, Captiva SUV, Colarado, Colarado 7 (SUV)

    No room for a large RWD sedan, unless they import Buick Park Avenues from China, and Camaro from Canada

    If they want to keep the lines open here at Elizabeth, which is building Cruze and Commodore variants, perhaps they will swap lines and build RHD Malibu’s suitably renamed (Torana/TT36 anyone?)

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    “The irony is that Chrysler may be the only one left selling a big, powerful rear-drive sedan. The 300C SRT8 has become quite popular Down Under, and at this rate, it could be the last bloke standing in the segment.”

    I’ve seen some hard numbers (in the press) and the above statement is ludicrous. Chrysler would absolutely LOVE to sell the whole 300 car line at say 10K units volume. It isn’t happening, and it don’t see it happening in a long time.

    Regarding Commodore, Falcon and what the press says… big cars account for roughly 20% of the market. The owners of that are for the most part red and blue.

    Unless something catastrophic happens in the segment or the economy between now and ’16, I’m not seeing either team walking away from that. The thing here is how the offer is going to look like then.

    Deveroux has said that there will be 2 car lines or platforms or whatever (words have been played a lot during these 2 years) and that they’re “locked in”. That can be read in many different ways.

    Ford is playing another song… and then surprisingly teased what would account for a theoretical FH Falcon. Also surprise surprise, the noise in the Falcon side has gone down considerably in the media. Again, that can be read in many different ways.

    This is far from settled. I would put money in that both will have a RWD offering after ’16 down here. I can’t quite put my finger on what they will look like, but both will sit on global platforms for sure. I guess which ones, but I prefer not to speculate openly on that.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      In 2012, the Commodore and the Falcon combined for a whopping 4% of the Australian market, less than 45,000 cars in total.

      http://bestsellingcarsblog.com/2013/01/05/australia-december-2012-mazda3-and-toyota-camry-amaze-again/

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        Commodore was the #2 best selling car in Australia in 2011 and the #4 in 2012, per the link you posted. You would be amazed to see how many Commodores are on the road there!

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Aren’t you kind of torturing te stats. Another way to look at it, the Commodore was the number 7 seller in Australia, a market that sold only 1.1 million vehicles for the year. The Ford Falcon wasn’t even in the top twenty. Combined they about tie with the top selling Mazda3 in a highly fragmented market.

        Holden was the number two brand in Australia, with 114K units sold in 2012, bested only by Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The Commodore has become a fleet queen. According to this, Commodore fleet sales during the first half of 2011 were 71% of the total: http://news.drive.com.au/drive/motor-news/public-snubs-local-icons-20110715-1hgi1.html

        Given current trends, that situation is probably only going to get worse. The Falcon and Commodore sedans and wagons used to absolutely dominate the family car market, while enthusiasts went ga-ga over the performance versions, but that is no longer the case.

        Unless the Commodore becomes part of a world car program, it’s unsustainable (and if it does become a world car, they’d be better off building it somewhere else and importing it to Australia.)

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Thanks Pch101 – definitely think the VF platform has world car potential, but the Australian dollar makes down under assmebly untenable.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Agreed. The 300 had some sort of clout several years back but its design is dated and it overall dynamics leave a lot to be desired. Chrysler has had a lot more success with the Jeep.Grand Cherokee.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    Time for me to pull $50k out of my ass and buy a Ute and a Falcon…Ute. I bet the gray market import costs to US are insane, however.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Commodore and Falcon styling would never fly with the “Hot Rod/Car Craft/NASCAR” V8 RWD crowd. The 04-06 GTO still is called ‘blasphamy’ by old Boomers. This is why the Mopar LX cars are doing OK, style, as stated by someone above.

    “Oh the G8 shoulda, woulda…”
    See above, gearheads hate the styling “It don’t look like no Pontiac” or “It looks furrin”. OTOH, those who like speedy cars but not into showy style, rarely buy brand new. Mostly used and heavily modded 60′s bodied rides.

    Base V6 powered G8′s were true flops. Too pricey for Grand Prix/Grand Am owners who used huge reabtes for to trade ins. “I ain’t paying $35K for a furrin Pontiac!” Some uneducated “car fans” may have actaully thought the Holden Ponchos were “Toyotas”, mixing them up with Vibes.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      If you paid $35K for a base G8 that STICKERED for $27K new, you were an idiot. An identically equipped 2008 Grand Prix with the base 200HP V6 had a higher sticker price than the base G8 – which had 56 more HP, RWD, about a second faster 0 to 60 and the same brakes, suspension, rear end, steering, rims and tires as the GT.

      The lowest price I’ve seen for a non-salvage base G8 is around $15K. Most people would dream of holding 60% value on a 5 year domestic anything. That same 2008 Grand Prix, you’d be lucky to get $10K

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      You get the same negative reaction here to US Pickups, not enough design presence.

  • avatar
    ajla

    How hard would it be to convert the Caprice to a Park Avenue?

    • 0 avatar
      pacificpom2

      The Park Avenue is the Caprice. Originally built in Australia to be exported to China, now Buick China builds them with all the required Chinese luxury bits for the rear seats. The very large car market in Australia for Aussie built sedans just ain’t there anymore. With Ford capitulating with the removal of the Fairlane & LTD variants, only Holden with the Statesman & Caprice wre left holding up the locals. Buick took on the Caprice for China, and the PPV was developed in Melbourne for the US market.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        So does the China Buick grille and badges directly swap with the Caprice’s Chevy ones?

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @ajla- Buick China web link for Park Avenue- http://www.buick.com.cn/ParkAvenue/specifications.aspx

        Looks like mostly a grille swap from Caprice as far as exterior appearance.

        We had a Caprice with Northstar successor, Ultra V8, running around GM Powertrain Engineering HQ back in 2008. The car looks very classy in the flesh. Zeta’s were planned for Chevy, Buick and Cadillac in addition to Pontiac G8. Those plans died in bankruptcy not long after UV8 was shelved do to lack of funds to put it into production.

        Expect new GM to do more than swap grilles for new entries.

  • avatar

    On the fleet issue, personal leasing is contained in those stats. For some reason leasing is very popular *scratches head*.

    On those sales figures, 4% for a single product is actually pretty good market share.

    Something to replace the Commodore, would have to improve on that. Good luck trying to build one.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    Not so many years ago EVERY taxi in Australia was a Holden or Falcon manufactured or converted to use LPG. Now these taxis are rare. Taxis seem to be mostly Prius or Camry hybrids. I wonder what effect that has had on the numbers?

    • 0 avatar

      I was in a Prius taxi in Darwin last year that had over 500,000 kms, and the only way to describe it was like being in Blade Runner: everything was futuristic but at the same time shitty and broken.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      Melbourne is still filled with Falcon and some Commodores. It seems that some Aurion got there during the last gen runout, but not many. Prius and Civic hybrid are not very popular there for that duty.

  • avatar
    Dr.Nick

    Australia is likely to remain am expensive place to produce vehicles. If the import tariffs aren’t bad, producing cars in Australia doesn’t look feasible in the future.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    Denvermike,
    You have a point there. I wonder if Alan Mullaly knows anything about this as he is pretty new to the job and probably is not aware of all the details Globally?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @DenverMike
    Hi mate, Robert Ryans mate from Pickuptrucks.com, the one you refered to in one of your previous posts in this comment thread.

    I do think you don’t have very good knowledge on what goes on down here in Australia. As you know I live in the Top End of the Northern Territory about 300 or so kilometres from Darwin.

    I do have significant exposure to our RV market, actually one of the best in Australia because the Top End probably is one of the most sought destinations for our Grey Nomads. Grey Nomads are retirees who use RVs, Caravan, 5th wheeler etc and travel around Australia much the same as your RV set in the USA.

    Here are some corrections you should listen too and maybe gain some insight on our vehicle market in Australia.

    1. US style half ton pickups will not sell in great numbers in Australia. Why? We have mid sizers, especially the new ones like my BT50 plus the Ford Ranger (global), VW Amarok, Colorado and Izuzu Dmax. These vehicles can carry the same payload as some of your HDs and can tow very similar weights to your half ton pickups. The bonus is we have these mid sizers with over 400ftlb of torque getting about or over 30mpg on the highway.

    2. There are not many US pickups on our roads. There are several reasons for this, cost versus quality, spares availibility, access to vehicles with the same or better capacity with better fuel economy. Where I live I see more RVs that are Fiat/Transit Ducatos up to 27 feet long, Our current breed of mid sizers towing 25′ plus caravans (camper trailers).

    3. Australia’s local car industry was protected until the mid 80s then not only our car industry but our whole economy began to liberalise. We now have the second freest economy in the world. Not like the heavily subsidised US/Euro/Japanese economies which are more socialist. Your pickup market is the only thing keeping the Big 3 afloat at the moment and is heavily protected by your CAFE/EPA arrangements, your safety/design regulations, 25% import tariff on pickups, bailouts etc.

    4. If mid sizers and even our Holden/Ford utes entered your market they would sell. You will find that the take up on mid sizers like we have with diesel getting 30mpg and over 400ftlb of torque will take a sizeable portion of your half ton and some HD sales.

    As for the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon demise, I think that Ford and GM have done themselves a misservice. Because these companies had to compete against real imports from other countries now for 30 years they have become the highest quality product for Ford and GM. Maybe their Australian operations should be building BMW, Audi, Merc competitors.

    There is a company in Queensland importing high(est) end twin cab Tundras, they are selling for $115 000. The cost increase in just a conversion like you stated. Money has been spent improving the quality of the vehicle due to poorer build quality. The US vehicles are not the best quality in the world, actually in between Chinese and Korean vehicles.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    Glad to see you on the TTAC forums Big Al From OZ


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