By on May 24, 2013


With the launch of the all-new VF Commodore just around the corner, Holden’s Mike Deveraux doesn’t Ford’s bad news to steal the limelight away from his very important product introduction.

Amid a backdrop of constant squabbling between the governing party and the opposition, Deveraux urged both sides to find common ground over the fate of Australia’s auto industry

“…both sides of the equation understand how critical the auto industry is to the economy and how plugged-in in terms of its viability. We have a pretty solid plan. We will need to work closely with the opposition and government to make sure that Australia’s policy setting are competitive globally.”

As of April, the Commodore was ranked #10 in Australia’s sales chart and in danger of slipping. With the tide turning against large rear-drive sedans, Deveraux and Holden have to figure out how they’ll build cars for the Australian market without turning Holden into just another outpost for rebadged GM global products. Rumors of the Commodore becoming front-drive would be a blow for enthusiasts, and bring an end to Australia’s muscle car era, but may end up aligning better with market tastes. Ironically, Chrysler could end up being the lone auto maker to offer a rear-drive sedan in Australia should that scenario take place.

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17 Comments on “Holden Sticking With Australia Despite High Costs...”

  • avatar

    There are times when the past is the past, and the product must change to keep up with the changing market. There’s nothing sacrosanct about a V-8 powered rear drive sedan that makes its existence in the marketplace mandatory.

    Last I looked, Jesus didn’t drive a rear-drive V-8 through the gates of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

    • 0 avatar

      Jesus rode a dinosaur.

    • 0 avatar

      Back then a donkey was a pretty sweet ride. I’ll bet that people mourned the loss of the donkey to the horse as the preferred means of transport. I am not sure about these untrustworthy new fangled horses, give me my dependable donkey back!
      Sadly, change is abhorrent to some people. I say embrace it!

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Right about that. While there may always be a place for a V-8 powered rear-drive sedan, that place seems to be shrinking. I don’t know how much independence the Holden folks have from GM, but they need to ask themselves whether they want to be a volume builder, or a niche builder. If they want to be a volume seller, they’re going to have to abandon V-8 rwd sedans, it seems.

      • 0 avatar

        GM did well by making the Commodore on more of a global platform than Ford did with the FG Falcon. You’re right that the market exists for these cars that could easily support a factory, that market just isn’t constrained to Australia. They need to be able to ship them all over the world to make it work.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        GM is an integrated global company with a centrally managed product development organization with regional centers. Manufacturing is similarly integrated. Holden is the Australian part of GM, not an independent operation. Whatever comes next will require a solid business case for Holden to continue local manufacturing.

        Maybe Holden can pick up the RWD volume Ford is apparently walking away from.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Jesus drove an Accord. But you’d never know that, because he didn’t speak of his own Accord.

  • avatar

    Check Chevrolet Worldwide, at the bottom of the Chevrolet homepage. The Commodore platform is being used in a number of other countries, although not as many as three years ago.

  • avatar

    With the disappearance of the Falcon, there might yet be enough sales to build another V8 RWD Commodore …

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed – with one less player it may help the Commodore.

      As others have noted, the VE/VF platforms are sold today in China, the Middle East, Europe (including the UK), the United States, and I believe Brazil. They are sold under the nameplates of Chevrolet, Vauxhall, and Buick, depending on the country.

      The bigger problem is very strong Aussie dollar is killing the export business. The platform itself is excellent – the Falcons fate was sealed as it was only in Australia, and for whatever reason really fell out of favor with the Aussie car buying public (while the Commodore is in decline, Falcon sales went off a cliff)

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    in Australia,it’s not the car buyers not wanting the old commode or dunny door,(as GMS product is known locally) it’s labor/green political policy in the various states which says any car with a V8 must be a gas guzzler so the anual registration costs are ramped up. Here,in Queensland,it costs around $1200 dollars per year to register any v8,whether it’s a 7 liter Monaro or a 3.8 liter elderly Mercedes. on top of that is the rampant raping of the motorists wallet by the two grocery chains ,Coles and Woolworths who control all main fuel sales. premium grade fuel averages $1.60 per liter and with no competition the coles/woolies duopoly can charge what they like.
    Then there is the woeful quality and equally woeful resale value of both Ford and Holden. Any owner of a new Falcon will tell stories of how the auto trans failed just after the warrenty expired because the trans cooler leaked into the radiator,filling the trans with coolant. Or how the first of the Chev powered Holdens couldn’t be driven in town in drive because the trans would overheat and die. And on it goes.
    new car buyers can buy a mitsubishi for $12,000 ,yet 2nd hand dealers still delude themselves by offering 10 year old Falcons for $20,000 .Finance deals have interest rates so low it’s as if the new car sellers are giving cars away…which they probably are. As the deal worked out by the manufacturers sees the dealer being paid a bonus for each car ‘sold’ .So they dont rely on the profit they would normally have to earn themselves on each sale.
    With foolish Politicians in Australia only too willing to prop up thier union mates (union leadership that is,not rank and file workers) by handing over billions in borrowed money there hasn’t been any incentive in australia for decades for the car manufacturers to strive to make a profit. They just dont need too.
    Little wonder the OZ sharemarket dived yesterday on late Friday trading, why would anyone park money in a shakey economy like ours?

    • 0 avatar

      i think a lot of that is true

      like many parts of the world, the place is getting very anti car, and anti BIG car

      if it costs the better part of $1,000+ to register and then another $1,000 on insurance + fuel costs + police enforcement then certainly who needs a V8 rwd car?

      automatic transmissions are in everyone’s blood and yes, the 4L60/65 crap will swear me off GM autos for life

      Ford did the right thing by moving to ZF

      Holden will have the high end enthusiast market because obviously 6.2 liter supercharged manual 4,000lb rockets will always have a market with the immature (I like them!) but yeah.. as other people have said… this market will be CUVs, full frame compact diesel utilities (as low as $22,000 for a chinese one!) or B/C segment hatches which may be hybrid… everything else is niche

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    Commodore annual Australian sales since 2002


    Fancy beating that trend?

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