By on February 10, 2015


You might be thinking that in a fit of absent-mindedness, I’ve mistakenly put a photo of a Opel Insignia or Buick Regal as the main image – and technically, you’re right. But the car above, though it’s difficult to see, is actually wearing a Holden badge.

As Just-Auto reports, the very first Holden Insignia VXR has just been built at Opel’s factory in Germany. Although the Insignia VXR is intended to be a low volume model for now, it won’t last long.

The next Commodore will be based on a front-drive GM platform, almost certainly the Epsilon II architecture that underpins the Insignia and other D-segment GM offerings. The rear-drive layout, along with the V8 engine, will be jettisoned for transverse 4 and 6 cylinder engines. Meanwhile, other Opel products will trickle into Holden’s lineup, along with products from GM Daewoo and other global divisions, as part of Holden’s transition into a “sales and marketing” company, rather than a producer of domestic automobiles.

Sad as it may be for the enthusiast, mourning the loss of the rear-drive Commodore is like crying over spilled milk. Sales of the Commodore are nowhere near their peak levels, and Australia is moving away from large sedans into SUVs, pickups, crossovers and smaller, more fuel-efficient compact cars. Where the Commodore and Falcon once reigned, the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 have taken their place.

On the other hand, we’ll be lucky to get a Commodore that isn’t made in China.


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36 Comments on “The Future Of The Holden Commodore, In One Image...”

  • avatar

    Mission Accomplished.

  • avatar

    Opel engineering is used for vehicles in China, the EU, the US and now Australia (again). How do GM then manage it the Opel posts losses? In 2014 they were getting through a few hundred million euros per quarter but sold more cars than Renault. Is this an accountancy trick, I wonder. The profits on the cars sold outside the EU really ought to be included on some pro rata basis and I expect they aren´t. Opel probably provides the design services for free so that their figures look bad and then it´s easier to argue for them to close plants that they don´t feel they want. I am not offering this as a categorical statement of truth, more an idea that I´d be interested to hear opinions on. I´m agnostic on the topic due to a lack of other insight. Maybe the wise heads here have some ideas that could support or challenge my notion.

    • 0 avatar

      GM Europe is heavy on cheaper fleet sales, low on revenue per unit. Opel lacks the branding power of the German luxury marques, which relegates it to the lower end and a lot of rental while shutting it out of the lucrative luxury company car business in Germany, which is Europe’s largest car market.

      In many ways, the European business resembles what GMNA used to be like pre-BK, except that it doesn’t have full-size pickups to add fat margins. Those Silverados help a lot.

      • 0 avatar

        Pch101: The odd thing is that Opel sells so many cars that are in the top ten. You´d think one especially hot car (popular) and tweaking their overall costs could adjust the loss to a small profit if not roaring commercial success. They don´t lose vast amounts every year but an amount that seems to be just over the boundary between profit and loss. If they got a few dollars for every car they designed for sale outside the EU I think the numbers would tip into the black.

        • 0 avatar

          As I noted, it’s a revenue problem. Those cars sell for low prices.

        • 0 avatar

          Is it not a cost problem? Opel sells the cars and must have quite a high turnover. It seems the costs are at the core of the problem. If Opel sold another 20,000 cars I still think they´d lose money. That means cuts the cost of the cars intelligently. They can´t raise the price yet (or maybe ever) though Skoda show you can if you have two decades to wait.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      I do see many Opel based GM’s in the US with Buick badges.

      Even our Commodores when sold in the US don’t use the Chev badge often.

      The SS is really the only one.

      The Australian market will become like the rest of the world. It’s been heading that way for a couple of decades now.

      A lot don’t want a large vehicle. When they want a large vehicle they buy a pickup or Landcruiser/Patrol or large SUV/CUV.

      I think they figure if you have a large vehicle, why not have more utility offered.

      Sounds familiar?

  • avatar

    So basically Holden is now a Frakenbrand mashup of Chevrolet, Opel, and Daewoo.

    • 0 avatar

      ’twas ever thus. The Holden line-up by model count, albeit not necessarily sales, has always been dominated by oversea built GMH product. Even the Commodore design was Frankensteinian to varying degrees throughout its life (e.g. Opel platforms made RWD with Buick engines shoehorned in). And the recent addition of local Cruze manf. barely counts as such given a significant portion of it is Korean supplied CKD.

      • 0 avatar

        No it has not been dominated by “Overseas Built GM product” Major problem is the overseas stuff sold poorly or was discontinued. The Commodore is more like the F150 in the US, tha main engine room of the Companies existence

  • avatar

    I guess it is goodbye Holden and GM from Australia. They are floundering now, with no CEO(last one from the U.S. was sacked by GM because of incompetence)
    Their sales overall are in the toilet. Only hope it appears is a design centre, that is copying what Ford is doing

  • avatar

    So are Australian roads still notoriously terrible? I thought that was part of the reason for retaining BOF for the local manufacturers.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      I hope your comment was a joke!

      PPV, Chev SS?

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      From what I can gather our roads are really not much different than the US or EU.

      We don’t have thousands of kilometers of limited access highways. The are concentrated in the SE of the country.

      Distance between urban centres is a big impost in Australia. We have the population of Greater NY or the state of Texas in an are the size of mainland USA. Canada is very similar in that respect.

      Here’s a link, actually some EU nations have more road per capita than the USA. This surprised me.

    • 0 avatar

      Not the reason at all for BOF in Australia. If you said RWD versus FWD, then RWD would be an easy winner for large cars
      As we are buying at least 30% SUV’s and roughly 15% Pickups, AWD and RWD make up a large percentage of sales
      Paved roads are better than in the US,and on a percentage basis more than the US.but we have a lot of dirt roads , vastly more than the U.S,as result many more 4×4 Diesel SUV’s sold

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    As sad as it is to see the Australian auto manufacturing off shore, it was necessary.

    The tax payer will no longer subsidise an uncompetitive part of an industry.

    Like I stated quite some time back regarding this move, I think in Australia the retention of the high paying jobs in design and engineering is better.

    Don’t forget we only lost the ineffective and subsidised part makers. The profitable and competitive ones will remain.

    The auto workers in Australia were overpaid, this was created by more and more handouts given. Poor management decisions all based on how much of a handout received also distorted the industry.

    Most of our vehicles now will come from countries who’s taxpayers are subsidising what we drive. Life is great! Every American car is subsidised directly by $3 000USD. Our cars were subsidised by $2 000.

    So we could potentially save thousands on new vehicles, even more when the 5% import tax is removed. But is it a import tax, when all vehicles we get are charged 5%?

    I’d much rather have German than Chinese vehicles.

  • avatar

    It is what it is.

    I really enjoy my G8 GT. When it was released at its price point it was so hard to beat, and despite its short comings in some areas, vastly better than the two vehicles it replaced (Grand Prix / Bonneville).

    It has also proven out via True Delta to be a highly reliable platform – early production 09 models had the most issues with some bad Eaton lifters. GM has overall been pretty good at standing behind replacing them for customers. The current problem cropping up as the cars are now 6 and 7 years old is bad power door lock actuators. PITA issue but not huge sums of money to deal with.

    It just is what it is, and lets not forget the Ford Falcon is dead also.

    It really is the era of the last great V8 Interceptors.

  • avatar

    So this means that nearly every Opel will wear four badges — Opel, Vauxhall, Buick, and Holden. That’s sort of staggering.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    It stinks someone couldn’t take responsibility, whether its unions, workers, handout taking car companies, and instead lets 1000’s of jobs go down the drain.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s more of a macro factor in terms of trends…the strong Aussie dollar (thanks to strong commodity exports in recent years), coupled with a small market (couldn’t get economies of scale), as well as decreasing tariff levels over the years made that untenable.

      I think the Australian government tried to get more rationalization over the years (such as the Button Plan) but that didn’t really take. The AUD value also made exports not very competitive.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes I suspect a big problem in the two Australian States involved

  • avatar

    Part of the reason to buy a Holden was the perception of its Aussie heritage.
    That advantage is now entirely gone, and tragically, this brand will diminish into an also-ran.

  • avatar

    Chevy is not the brand for Australia, its even more bogan than Holden. Chevy, will compete with Mitsubishi, but Mitsubishi at least has Japanese quality.

    anyway, the market here is so fragmented that dropping Holden just makes a bad decision worse.

    Currency rates, the swings of the Aussie dollar helped kill the industry, now with a weaker dollar, the better Aussie factories would be profitable, perhaps Toyota’s anyway.

    • 0 avatar

      “Astra, Cascada and Insignia are renowned in Europe for their performance credentials and premium execution, making them the perfect addition to Holden’s range as we continue to offer more choice for our customers,” said Holden executive director of marketing Bill Mott, who previously led the short-lived Opel Australia operation”

      Amazing beat up, from Bill Mott. He had the exact same cars launched and failed within 6 months, two years ago
      A really farcical statement from GM

  • avatar

    Being both an Australian and a car enthusiast, this is a very sad sight to see. Growing up, I longed for a Holden Commodore or Ford Falcon. Both were fast, roomy, solid, and unique in the world; aside from the US, nowhere else were rear wheel drive, V8 (or straight six) family cars being built. The last few generations have also been very stylish. The rest of the world seemed to pumping out mostly soulless appliances.

    There was a sense of pride in having an Australian designed and built car. We’re a small country in terms of population, and the fact that we could support ourselves brought a sense of pride.

    However, it was inevitable in a global market that this would happen. Designing and building separate models for a country with the population of Texas was not financially feasible. Sales of the Commodore have slipped, and the Ford Falcon, once the top selling car in Australia for decades, is not even in the top 20 anymore. Australians are an urban population and most of us live in cities. There’s no need for a large car that can easily eat up miles of desolate road in the Outback. The writing has been on the wall for some time.

    The logical part of brain says that this makes sense, but the emotional part is dying knowing that the world will soon be without a true Commodore, Ford Falcon, or any utes. Part of everyday Aussie culture is about to disappear

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