By on March 12, 2020

It will not have escaped your notice that The General has deep-sixed the Holden brand in Australia. To the gearhead Aussies within your author’s circle of friends, this amounts to a treasonous action, especially since Holden is as much part of the Oz fabric as kangaroos and Crocodile Dundee. I’m sure it all makes business sense; matters of the heart are rarely cheap on the wallet.

The binning of a brand usually means one thing: deals. This is situation is no different, so let’s see what equipment one finds in a base model Commodore.

Alert readers will have noticed by now that the modern Commodore is a badge job of the stateside Buick Regal, which itself is a badge job of the Euro-market Opel Insignia. As one may expect, the bottom has fallen out of Holden sales since GM announced it is shuttering the brand, chalking up just 1,367 sales in February (its worst showing since 1948). However, local speculation is that dealers simply pushed most of their sales to March when a raft of massive discounts (reportedly between $7,500 and $17,500) are scheduled to appear in an effort to clear out the dead cars walking.

But back to the specific car at hand. The Regal Insignia Commodore you see here is the base LT model, wearing 17-inch alloy wheels and propelled by a 256-horse, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and nine-speed automatic. Safety kit such as automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist are standard on the entry-level car, along with easily included items like passive entry and push-button start.

Dual-zone climate control permits air conditioning on your side while your significant other cranks the heat to birch-junk levels. That’s a 7-inch color touchscreen handling infotainment duties, one that plays well with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Audio controls are mounted on the steering wheel so you can crank the Commodore Liftback LT’s seven speaker when Bruce decides to play AC/DC or Crowded House.

You’ll make do with cloth seats at this price, mate, as you will with standard headlights (but LEDs do comprise the tail lamps). The exterior mirrors are heated, the tilt/telescope steering wheel is leather wrapped, and a remote start system is included. In all, a well-equipped base model. The shade of Absolute Red shown here is $0.

Will servicing be available down the road? Will the thing be worth much more than scrap value in a couple of years? I’ll leave those questions for minds greater than mine. Pricing for the base Commodore starts at $33,690 in Australia, which is roughly equal to $21,800 on this side of the world. Assuming the largest of discounts are reserved for more expensive Holden vehicles, even the smallest expected blow-em-out rebate slides this well-equipped large car under US$17,000.

Now that’s an Ace of Base win.

[Image: Holden]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

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18 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2020 Holden Commodore Liftback LT...”

  • avatar

    I’d have to imagine driving one of these around Australia would be like driving around with a huge sticker saying “fck Australia”. Sales seem to follow that general idea.

    Going from a much cheaper homegrown RWD base V6 car to a foreign built front drive 4 cylinder at a higher base cost following the selling company trampling all over your countries manufacturing sector – turned out exactly the way everyone predicted. Too far from home for Barra to care.

  • avatar

    “I’m sure it all makes business sense; matters of the heart are rarely cheap on the wallet.”

    I’m not so sure of that when GM is involved. That was the same argument that GM made regarding the Opel & Vauxhall heave-ho but PSA didn’t find that to be true at all.

  • avatar

    Are we absolutely sure that Absolute Red is red, absolutely?

    The TTAC logo reads as red to me.
    The CT5-V several posts down looks red.
    The Dodge Challenger SRT one post down, when viewed in isolation, reads as some version of orange.

    In the context of all that, this “Absolute Red” reads as something else.

    To further muddy the waters:

  • avatar

    GM is the slayer of smaller overseas brands (Holden, Saab etc.). I don’t know how any company would want to get into bed with GM. It seems a company of knee jerk reactions rather than a solid long term strategy of direction and products.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, this is different from Saab. Holden had been a GM brand since 1931, so it’ll be 90 years a GM division when GM officially kills it next year. But yeah, Mary Barra murdered it, since GM doesn’t want to spend the money engineering RWD cars for the Australian market.

      What about Ford? They still sell trucks in Oz, so I assume they’ll stick around?

      • 0 avatar

        “GM doesn’t want to spend the money engineering RWD cars for the Australian market.”

        How many RWD cars does Toyota (the market leader in Australia) sell? How about Mazda? Hyundai?

        GM held onto the RWD Commodore for as long as it could; the market just moved on. People love to blame GM for making crappy cars, but the RWD Commodore wasn’t one of them, and yet sales continued to go in only one direction – down. How can you blame GM for not investing any more into such a market?

        • 0 avatar

          The market turned to imports as Oz tariffs went away, which were the highest imposed on import vehicles that the world has ever seen. Yeah 59% at one point. You can chart downfall of their domestics as tariffs slowly went away.

        • 0 avatar

          Actually, the Commodore was Australias best selling car for 15 years before they killed it. Likewise, Holden was tracking/growing just fine until GM stuck their nose in and sucked all the money out during the GFC.

          At that time, the Zeta platform was being sold on every continent except Antarctica. Maximum Bob was rubbing his hands together in anticipation of Zeta based Cadillacs, and people were actually enjoying driving a half decent Pontiac.

          The G8 Sport Truck was ready to traverse the Pacific, and, exports of the Caprice as a PPV to the Middle East were at an all time high.

          Holden had invested heavily in obtaining a controlling interest in Daewoo, to enable development of lower cost products tuned in the capable hands of Aussie engineers.

          Come GFC, GM went BK and sucked all the cash and opportunity out of Holdens sails.

          • 0 avatar

            Fast forward just 5 years, Daewoo died on the vine (Captiva ran the same platform for 11 years), Impala replaced Caprice in ME (sales fell off a cliff), updates to Commodore were held back, Australian engineers that had successfully exceeded targets (I know of one personally) were no longer getting projects, instead those jobs going to US teams with lower performance.

            That’s not the end of it, but it’s the best I can do off the top of my head, and certainly enough to justify why we could “blame GM”.

      • 0 avatar

        They left the Australian market because they couldn’t be bothered engineering RHD cars. The RWD bit ended when they stopped building cars here (announced 2013,executed 2017).

  • avatar

    Holden – a sorry excuse for an Opel or some other worthless Aussie product.

  • avatar

    All I could really use is a pickup about the size of a Datsun 620 or an early Toyota Stout. No need for 4 wheel drive, or even RWD. No need for leather interior or a sunroof. Half ton payload is probably more than enough.

    Maybe Toyota could build this on the aging Prius V platform. I’d buy one. Perhaps a single-cab version of the Ford Transit Connect?

  • avatar

    $17k for one of these?? Wow, this may be the Ace’ist of Bases.

    That is A LOT of car for $17k. And I’m the opposite of a GM fanboy.

  • avatar

    Do the folks in Australia get more torque when they spec AWD like we Americans do in a Regal?

    (260 lb ft bumped to 295 lb ft when AWD is added.)

  • avatar

    Maybe the Aussie’s love them, I don’t know, but Crowded House are Kiwis. Midnight Oil would have been the proper choice there.

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