Holden’s VE Commodore, which went on sale just two months ago, has failed to meet expectations and is facing a 12-year low for sales of large cars in its homeland. Conversely, the Commodore is enjoying immense success in export markets including the Middle East and Asia and it could even be sent to or manufactured in the US where it will be sold as a Pontiac. Reuters
is now reporting that Holden will be shipping a luxury Calais version to Europe for appraisal by General Motors ahead of a V8 performance model that will be sold under Vauxhall in the UK.
Opel hasn’t had a large rear-drive car since the Omega, which the original Commodore was based on, since the 1990’s. Now, Holden might fill the gap with its all new VE. The major hurdle is that the market for large cars is shrinking and already saturated. Secondly, Europe will also require a turbodiesel unit, something that is at least two years away and finally, GM Europe president Carl-Peter Forster is opposed importing the Commodore to Europe.
Despite GM patting itself on the back over the launch of the VE, Holden has already made its first recall due to a potential fuel leak with blame being centred on an outside supplier. The problem is isolated to the V8 models only, which include the long-wheelbase Statesman and Caprice, of which the company has moved 1521 units accounting for almost twenty percent of the vehicles sold. The previous Commodore, which was also recalled for a potential fuel leak and fire hazard in 2000, suffered 22 recalls over nine years, making it Australia's most recalled car. What does this latest event say about Holden’s billion dollar baby?