General Motors’ Australian unit Holden announced last year that it will end production in Australia in 2017. At the time, Holden bosses said the cherished Commodore name, which has only ever been used for rear-wheel-drive sedans built in Australia, will be retained for a future front-wheel-drive large car imported from overseas.
Now it’s being reported that the higher ups at General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] want to retire the Commodore name, most likely due to fears Aussie buyers will shun a Commodore not built in Australia. It was reported that GM officials were even considering replacing the Holden brand with Chevrolet if popularity in the Aussie brand was significantly weakened after the 2017 production shutdown.
Carsguide is reporting that current Holden sales and marketing executive Phil Brook is pleading with GM’s head of sales and marketing for its international operations, Mike Devereux, himself a former Holden boss, to save the Commodore name. Brook has denied the claims but said the use of the Commodore name for Holden’s next large car is “up for discussion.”
As for what car will replace the current rear-wheel-drive Commodore, a high-performance version of which is sold here as the Chevrolet SS, it is now thought to be a large front-wheel-drive sedan with coupe-like styling to be twinned by an Opel or Buick model (or both). Production will likely take place at an Opel plant in Germany, though it’s been previously reported that production could take place in China.
Holden’s main rival in Australia, Ford, has also confirmed plans to end production Down Under. Unlike GM, Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] has confirmed that it won’t be using the Falcon name for its own Aussie-built rear-wheel-drive sedan beyond a planned 2016 production shutdown.