Australian General Motors subsidiary Holden on Tuesday announced that its current ZB-generation Commodore sedan and wagon will be the last, with the nameplate to be retired in 2020.
Holden will also stop selling the Astra hatchback in 2020 as part of a plan to transition to a mostly SUV and pickup truck lineup. Like in the United States, sales of passenger cars in the Australian market have been on a steady decline and the trend doesn't appear to be ending anytime soon.
Australian sales of the Commodore peaked at 94,642 units in 1998 but hovered around 9,000 units in 2018. The decline since the start of 2018 was also due to the end of production of the Commodore in Australia the year before, ending a four-decade run of locally produced Commodores. There was also a fundamental shift in the design that saw a rear-wheel-drive offering with available V-8s move to a front-wheel-drive offering with 4- and 6-cylinder engines only.
2019 Holden Commodore
The current Commodore is a twin to the Buick Regal sold in the United States and China and the Opel Insignia sold in Europe. Holden sources the car from former German GM subsidiary Opel, with GM having to pay Opel to build the cars since Opel was sold to France's PSA Group in 2017. GM also sources the Regal from Opel for sale in North America, though Regals sold in China are built by GM locally. Holden also sources the Astra from Opel.
Holden's decision to end sales of the Commodore comes less than a week after we learned that Buick will also end sales of the Regal in North America next year. Part of the reason is that Opel will introduce an updated version of the Insignia next year.
Holden's lineup has always consisted of a mix of vehicles from multiple GM brands but primarily Chevrolet in recent years. Holden over the decades has consistently been among the top three most popular brands in Australia but with the end of local production of the Commodore, the brand has dropped outside of the top ten. This has led to rumors that GM may eventually replace Holden with Chevrolet in the Australian and New Zealand markets.
2019 Holden lineup