Farewell Commodore: 1978-2019

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

Commodore cover Commodore cover

It might not be a surprise to many, but today’s news still hits hard

It’s no secret that our once roaring Lion had left been seriously wounded; with many of us wondering how long the storied Holden Commodore nameplate would stick around.

But today it’s official: in light of a drastic local portfolio restructuring, from 2020 onwards Holden "has elected to retire the ZB Commodor".

The Commodore name is dead.

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The news follows a hard slog for Holden. Sales have been tumbling since its factory closure in October 2017, with last November posting its lowest results in the brand’s 70 year history.

AUSSIE COMMODORE HISTORY by Glenn Torrens:

VB-VC; VH-VK; VL; VN + VG ute; VP + VQ Statesman & Caprice; VR-VS; VT-VX; VY-VZ + V2 Monaro; VE-VF.

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The news comes just weeks after former Chairman David Buttner marked the latest departure in a revolving door of senior figures.

It’s a tremendous fall from grace for Holden, who once boasted a near 50 per cent market share, and its centrepiece Commodore which commanded a 15-year run as Australia’s "best-selling car".

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"The decision to retire the Commodore nameplate has not been taken lightly by those who understand and acknowledge its proud heritage" said acting Chairman and Managing Director, Kristian Aquilina.

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He went on to say that "Holden is taking this decisive action to ensure a sharp focus on the largest and most buoyant market segments", that being the SUV and Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) sectors.

"The SUV Sector is approaching half a million units, and LCVs over 200,000 units. That’s where the action is and that’s where we are going to play".

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From 2020, the Holden range of cars will consist of: Acadia, Trailblazer, Equinox and Trax SUVs; and the Colorado dual-cab ute.

Since the VB Commodore launched on that fateful Spring Thursday back in October of 1978, the homegrown Lion had been a fixture of the Australian landscape, with generations of Aussies brought up in the back seats of its successive 16 models, through to the last generation of imported ZBs.

As we bid farewell to the Commodore today for good; let us not remember it for how it left, but remember it for how it was.

  • Over the past 42 years, Commodore has spanned 16 models: VB, VC, VH, VK, VL, VN, VP, VR, VS, VT, VX, VY, VZ, VE, VF and ZB
  • Over three million Commodores have been sold since the launch of the VB
  • Commodore posted a 1-2-3 finish at the 1979 Repco around Australia Reliability Trial
  • Commodore has won five Wheels Car of the Year awards
  • Commodore won 16 Australian Touring Car/Supercars Championships
  • Commodore has won the Bathurst 1000 26 times

 

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