The Holden Commodore and Holden Astra have been discontinued for the 2020 model year, with General Motors Australia choosing to move away from passenger cars and focus on its truck and SUV business instead.
The discontinuation of these cars isn’t surprising, with both using platforms that were developed by Opel while it was still owned by GM. Now that Opel is owned and operated by France’s Groupe PSA, GM is moving away from these cars, which it has to pay Opel to produce. The ZB Holden Commodore shares a platform with the Opel Insignia, while the BK Holden Astra is based on the Opel Astra.
In addition, GM recently announced it would discontinue the Buick Regal in the U.S. after the 2020 model year, which shares a platform with the Opel Insignia and ZB Commodore.
In a statement, Holden managing director Kristian Aquilina said the company “is taking this decisive action to ensure a sharp focus on the largest and most buoyant market segments.” The company’s SUV and Ute businesses have accounted for 76 percent of its sales so far this year, and Aquilina says this is a trend that the automaker believes will continue for the foreseeable future.
Holden says the large car segment in Australia was at its peak in 1998, when it accounted for 217,882 sales. By comparison, it is projected to come in at about 8,700 units total for this year. Meanwhile, the SUV segment will approach half a million units in the country this year, while trucks will account for about 200,000 sales in total.
“That’s where the action is and that’s where we are going to play,” Aquilina said of the truck and SUV segments.
The Commodore is an iconic Australian nameplate that was once synonymous with the Holden brand. The sedan lost much of its character and appeal when it switched from a rear-wheel-drive platform to a front-wheel-drive platform for the ZB generation, though the nameplate will still be missed by Holden enthusiasts once it departs.
“The decision to retire the Commodore nameplate has not been taken lightly by those who understand and acknowledge its proud heritage,” Aquilina explained. “The large sedan was the cornerstone of Australian and New Zealand roads for decades. But now with more choice than ever before, customers are displaying a strong preference for the high driving position, functionality and versatility of SUVs and Utes.”
Sales and deliveries of the Commodore and Astra will continue throughout 2020, though Holden warns that model availability will diminish throughout the year, as it won’t be stocking new vehicles. Holden will of course continue to back warranty and roadside assistance commitments for existing Commodore and Astra buyers.
The automaker is also offering seven-year free scheduled servicing on all 2019 model-year ZB Commodore and BK Astra vehicles ordered from December 9th onwards in an attempt to help shuffle out remaining stock.
Holden sales are down 26.6 percent in the first nine months of 2019, significantly outpacing the Australian market’s slowdown of eight percent. September was also the first time its monthly sales results have dipped below 3,000 units, with the brand moving just 2,863 vehicles throughout the month.