After months of waiting, Holden has officially announced the Commodore is no more. A massive drop in sales has seen the company shift its focus to utes and SUVs.
First introduced in 1978 with the VB Commodore, the iconic nameplate stayed on past 2017 when Holden wrapped up Australian manufacturing of the sedan, moving the Commodore name to the Opel Insignia from 2018 onwards.
Sales have dropped to a projected figure of 8,700 in 2019. A far cry from the 217,882 units sold in 1998 which set off a 12 year stint at the top of the sales charts.
Nameplate to remain in Supercars until 2021
The ZB Commodore made its Supercars championship debut at the start of 2018. It swept the first round of the championship in Adelaide before going on to win the Bathurst 1000 in the hands of Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards.
Though the ZB hasn’t won a championship yet, being the new first car unable to do so in its debut championship year since Ford’s updated BF Falcon in 2007, it will have two more attempts as Holden remains committed to taking on the Supercars championship with the model until the end of 2021.
“Holden recently re-committed to racing in Supercars through until the end of 2021, and that will happen with the currently homologated ZB Commodore race car,” read a statement from the manufacturer.
“Racing is a strong part of Holden’s brand identity and we will assess our options as Supercars continues to evolve its rules for the next generation of cars currently due to be introduced in 2022.”
The next Generation
The new Gen3 set of Supercars regulations are set to be implemented from 2022, looking to draw in new manufacturers after the Car of the Future/Gen2 framework failed to retain the three other marques which entered the category.
Over its 40-season history in the Supercars/Australian Touring Car Championship, the Commodore brand has won 18 drivers titles, first with Peter Brock in 1980 and most recently with Jamie Whincup’s seventh title in 2017.
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The factory-backed Holden Racing Team, operated by Triple Eight Race Engineering, homologated the car and will continue to use it with backing from the Australian arm of General Motors, despite team owner Roland Dane previously saying he didn’t want to look like a used car dealership when referencing Ford teams running the Falcon FGX in 2018.
“We don’t want to look like a second-hand car yard,” Dane said to Auto Action in 2018.
“If we’ve got cars that are not available anymore, with shapes that belong to a bygone era, you can only do that for a limited time. I don’t think that’s in anyone’s interest, and I don’t think there is any need to do it.”