The Holden Commodore ute, an Australia-only automotive icon, could be relegated to the history books in 2016 due to falling sales in the face of increased consumption of pick-up trucks imported from Japan and Thailand, News.com.au reports. Year-to-date, Holden Commodore ute sales have slipped 31 percent.
Holden hasn't said officially that the ute will be axed, but it reportedly told News Corp Australia that if the automaker is still manufacturing in 2016 and beyond that it will adopt two global vehicle platforms, neither of which will be made into a ute.
But according to News, less than one in 10 new-vehicle deliveries are built in Australia. And despite Thailand's production advantage due to cheap labor, it has a free-trade agreement with the Aussies, and has attracted a zero-percent tariff since 2010.
Four-wheel-drive pick-ups from Thailand accounted for 100,000 sales in Australia in the first nine months of the year. Last year, Toyota delivered more than 40,000 HiLux pick-ups, making it Australia's second-best-selling vehicle. Compare that to 4,100 Commodore ute deliveries this year. On a side note, the Ford Falcon ute only sold 3,500 units, and it will reportedly be phased out in 2016. Utes had their best year in 2004, when Holden and Ford each sold more than 20,000 of them.
While the Commodore ute sales have continued to slip in the past year, sales of the new VF Commodore sedan and wagon have increased 15 percent since they went on sale in June.