Big changes are afoot at Holden. After General Motors opted to shut down its only plants Down Under, its Australian subsidiary is shifting from a manufacturer to an importer of automobiles. The question on everyone's mind, then, has been whether Detroit would keep its Australian nameplates in place, or replace them with global ones.
The word on the yellow-brick roads of Oz has been shifting back and forth, but the latest indicates that GM will kill the Commodore name when the replacement for the current model arrives. Holden's only proprietary model, the rear-drive Commodore sedan, wagon and ute are set to be replaced by a front-drive model to be brought in from either Asia or Europe. And while Holden execs have been pleading their case, it now appears that – because the car will be so fundamentally different from the one it replaces – GM will push the same nameplate it applies to the vehicle in other markets rather than try to port over the Commodore name, killing it alongside the Falcon that Ford is discontinuing as well.
The next question, then, is whether the Holden name will fall with it. GM has been promising up and down that it will keep the Holden brand in place, but strategists in Detroit have reportedly been pushing to replace it altogether with the Chevy bow-tie. And if GM finds that the shuttering of its plants in Australia has tarnished the Holden brand image too much, the advocates for Chevy could get their way.
Aside from the Commodore, the entire Holden range otherwise consists exclusively of rebadged Chevrolets, after all. Experts reportedly indicate that rebranding all 233 Holden dealers across Australia would cost as much as a million Australian dollars (about $940k at today's rates) – half of which would be shouldered by GM and half passed on to the dealers themselves.