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.


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  • 29 Comments
      mkM3
      • 5 Months Ago
      I think that if the UK gets Vauxhall, then let the Aussies keep Holden.
        bootsnchaps60
        • 5 Months Ago
        @mkM3
        But Vauxhall is really Opel. Would it really work to stick a Holden badge on a Chevy Impala or a Buick Lacrosse?
          to your email L
          • 5 Months Ago
          @bootsnchaps60
          Hmm maybe they could do like they did back in the 50's/60's and call em Pontiacs, from what I've read they used the Canadian Pontiac models with RHD and imported em ckd and sold em there?
      Nowae Amigivingittwo
      • 5 Months Ago
      Meh....doesn't anyone know that Commodore was used on several other GM makes before Holden had it. I remember the Opel Commodore and I think the sold a model in S. America as a Comodoro. So yeah they may discontinue it for Holden but have the relinquished it from themselves for other marques to use? Oh and too bad they aren't using that platform on some of their other makes, we only get it in a limited fashion in the US....sadly. If the had used it more widely the may not have had to be bailed out by the US government. Oh and same for Ford with their Falcon platform, why did the invent it all over again for the Mustang?
      tenspeeder
      • 5 Months Ago
      On one side it makes sense since GM is pushing for Chevy to be a global brand, but then I remember what is happening in Europe. Hmm
        Robert Ryan
        • 5 Months Ago
        @tenspeeder
        That they pulled out of Europe as Chevrolet was a dud brand name there.
      carguy1701
      • 5 Months Ago
      Goodnight, sweet prince.
      scott3
      • 5 Months Ago
      Well let get some facts involved here. Holden is number 2 in sales in Australia but they only sold around 100,000 car last year. That is less than half of all the Chevy Cruze they sold last year in the states alone. So no offense this is a small market. Second the Zeta has been taken as far as it can go weight wise without adding major cost for more work. It will be replace with a Alpha based sedan from the United States and if things go as I expect they may get a Camaro too. They may lose the name not the performance sedan as it will be lighter and better handling. Third Holden will get a mix of Opel product too as HSV is already looking to tune some OPC product for the Australian market as well as the RWD sedan. There may be some other Opel products used as Holden's too. While it is sad Holden lost their last model it was no surprise to most people who were watching. Every MFG is cutting production for Australian only models as the cost of development is just too high. GM will retain the name and use a mix of the best cars globally to fill the market under the Holden name. There is too much equity in the name at this point to bother with the change. The fact is with the higher development cost Holden would have been closed down all together if they had just relied on themselves. The numbers were just not there anymore to be self sustaining. In a day and age where even big players like Ford and GM are working on transmissions and other large companies are looking for dance partners to share cost that should tell you how expensive it is to do new products. Look for BMW, Honda, Mazda and others to find bigger partners to share cost otherwise they will struggle even more so than Ford, GM, VW and Toyota with cost. They will have to have them to remain independent. We have not seen the last company go down an will see more in the next few years.
      Mauricio Porrua Mend
      • 5 Months Ago
      Too bad , I still hope Ford and Chevy change their minds and develop a Taurus/Impala RWD based on the Mustang/Camaro just like the Charger/Challenger
        carguy1701
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Mauricio Porrua Mend
        Before 2008, rumors had the Impala being based on the Zeta platform.
          BahamaTodd
          • 5 Months Ago
          @carguy1701
          This is the truth - not sure what the down votes are for.
        knowledgehurtsmyhead
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Mauricio Porrua Mend
        We already have the SS
        BahamaTodd
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Mauricio Porrua Mend
        Chevy and Buick will most likely get sedans based on Alpha. The SS would be one of them and Impala will stay FWD.
      Robert Ryan
      • 5 Months Ago
      Very very stupid ideas coming from Detroit if that is the case as EVERY Current CEO of Holden said the cars will be called Holden after 2017. Losing the Commodore nameplate will be damaging, as over 60% of profits and sales come from the Commodore. may we are getting ignitions that fail as well?
      helloac
      • 5 Months Ago
      If it's really only gonna cost around 1 million dollars (AU and US) for rebranding dealers, then GM should just cut all the dealers a big check and say, "go crazy and buy yourself some new signage." Sorry Holden.
      Avinash Machado
      • 5 Months Ago
      Hope they will retain the Holden brand.We have lost too many brands in recent times.
      v6sonoma
      • 5 Months Ago
      A million dollars seems like it would be a lot cheaper than the costs of redesigning each car to be a Holden. As much as I would hate to see it go (even though I've never seen one in person) it may be the smart idea. It's not like people don't know the car is really a Chevy rebadged. Either way it's sad to see another name plate go.
        Mondrell
        • 5 Months Ago
        @v6sonoma
        Are you implying that the Commodore is a rebadged Chevy? Because it's actually the other way around.
        Mondrell
        • 5 Months Ago
        @v6sonoma
        Wasn't fully awake when I first read your comment. I get what you're saying now; the Commodore is arguably the cornerstone of the Holden brand. If it's to be terminated and GM's Australian operations further unified with its other interests, there's little point in spending extra money on maintaining what will practically devolve into empty regional branding. The commuters won't care what badge their transport pods wear, while the enthusiasts will assert that it's not a real Holden if it's not designed and/or built Down Under.
      Dandandan
      • 5 Months Ago
      The ignorance of the Australian consumer is astounding. Everyone is saying good riddance to Australian manufacturing and that the Government has spent too much money keeping it above water. Subsidies for the Australian Auto industry are among the lowest in the world, and also it should be a matter of pride to buy the product (it will be realised when the 10's of thousands of jobs from the manufacturers, suppliers, and the little coffee shops there to support them are gone!!, the tax alone paying the unemployment will overshadow the subsidies provided tremendously!!). I understand that there is a flood of international vehicles that are cheaper and as a consumer we have more brands and vehicles to choose from than the USA!. We are paid well but we want to buy everything for the lowest cost, though it is easily overlooked that commodore, falcon and territory are all 5 star safety rating cars, something that does cost money, the skill and capability of the Australians are among the best in the world, but being internationally owned companies limited budgets are provided for local products which has caused the vehicles to fall behind in terms of appearance and all the bells and whistles that they have..
      rsxvue
      • 5 Months Ago
      IMO, it's the right thing to do. Why tarnish the brand's image with cars not worthy of the name? I'm not saying Holden carries a lot of weight (I wouldn't know) but I wouldn't want a FWD car to be called Camaro.
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