The Holden Commodore could be living on borrowed time as General Motors confirm that the Buick Regal, on which the Commodore is based, has been dropped from the GM lineup in the United States.
The move is likely to spell the end for the controversial rebadge of an Australian motoring icon that many believe should have been honourably retired when Holden ceased Australian manufacturing back in 2017.
According to a statement from General Motors, the Buick Regal will be phased out due to low sales figures and the US market’s demand for larger SUVs.
For Holden Australia, the decision comes at a difficult time after the company recorded its lowest sales figures in more than half a century. Adding insult to injury, Holden Australia boss Dave Buttner stepped down from his position as Managing Director after just 16-months on the job.
General Motor’s decision to axe the Buick Regal won’t hurt the US giant. In 2018, the Buick regal accounted for just 1.08% of total GM sales in the United States with 14,118 units sold around the country.
The same cannot be said for Holden Australia. Despite the divisive nature of the new Commodore, the family sedan is still a major sales force in Australia. In 2019, the Commodore is the second-highest selling model in the Holden range — behind the Holden Colorado ute — with 5400 examples sold in the first 11 months of the year. By way of comparison, between 1990-2010 Holden would regularly sell the Australian built Holden Commodore at a rate of more than 5400 models per month.
The looming demise of the Holden Commodore places more questions marks over the future of Holden in Australia. In 2017, General Motors sold its European subsidiary Opel to France’s Peugeot-Citroen group. Following a disastrous last 18-months, Holden Australia may be under the same scrutiny from GM.