It’s the end of an era in Australia as Holden has announced plans to drop the Commodore from the lineup in 2020, more than four decades since the iconic nameplate’s introduction. Poor demand for large cars is to blame for the death of the Australian Insignia, with sales in the segment going down from 217,882 units in 1998 to fewer than 9,000 cars in 2019. In the peak year (1998), Holden sold 94,642 Commodores, whereas this year the company expects to move approximately 8,700 cars or 37% less than last year.

The smaller Astra is also going the way of the dodo for the same reason, with more and more people flocking to crossovers and SUVs. Demand for the compact car has also dropped significantly in 2019 as sales year-to-date stand at 4,047 units or a whopping 54% less than in 2018.

If there is a silver lining in all of this, it’s that the Commodore and Astra are not being phased out immediately. Holden will continue to sell them through 2020, but model availability will be limited as Holden will simplify the range. Those interested in buying either of the two cars will be happy to hear both will come bundled with free seven-year scheduled servicing.

The decision to axe the Commodore and Astra means Holden’s lineup in 2021 will only have SUVs and trucks, plus the right-hand-drive mid-engined Corvette C8.

The Insignia/Commodore is being retired from North America as well considering General Motors has decided to pull the plug on the Buick Regal. It will soldier on in China as a Buick as well as mainland Europe where it’s sold as an Opel and with a Vauxhall badge in the UK. The model was recently facelifted, although you’ll have a difficult time figuring out what’s new since the changes are limited to upgraded LED headlights, infotainment system, and some mild styling tweaks. It’s a similar story with the Astra facelift unveiled in Europe back in July with subtle revisions.

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  • Holden takes decisive action to ensure a sharp focus on the largest and most buoyant market segments.
  • Streamlining Holden’s portfolio is consistent with market trends and customer preferences.
  • Holden’s seven years’ free scheduled servicing offer is extended across the entire range on all 2019 plated vehicles.

Port Melbourne: Holden is today announcing a modified portfolio dedicated exclusively to SUVs and light commercial vehicles.

Holden Interim Chairman and Managing Director, Kristian Aquilina, said the focus of the portfolio was consistent with customer preferences, with the Acadia, Trailblazer, Equinox and Trax rounding out a comprehensive SUV portfolio; and the Colorado tackling rivals in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment.

“Holden is taking this decisive action to ensure a sharp focus on the largest and most buoyant market segments.

“So far this year SUVs and Utes have increased to 76 percent of Holden sales, a trend we only see continuing,” he said.

The company has elected to retire the ZB Commodore and the BK Astra in 2020.

At its peak, the large car segment in Australia accounted for 217,882 sales in 1998. This year it is projected to come in at about 8,700 units.

“The SUV segment is approaching half a million units, and LCVs over 200,000 units. That’s where the action is and that’s where we are going to play,” Mr Aquilina said.

The new Holden boss also paid tribute to the Commodore nameplate and its place in the Australian automotive industry over time.

“The decision to retire the Commodore nameplate has not been taken lightly by those who understand and acknowledge its proud heritage,” he said.

“The large sedan was the cornerstone of Australian and New Zealand roads for decades. But now with more choice than ever before, customers are displaying a strong preference for the high driving position, functionality and versatility of SUVs and Utes.”

Sales and deliveries of Commodore and Astra will continue through 2020, albeit with diminishing model availability as part of an orderly runout.

Existing Commodore and Astra customers can be assured that Holden will continue to back warranty and roadside assistance commitments, with spare parts supply guaranteed well into the future.

In addition, all MY19 ZB Commodores and MY19 BK Astras ordered or delivered from today onwards will be subject to Holden’s market leading seven-year free scheduled servicing offer.

All arrangements for accessing warranty, servicing and spare parts for Holden’s entire model line-up via the Holden’s national dealer network remain the same.

Holden will be launching the MY20 Equinox in the first quarter of 2020 followed by a significant MY21 upgrade to the highly regarded Colorado to launch in Spring. Holden will also lodge production orders to GM’s Bowling Green factory for the highly anticipated mid-engine right-hand-drive Corvette next year.