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End of the line for VE Commodore

Last goodbye: The final VE Commodore to be built at Holden’s Elizabeth plant is an SS Z Series painted in ‘Chlorophyll’.

Final VE Commodore rolls off production line at Elizabeth as Holden gears up for VF

Holden logo17 May 2013

THE final chapter on VE Commodore has closed after eight years, with the last example of the car rolling off Holden’s Elizabeth production line.

An SS Z Series painted in ‘Chlorophyll’ green is the last VE to be built at the South Australian plant, bringing an end to the vehicle dubbed the General’s ‘billion dollar baby’.

The end of VE production comes as Holden gets set to launch its heavily revised VF Commodore early next month, charged with clawing back sales it has lost in recent years to smaller cars, SUVs and cheaper imports.

Starting production in July 2006 before an on-sale date in September of the same year, the VE quickly gained critical praise and maintained its title as the top-selling car in Australia until 2011 when the Mazda3 took its crown, ending its 15-year reign at the top.

The VE has an impressive wrap sheet with 520,000 examples of the car produced at Elizabeth, 350,000 of those sold locally with the remaining 170,000 exported to a number of global markets.

In contrast, just under 304,000 examples of the VT Commodore were sold between 1997 and 2000.

Since 2006, Commodores have ended up with Chevrolet, Pontiac or Buick badges in markets including the US, Brazil, South Africa, and the Middle East while HSV versions of the car are sold in the UK as Vauxhall VRX8s.

The VE is produced in four different bodystyles – sedan, long-wheelbase (Statesman and Caprice), utility and the Sportwagon that went on sale in August 2008, two years after the rest of the range.

Holden executive director of manufacturing Richard Phillips said that the end of production was a bittersweet moment for General Motors’ local arm.

“It’s been such a great product for us and there’s so much pride around the VE here in the plant, but at the same time we’re excited about the future and the entire Holden team is energised by the imminent launch of the fantastic new VF Commodore.” “The VE Commodore was a landmark achievement for Holden. The company’s first ‘clean-sheet’ design allowed our team to show the world what Holden was capable of and the result was, and remains, a stunning car,” he said.

The VE has received a number of awards since its launch, taking out the 2006 Wheels Magazine Car of the Year and, more recently, being named the “best Australian car ever” by the same publication.

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