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Holden stands by Commodore

Buick Regal’s demise in NA ‘not relevant’ to Commodore as 2020 Opel Insignia appears

6 Dec 2019

HOLDEN is standing by its fully imported Opel Insignia-based Commodore in the face of slow sales and parent General Motors’ decision to discontinue the related Buick Regal in North America.


PSA Group has this week revealed the facelifted version of the Insignia ahead of its first public outing at the Brussels motor show in January, showing off the revised styling and new advanced technology that should flow through to the Commodore.


Holden has not yet confirmed how much of the new content will slot into the Australian version, but a spokesperson told GoAuto that the company was in the process of introducing Commodore revisions for the 2020 model year and that moves relating to Buick were not relevant to this market.


“Yes, Buick has confirmed that the Regal will no longer be offered in the US and Canada, but it will continue to be sold in volume by GM in China,” the spokesperson said.


“Buick’s changes to their model line-up aren’t directly relevant to Holden.


“We are in the process of introducing the MY20 and we are still selling Commodores. If anything changes in regard to Commodore we will tell you.”


Holden announced on Monday that chairman and managing director Dave Buttner was leaving the company for personal reasons after 16 months at the helm, leaving head of commercial operations Kristian Aquilina to continue the task of rebuilding the former Australian manufacturer – which closed its Adelaide factory in October 2017 – as a full-import brand focusing primarily on SUVs and utilities.


Industry sales figures released on Wednesday also showed that Holden – a former number-one brand – is now clinging on to 10th place on the leader board with its sales plummeting 28.5 per cent to the end of November. This comes on top of a 32.7 per cent full-year downturn in 2018.


Sales of the imported Commodore are a major contributor to the decline, falling 37.4 per cent this year to just 5417 units which nonetheless still keeps it in second place behind the Colorado ute in the lion brand’s struggling den.


Question marks remain over the long-term viability of Commodore and the Astra small car, which is also sourced from Opel, but Holden is soldiering on with the current ZB Commodore for now.


The 2020 Insignia update is extensive, bringing sharper looks courtesy of a sportier front fascia with a wider and more prominent grille, slimmer and higher-tech headlights with 84 LEDs on either side (up from 16), and new lower air inlets with integrated foglights.


“The new front end emphasises Insignia’s elegant and sporty character by proportionally making everything feel lower, wider and executed with clear German attention to detail,” said Opel design chief Mark Adams.


Minor cosmetic changes have been applied at the rear end, where a digital rearview camera is also now employed, working with radar-based rear cross-traffic alert to better inform the driver of traffic approaching from the side. It can detect objects 90 degrees to the left and right behind the vehicle, at distances of up to 20m.


Full details of the new European Insignia range are still to be released, but Opel is promising new cabin design elements and amenities – wireless smartphone charging will be included, for example – and mechanical improvements under the skin, “thanks to lightweight engineering and all-new, highly efficient petrol and diesel engines”.

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