End Of Road For Holden Commodore, Ford Falcon By 2016
Large, rear-wheel-drive, V-8-powered cars are as much a part of the historic Australian automotive identity as they have been in the U.S. But the once-ubiquitous Australian archetype is selling at record low numbers, even as the overall Australian car market is setting new sales records. The situation was inadvertently confirmed by Holden boss Mike Devereux at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show when he said the VF-series Holden Commodore would run through the end of 2016, according to a report from News.com.au. The VF Commodore will be the basis for the 2014 Chevrolet SS premium performance sedan.
Ford CEO Alan Mulally previously confirmed there are no plans to continue production of the Australia-specific Ford Falcon beyond 2016, adding the days of “one-off cars for one-off countries” are over. Devereux said Holden is looking to add a new product to its Port Elizabeth plant, and is considering an SUV or midsize car, but said that the vehicle must be a high-volume, top-10 seller, and describing the decision as “high stakes.”
The fact that Ford has not requested any government support for manufacturing in Australia beyond 2016 is seen as another indication that the company is intending to wind down its Australian manufacturing operations.
The situation is further exacerbated by a strong Australian dollar, making imports cheap, and exports expensive. In addition, gasoline is around $6 U.S. per gallon, making the more economical import and compact models more attractive. Holden currently builds the Cruze compact sedan at its Port Elizabeth plant in South Australia.