The Last Hurrah

Holden sharpens Commodore VF II range ahead of October end date

OCTOBER 20, 2017, is the day car manufacturing dies in Australia.

Holden confirmed the date for its Elizabeth, South Australia, plant closure, leaving it as the last maker standing just 17 days after Toyota will shut its local factories in Altona, Victoria.

With Holden’s special editions to be built mid-year and now sold out (see sidebar), the newly released MY17 Commodore is the final update for the VF Series II – headlined by the best-equipped SS ever – and will bring 69 years of manufacturing to a close.

Although Holden hasn’t confirmed what variant will be last down the line, it has started trimming the complexity of its sedan, Sportwagon, ute and longwheelbase Caprice range, while also insisting all will be produced until the curtain draws.

Prices for the Commodore SS rise by $2500 – now $47,490 plus on-road costs – which scores extras (except leather) from the SS-V that has been deleted from the range.

It also poaches the SS-V’s 19-inch alloy-wheel design (up from 18s) but not its clear tail-lights, while inside a head-up display and satnav are new additions.

The most popular Commodore in the range, the SV6, scores the same interior equipment and steals the black 18-inch alloys from the ceased SV6 Black limited edition.

The SV6 now costs $1000 more at $40,490 and with the last manual six rolling down the production line last November, the V6 is now an auto-only proposition.

Meanwhile the SS-V Redline adds previously optional black grille and daytime running light (DRL) surrounds and mirror caps – while the ute scores a black rear sports bar. Under the skin there are no mechanical changes, with the SS-V Redline retaining its fixed FE3 suspension and leaving trimode magnetic dampers for the Motorsport and Director.

A favourite of fleet companies, the Evoke continues with the 3.0-litre version of Holden’s V6 stockpiled since the Port Melbourne engine plant closure last November,

while the Calais Sportwagon has been ditched from the range.

The Calais sedan is now $1250 pricier at $42,490 but scores standard nav, while the $48,750 (V6) and $56,750 (V8) Calais V gets an electro-chromatic rear-view mirror and SS-V Redline steering wheel.

As with the Commodore, punters will need to keep a keen eye out for the MY17 tweaks like Calais badges on the back doors and a new alloy finish for Calais V.

Colour-wise Spitfire Green replaces Jungle Green, Light My Fire (orange) swaps out Some Like It Red Hot and Son Of A Gun Grey succeeds Prussian Steel, all as $550 premium paint options.

Holden confirms it will build 30,000 vehicles this year and has banned employee discounts on V8 models, instructing dealerships to sell at RRP. A final build schedule will be locked down by the second quarter of the year, leaving buyers to pick off dealer shelves thereafter.

Better act quick. “With high demand expected, customers are encouraged to order any personally configured MY17 Commodore vehicles via their local Holden dealer before April 2017, with all vehicles ordered after that being subject to availability,” the company said in a statement. – DD

FINAL VFs ‘SOLD OUT’

ALL 1200 Motorsport Editions, 360 Directors and 240 Magnums sold out less than one week after Holden unveiled the trio of limited editions based on the VF Series II Commodore SS-V Redline sedan, Calais V sedan and SS-V Redline ute respectively.

A few dealers are holding on to their allocated share of the stickered-up specials – the sedans of which feature tri-mode magnetic suspension previously reserved for HSV and the exportonly Chevrolet SS – and as we went to press some could be seen commanding up to $90,000 on-road for the Motorsport Edition, well above its $61,790 plus on-roads pricetag.

Holden said it was aware that many buyers were willing to spend large on the in-demand trio of models, but reminded dealers to play fair and honour previously negotiated pricetags with buyers.

Let us know your experience with buying the final locally-produced Commodore by shooting an email to MOTOR@bauer-media.com.au