Australia’s best-selling vehicle, the Holden Commodore today celebrates its 30th anniversary.
The first Commodore rolled off the line on 25 October 1978, signalling the arrival of what is now Holden’s longest-standing and most successful nameplate.
Commodore has been Australia’s top selling passenger car for the past 12 years and is on track to maintain that position in 2008.
More than 2.5 million Commodores have been built since the first VB series sedans went into production, replacing the Kingswood as Holden’s leading family car range.
Throughout that period the Commodore name has graced 14 model series and four generations of rear-wheel drive vehicles for Australian and overseas buyers.
GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mark Reuss said Commodore had become a symbol of local design and engineering expertise and Australia’s ability to compete on the world stage.
“Over thirty years Commodore has earned a place in the hearts and minds of generations of Australian families,” Mr Reuss said.
“On the way to becoming Holden’s longest standing and most successful nameplate, Commodore has delivered significant advances in passenger car safety, comfort and handling.
"We’re always seeking to improve Commodore so that it remains the smart choice for Australian motorists.
“It is a mark of the skill and creativity of the Australian automotive industry that we have been able to build top-selling cars of this calibre for local and overseas markets.”
General Motors started work on Commodore in 1971 as the second GM ‘world car’ program. Variations were sold in England, other parts of Europe and South Africa with the Australian version receiving locally developed engines, steering, suspension, body strengthening and dust sealing.
The radically different VB Commodore was generally judged to have brought a new level of sophistication to the market with efficient space packaging, high levels of comfort, generous equipment levels and excellent handling due to the development of Holden’s successful Radial Tuned Suspension.
Commodore has subsequently collected more than 60 major motoring awards and won the prestigious Wheels Car of the Year award a record five times – VB (1978), VN (1988), VR (1993), VT (1997) and VE (2006).
Advances in safety technology such as driver, passenger and side impact airbags, computer optimised restraint systems and ABS brakes as standard fitment were all introduced on Commodore as ‘firsts’ for an Australian-manufactured car.
Commodore’s role as an ambassador for the Holden brand has extended beyond the showroom floor to the racetrack where it has been the spearhead of its motor-sport participation for almost 30 years.
During that time, Commodore has won an unrivalled 18 Bathurst victories and nine V8 touring car and supercar championships.
Sales & Manufacturing
Commodore has been Australia’s top selling car for the past 12 years and is on track to maintain that position in 2008.
A total of 37,505 Commodores have been sold so far in 2008. This puts Commodore more than 700 vehicles ahead of the next largest seller.
Commodore is produced in left and right-hand drive configurations at Holden Vehicle Operations in Elizabeth, South Australia.
The current VE model is number 14 of the Commodore series. Model designations are: VB (1978); VC (1980); VH (1981); VK (1984); VL (1986); VN (1988); VP (1991); VR (1993); VS (1995); VT (1997); VX (2000); VY (2002); VZ (2006); VE (2006).
Major model changes occurred in 1988 with the introduction of the VN Commodore, in 1997 with the VT Commodore and in 2006 with the VE Commodore.
The 2.5 million Commodores produced since 1978 would fill the car park of the following major shopping centres in each state:
Victoria’s largest shopping centre, Chadstone, 294 times.
New South Wales’ largest shopping centre, Westfield Parramatta, 584 times.
Queensland’s Pacific Fair shopping centre on the Gold Coast 454 times.
South Australia’s largest shopping centre, Westfield Marion 454 times.
Western Australia’s Galleria shopping centre, 595 times.
Tasmania’s largest shopping centre, Eastlands, 1785 times.
Looking Back at October 1978
The first Commodore rolled off the line at Holden’s former assembly line at Pagewood, New South Wales.
The base model price at the time of Commodore’s 1978 release was $6513.
Popular songs at the time of the launch included: Three Times a Lady (Commodores), Summer Nights (John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John), Who Are You? (The Who).
Popular movies at the time of the launch included: Saturday Night Fever, The Goodbye Girl, Pretty Baby and The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith.
Major events during the month of Commodore’s launch included: Polish Pope, John Paul II becomes the first non-Italian Catholic Pope in 450 years; Australian singer Johnny O’Keefe dies.
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