Holden, Commodore, what’s in the name?
The battle is on at the Holden Australia headquarters for the branding of the company name and also the Commodore badge, their most successful model, despite many assurances that the Holden badge is here to stay, from both the previous and current boss at Holden.
Lets start with the history of the Holden badge, the original Holden lion & stone wheel logo was created by the sculptor Rayner Hoff in 1928 well before General Motors brought the saddler turned body builder in 1948. The Holden badge has changed only three times since then. The first change came in 1948 at the launch of the first General Motors Holden car then in 1972 to celebrate the launch of the HQ Kingswood. Finally in 1994 as Holden increased its marketing impetus for the Commodore to reclaim top place against the Ford Falcon.
We have read that a switch to Chevrolet from Holden is a possibility if the bosses at General Motors become convinced that the Holden brand image has been damaged by the manufacturing shutdown due in 2017. It would all come down in the end to economics so if there were a sales plummet related to the Holden brand being damaged they would then move to the Chevrolet brand.
Some marketing experts believe it would cost between $500,000 and $1 million to rebrand each of Holden’s 233 dealerships throughout Australia let alone those in New Zealand, and that General Motors would likely foot half the bill for each franchise, forcing Holden dealers to pick up the rest of the tab or lose the franchise.
We believe, although not confirmed, that Holden has been forced to conduct exhaustive market research with Australian vehicle buyers to demonstrate the case to GM head office that the Holden brand is worth saving and moving into the future.
The rumor is that Holden is spending a huge amount of money to defend the Holden brand.
Will the Commodore name live on after 2017? The decision is coming, as the next generation large car to replace the Commodore will come from Europe. Holden is pleading with GM executives to keep the iconic Commodore name, but so far no one is listening. Holden most likely will be forced to adopt a global name for the car that will replace the Commodore. It will be like a “back to the future” twist as it will come from Opel the same place the Commodore started in 1978.
It is clear that the Commodore and the Falcon name is under real threat after 2017 even though they are one of the longest running names in the automotive world. Some hard-core fans may see this as a betrayal if the name disappears, as this would signal the end of the large rear-wheel drive car. Speculation about the future of the Commodore name follows strong denials that the famous Holden badge may be replaced by the Chevrolet logo. We think the Holden name will stay but the model names will change to fit the global market.