It was Holden's 'billion-dollar baby', and while its core architecture continues with the massively upgraded VF, the VE Commodore is now no more.
You'll still find some in dealerships of course, but Holden has today waved goodbye to the last VE it will build: an automatic SS Z Series in the 'Chlorophyll' paint scheme.
Introduced in 2006, the VE family eventually topped 520,000 units and found homes on six continents.
It was born here as the Commodore, but versions also appeared with Pontiac and Chevrolet badges. Some as sedans, some as utes, and in the case of the Statesman/Caprice, even as a new police car for the US.
In HSV form, it also made its way to the UK with a Vauxhall badge.
The VE's Zeta platform has also proven popular elsewhere in the GM family, underpinning the reborn Chevrolet Camaro. Much of the American muscle car's development happened right here in Australia.
Described as "the most Australian Commodore" ever developed, the VE arrived as a showcase of Holden's already well-regarded design, engineering and production capabilities.
"The VE Commodore was a landmark achievement for Holden. The company’s first ‘clean-sheet’ design allowed our team to show the world what Holden was capable of and the result was, and remains, a stunning car,” Holden's Richard Phillips said today.
“It’s a bittersweet moment to be marking the end of VE production. It’s been such a great product for us and there’s so much pride around the VE here in the plant, but at the same time we’re excited about the future and the entire Holden team is energised by the imminent launch of the fantastic new VF Commodore."
Holden says it has produced nearly three million Commodores since the badge appeared in 1978 with the VB model. And, when the VF launches next month, it will be the 15th model series to carry the name.
But the Commodore's later years - its sunset years, really - have not been the highest point in the car's life, with government help, layoffs and restructuring all painting a gloomy picture for the Commodore. To be fair, for the large-car sedan and wagon market in general.
Holden isn't ready 'to cry uncle' however, with the VF arriving as the most advanced car ever built in Australia, with new technologies and safety features, new style and - perhaps most importantly - sharp price cuts.
We'll have to wait and see how the repackaged model works out for the carmaker, but one thing we know: Australians can be proud of the Commodore.
Holden VE Commodore By The Numbers:
- Regular Production: July 2006 – May 2013
- Built in four bodystyles: Sedan, Ute, Sportwagon and Long-wheelbase
- VE and its variants sold on six different continents
- 14 different VE-based models exported across the globe since 2006
- More than 520,000 VE and derivatives built at Holden’s Elizabeth factory in SA
- More than 350,000 VE and derivatives sold in Australia since 2006
- More than 170,000 VE and derivatives exported globally since 2006
- 103 series race wins in V8 Supercars, including three championships and four consecutive Bathurst victories
Final VE Specifications:
- VE SS Z Series sedan
- 6.0L 90-degree OHV V8 with Active Fuel Management (AFM) technology
- 6-speed automatic transmission
- 260kW @ 5600rpm
- 517Nm @ 4400rpm
- 4-wheel disc brakes; ventilated discs – front and rear.
- Anti-Lock Braking System, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD ), Electronic Brake Assist (EBA), Traction Control System (TCS)
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