Opel Insignia production ending, ex-Holden Commodore twin bows out

Although the Holden Commodore passed away over two years ago, its twin-under-the-skin soldiered on Europe. Until now, that is.

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The car that once wore one of Australia’s most famous nameplates, Holden Commodore, will soon cease production.

A Stellantis spokesperson told Automobilwoche the Rüsselsheim plant in Germany will stop making the Opel Insignia by the end of 2022.

The factory just outside Frankfurt also produces the Opel Astra and DS 4. According to the spokesperson the facility is now running at full capacity, so cutting the Insignia’s lifecycle short will allow Opel to have a “faster ramp-up” for the Astra.

The second-generation Insignia was launched in 2017, and was widely expected to remain in production until 2024 as Opel had previously stated each of its model lines would have a plug-in hybrid or EV variant by 2024.

The Insignia was the last vehicle in Opel’s range to be developed during GM’s ownership, and its E2XX platform doesn’t support a PHEV and EV drivetrain without significant work.

An earlier report in Auto Express indicated the Insignia would be replaced in 2024 by an EV with an Outback-style raised wagon body as part of Opel’s plans to be an all-electric brand in Europe by 2028.

Available in Europe as a five-door liftback or wagon, Insignia sales have been on a downward trajectory. Indeed all traditional D-segment models, such as the Volkswagen Passat and Ford Mondeo, have been struggling for over a decade.

Once a common sight on European roads, these cars first came under attack by luxury marques, such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, which moved down market with similarly priced, but smaller models. The knock-out blow, though, was the rise of the crossover, which generally offered similar interior space in a more compact footprint.

The first-generation Insignia was launched in 2008, and was sold as a sedan or wagon in Australia in 2012 and 2013 as part of Opel’s short-lived experiment Down Under.

Holden then brought the Insignia back in 2015 and 2016, albeit only in VXR trim with a 239kW/435kW turbocharged 2.8-litre V6 and all-wheel drive.

After Holden closed its manufacturing facilities in mid-2017, Insignias began arriving in local showrooms once again in 2018, but this time wearing the storied Commodore badge.

While Holden hoped the Commodore name would help long-term fans and previous buyers stick with the brand, the front- and all-wheel drive ZB liftback and wagon failed to match the sales of departed VF model or the Toyota Camry.

By the end of 2019, Holden confirmed it was curtains for the Commodore. A few months later GM decided it would stop manufacturing mainstream vehicles in right-hand drive, spelling the end for the Holden brand.

With the imminent demise of the Insignia, the last Commodore relation is the Buick Regal, which remains in production in China exclusively as a four-door sedan.

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Derek Fung

Derek Fung would love to tell you about his multiple degrees, but he's too busy writing up some news right now. In his spare time Derek loves chasing automotive rabbits down the hole. Based in New York, New York, Derek loves to travel and is very much a window not an aisle person.

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