Holden will discontinue the LPG Commodore in the coming months due to a decline in interest and unviable ongoing production costs, according to a reliable industry source.
The announcement, which is yet to be made public, comes ahead of the locally manufactured Commodore's end in Australia in 2017, and is likely to take effect when an updated Commodore range is released closer to the end of the year.
Despite the comparatively low price of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) in Australia, the decline in large car sales has resulted in the fast-track of this model's axing, soon leaving the Ford Falcon EcoLPi as the only option for buyers wanting a factory-fitted LPG sedan.
Industry figures show that sales of LPG-powered passenger vehicles are well down in 2015, compared to the same period in 2014, in both private (43 sales year-to-date, down 40.3 per cent) and fleet (564 sales, down 25.0 per cent) categories.
A government grant offering buyers LPG rebates also ceased on July 1, 2014, which further reduced the incentive for buyers to purchase an LPG vehicle. The grant, which paid out an incentive to buyers, was popular over its time with a total of just under 3700 vehicles and $6 million paid since the grant's inception.
Australian fleet buyers are most likely to be affected by Holden's decision, which will take its greatest toll once Ford ceases local production of the Falcon in 2016, leaving the market bereft of dedicated a factory LPG car.
Holden, for its part, would not officially comment on the speculated demise of the LPG Commodore, though our information is solid.
“We are committed to a customer-centric, market-driven strategy. Product decisions are never made in isolation and we always work to deliver what our customers want, whether they be private or fleet,” said Kate Lonsdale, senior manager of external communications at Holden.
In its current form, the LPG Commodore is powered by a 3.6-litre six-cylinder engine that supports LPG vapour injection. Unlike its more powerful directly injected petrol sibling of the same capacity, the 3.6-litre LPG Commodore produces 180kW of power and 320Nm of torque, consuming 11.5 and 11.8L/100km respectively between Evoke sedan and wagon.
The Ford Falcon EcoLPi on the other hand is powered by a 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine that supports liquid phase injection — a more efficient way of extracting power and reducing fuel consumption. In comparison, it produces more power and torque than its petrol counterpart, churning out 198kW of power and 409Nm of torque. It consumes 11.7L/100km.
Should Australia be doing more to support the use of LPG in Australian-delivered vehicles?