Holden Apollo


Aug 27th, 2019

Holden Apollo

Two generations of Toyota Camry were rebadged as Holden Apollo—a compact or narrow-body car (but modified later to mid-size or wide-body car) produced and distributed in Australia from 1989 through 1997. It replaced Holden Camira in the Australian market. 

Under a model-sharing scheme, Toyota-Australia and General Motors-Holden jointly produced their cars using the same model but released them to the market under their respective brands. So from 1989, both Toyota Camry and the rebadged Holden Apollo ran with parallel generations and sold alongside each other until 1996 when the joint venture was dissolved. 

1st Generation: Code JK (1989-1991)

The second-generation Camry V20 was recoded as JK for the Holden Apollo. Like V20, the Apollo had an aerodynamically-designed body, gently-curved hood, and almost-flush glass. Its restyled front grille and tail lamps distinguished it from V20. It featured remote wing mirrors, rear screen demister, intermittent wipers, and tinted side and rear glass, among others. The Apollo was powered by fuel-injected engines in the following variants:

  1. Apollo SL, entry level, sedan/station wagon – 2.0L 3S-FC I4 engine; rated at 82 kW power and 166 N⋅m torque; standard 5-speed MT or 4-speed AT 
  2. Apollo SLE, SLX, SLX Executive, high-end, sedan/station wagon – 2.0L 3S-FE I4 engine; rated at 88 kW power and 171 N⋅m torque; standard 5-speed MT or 4-speed AT

Update/Facelift: Code JL (1991-1993)

In 1991, the Apollo was updated under code JL. The SLE station wagon and SLX Executive option were discontinued, but the SLX was now offered with similar specs to the discontinued executive pack. A sporty Apollo, called GS, was introduced to the market. It was fitted with a tachometer, had enhanced audio, and wore body stripes and red highlights. The GS powertrain specs were similar to the SLE JK-version, but without the standard AT option. 

All these variants featured the same front grille but with bolder chrome highlights in the JL version. The sedan models had slightly modified tail lamps. 

2nd Generation: Code JM (1993-1995)

The second generation Holden Apollo was based on the XV10 Toyota Camry which arrived in Australia one month earlier. The Toyota and Holden cars were more identical in the mechanical aspects than they were in their exterior features. Both had wider body than the previous version, although the wideness was more emphasized in the marketing of Camry XV10 than it was for the Apollo JM. The Holden car was stylized with its distinct bonnet, bumper, front grille, headlamps, rear lamps, tail lamps, and a different mounting for the registration plate.  

The JM powertrain was essentially the same as that of the XV10, with standard and optional versions described below:

  1. Standard engine - twin-cam 2.2L 5S-FE straight-4 EFI engine rated at 93 kW and 185 N⋅m, available for standard 5-speed MT and optional electronically-controlled 4-speed AT layout 
  2. Optional - quad-cam 3.0L 3VZ-FE EFI V6 engine rated at 136 kW and 264 N⋅m, available in standard electronically-controlled 4-speed AT 

The standard 2.2L-engined versions were fitted with 14-inch wheels, while the optional V6 versions had 15-inch on them. JM Apollo was made available in the same model range of 4-door sedan and 5-door station wagon variants, except for the SLX V6 which was available in sedan variant only. The SLX and GS variants were heavy with trims, such as anti-lock brakes on the V6, 60/40-fold rear seats, central locking, power windows, driver’s airbag, and plush interior. 

Update/Facelift: Code JP (1995-1996)

Under code JP, the Holden Apollo received a new front grille, a redesigned logo repositioned from the grille to the bonnet, and pinstriped tail lamp treatment. The GS station wagon was discontinued, and the now sedan-only GS was fitted with enhanced sound system. Manual transmission was only available for SLX 4-cylinder versions. The SLX were updated with standard remote central locking system and rear head restraints, while the 4-cylinder SLX now had anti-lock brakes. Four-wheel disc brakes were standard across the board. 

Production of Holden Apollo Ceased (1996)

Throughout the duration of the model-sharing venture, the sales of the rebadged Holden Apollo had always remained within 20% of its Toyota counterpart. In March 1996, the two automakers dissolved their venture. Vehicles in stock continued to sell until Holden Vectra finally succeeded Apollo in 1997.