By on May 31, 2013

Concept Car Buick XP2000   (2000)

The most famous Holden product to ever wear a Buick badge is the Chinese-market Park Avenue, a car that Buick dealers inexplicably rejected. But back in the mid-1990s, GM apparently planned to use the VT Commodore architecture as the basis for a new Buick sedan, previewed in the XP2000 concept above.

Squint really hard and you can see a resemblance in the basic shapes of the two cars. Since the XP2000 was a concept, it’s likely that the Buick production version would have stuck closer to the Holden design, hardpoints and all. The concept used a 5.0L small-block V8 and GM’s 4-speed transmission, but a smaller displacement V8 was rumored at the time.

The XP2000 had a lot of features that were considering cutting edge for its 1995 debut but are relatively mundane today; a crude version of a lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control  as well as a vehicle key that could automatically adjust things like seat position, mirrors and climate control based on driver preferences. None of these would be earth-shattering today but they were pie-in-the-sky ideas nearly 20 years ago.

The biggest payoff may have been the readiness of the VT chassis to adapt left-hand drive. Without it, we would never have gotten the Pontiac GTO, and other export markets would have missed out on the Chevrolet Lumina.  If anything, the XP2000 is another footnote in the stilted story of GM’s attempts to bring the Holden Commodore to North America.

 

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26 Comments on “The Holden That Almost Became A Buick...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “The most famous Holden product to ever wear a Buick badge is the Chinese-market Park Avenue, a car that Buick dealers inexplicably rejected.”

    Since when does RenCen listen to its dealer network? In this case it would have been better to go “old GM” and tell them to stuff it and go ahead with a kick-ass Buick.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Didn`t they listen to Pontiac dealers who wanted Aveo and Cobalt rebadges (G3 and G5). That was badge engineering at its worst and was from what I have read dealer requested.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Its funny you mention Pontiac since I doubt the Buick dealers wanted to lose Pontiac volume, re-badges or not. Granted this wasn’t a 100% GM decision but now with the Treasury out of it they should be able to do as they please.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        Our local Pontiac dealer told me he sure didn’t like those rebadges!

        The future product plan of 2008 era included large RWD Zeta Chevys, Pontiacs, and Buicks, can’t remember if Caddy had any application. All that went out the window with the collapse and with the death of Pontiac.

      • 0 avatar

        mike978, the G3 and G5 rebadges absolutely were Pontiac dealer demands. I learned this from a GM dealer (full-line except GMC) who sold a lot of Ponchos.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          You are absolutely right that Pontiac dealers wanted entries in those segments.

          That doesn’t necessarily mean they wanted obviously rebadged Chevies with no particular feature benefits, at higher prices.

  • avatar
    stephenjmcn

    The VT Commodore was developed from the Vauxhall/Opel Omega, which you’ll remember fondly as the Cadillac Catera. (This gives a good idea of what a production version would have looked like since they share doors etc)

    Logically then, the platform itself was basically LHD suitable, albeit the Holden was strengthened over the Opel to take V8s and handle local conditions. You eventually got this car not as a Buick, but as the Pontiac GTO, and what developed into the first Cadillac CTS.

    • 0 avatar
      Easton

      I actually always thought the Catera was rejected because it simply didn’t fit in as a Cadillac and wasn’t seen as premium enough. I also thought it would have been a potential success as a Buick or Oldsmobile because overall, it wasn’t really that bad of a car. Instead we got FWD Regals and Intrigues.

      • 0 avatar
        stephenjmcn

        From what I’ve read on here that’s true – in Europe it was a good, large, car from a mainstream brand. Like an Impala is now, I suppose. No complaints, my dad had several of them, but not a Cadillac.

        What the Catera also needed was more engine, which the Holden platform could have solved, but this again wouldn’t be a suitable Caddy. Buick maybe, definitely Pontiac.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    This is what a RWD Aurora shouda/coulda/woulda been IMO.

  • avatar
    optixtruf

    Probably would have slowed sales of the cash-cow lesabre? You wouldn’t want to mess up your share of the 75-85 age range market.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      This could have been the Park Ave and Lesabre could have still continued as an H-body. As much as I love the existing Park Ave, keeping both C-body and H-body FWD sedans was kind of pointless and they more than likely stole sales from each other.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      You can sort of see some of these design cues implemented in the most recent H-Body LeSabre (discontinued since 2005). The hood on the LeSabre doesn’t slope down quite as much, the front windows run straight across instead of having the door panel curve up near the mirrors although the rear windows have the same curve up to the C-pillar, and the trunk doesn’t quite curve down as much.

      http://www.netcarshow.com/buick/2001-lesabre/1600×1200/wallpaper_01.htm

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Ah, if only they could have figured out where to put the portholes…

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    A face only a carp would love.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Good eye.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Not true! Many a muck-sucking catfish would cozy right up it as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Ah, but the catfish front-end can go either way. It can either be lovely (current Jaguar XK), or horrible (current Hyundai Sonata Hybrid).

      • 0 avatar
        kjb911

        could have had a great competition between Lincoln and Buick Lincoln with baleen whale and Buick with fish

        • 0 avatar
          Domestic Hearse

          I coined the baleen wheel phrase here on TTAC a couple years back, BTW. I said these would suck up small children, squirrels and cyclists. Took a horrible beating for that on these pages. Not that the MKT and family don’t look like baleen whales, but that I suggested they’d suck up cyclists. And I’m one of the most devoted roadies you’re ever gonna find. Sheesh. Jokes. Just jokes.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    That really does look like nothing so much as a four-door 1995-99 Buick Riviera. But if you consider it on its own, it’s actually got a similar shape on the greenhouse, beltline and door-handles as what eventually became the ill-fated Jaguar X-Type.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Well Derek, I drive a VT Calais. The key (or BCM) seems to remember which radio stations I like, because when I swapped keys, I had to reprogram the radio. So they weren’t that far off. The BCM has plenty of (advanced) functions, I’d have to dig in the service manual to find out.

    The greenhouse of that car is certainly VT, and the 5.0 V8 is quite likely the old Holden V8, which sounds absolutely bada$$ with a proper exhaust and purrs like a kitten with the OEM setup.

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    I thought it was a pimped Ford Taurus.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    Strange looking. I see a cross between a Riviera and a Daewoo Eleganza.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Looks like a four-door version of what was our Poncho GTO (Holden Monaro, am I correct, B&B?) crossed with a last-gen Riv. Good look, better than that of the 88-9?-vintage Regal of the similar look (the one before the A-body Century was dropped, and the W(?)-body Regal and Century were identical except for engine and grille–3.1L Century, 3800-series Regal).

    I agree with general consensus that the Chebby SS should have been or should also have a Buick or should have gone full-zoot Caddy cousin. Unfortunately, I’m sure that volume wouldn’t justify it.


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