By on November 26, 2013
Courtesy of GM Middle East

Courtesy of GM Middle East

My boss and I drive the same style rental slug Toyota over here, but when his was due for service, instead of a replacement Fortuner, I spotted a 2011 Chevy Caprice in his parking spot. Having spent almost a year without a proper V-8 under my foot, I convinced him we needed to take that one out.

I also introduced him to a new term…hooning. Mental's Abu Dhabi Dispatches

The staff and contributors here get a fairly standard rash of comments about perceived anti-GM bias. I don’t think it’s accurate, but it’s hard to not get annoyed with GM. Not because of their vehicles, but what they do with the good ones.

You can't control me! I'm a hoon!

You can’t control me! I’m a hoon!

This car is maddening. It works, and it works very well. When GM recognized the need for a RWD platform for LEO sales, they imported this version after Pontiac and its impressive G-8 left the landscape. Bark M recently pointed out the god-awful job GM has done to promote this car, even after it became their primary NASCAR platform.

This particular sedan was a 2011 with just over 54,000 kilometers (33,500 miles) on the clock. 2011 was the introduction of a “new” interior and standard features. This base model had the standard rental quality plastics and faux wood but Bluetooth stereo and dual climate controls are standard features. Both are excellent, once I realized the volume was on the other side of the stereo (Australian, remember?)

No seriously, how do I turn up the radio?

No seriously, how do I turn up the radio?

Without the leather interior, remote start or full integrated navigation system; stateside this would be a great mid-priced sedan. Given the NASCAR tie in, this car would sell itself, not just to rental fleets, but to GM loyalists who believe they don’t need leather and fancy interiors but do absolutely need a V-8. Trust me, those customers are out there, I am related to a lot of them. The fact that Chrysler sells a ton of non-SRT/8 Chargers underscores my point.

I showed my southern roots very quickly after slipping behind the wheel, I had deftly turned off the stability control before making the hard 90 degree right onto the expressway. Exiting the turn I planted the throttle and was rewarded with a proper growl from under the bonnet and controlled wheelspin until the transmission shifted. My boss held the syllable he was speaking at the time as the big sedan pulled. By the time I let off he was giggling with me.

IMG_3410

Oh Blessed Lady of Acceleration, please forgive me. I did not mean to stray from your house, I was pulled away kicking and screaming into a midsized SUV. I have missed your song and your touch. It’s so pleasant to speed up without downshifting. Just a toe prod onto the pedal and off she goes. The LS series is such a wonderful engine.

An airport pickup left me with the chance to sample the traffic manners of the big Chevy. It was fine, this is not a BMW or a Mercedes but it’s a solid platform and well mannered. It is what a RWD Caprice has always been.  Here, you can option these cars to the stratosphere or just get the trim level you need. The seats are comfortable enough but not side bolstered. The driver’s seat will extend far enough back to pull my feet off the pedals completely, the rear seat is usable and I haven’t seen a trunk as big in any of my beloved German offerings. This is why it’s maddening as a fan of GM. Why does this car start in Cadillac pricing territory? Why can’t I just order a mid-level trim car?

IMG_3415

After dinner I gave the keys back to my boss, who took the chance to mimic some of my shenanigans. Rolling slowly through a puddle from a sprinkler he floored it. Dual wheelspin and a delightful sound had all three of us grinning.

When the G8 was introduced, I was impressed but not interested. But before it all came crashing down, there was talk of the Aussie-designed ute coming to US shores. For the first time in my life, I began to save for a down payment for a new car. When it all went wrong, I was heartbroken.

The G8 was not the strong seller it should have been for a variety of reasons, and now GM is making the same marketing mistakes with this car.

On the way home, the excellent Bluetooth was streaming iTunes top downloads. Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness” came on. A 550 AMG passed us, and with the slightest prod the LS put us in its wake, drafting the big German saloon without breathing hard.

“I’m feelin’ electric tonight, Cruising down the coast goin’ ’bout 99”

The next morning, it was back to the Toyota.

Sigh.

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67 Comments on “Capsule Review – 2011 Holden Commodore, Pontiac G8, Chevy SS, Chevrolet Caprice...”


  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Random pedantry: the Caprice is the long-wheelbase model, based on the Holden Statesman, so it is a bit more car than a Commodore or G8.

    The whys and wherefores of GM’s lack of faith in the Commodore have been hashed out ad nauseum, but the biggest one is that Americans looking for vehicles like this are also looking for nameplates that read ‘Silverado’ and ‘Tahoe’.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “the rear seat is usable and I haven’t seen a trunk as big in any of my beloved German offerings. This is why it’s maddening as a fan of GM. Why does this car start in Cadillac pricing territory? Why can’t I just order a mid-level trim car?”

    Yes, why GM, why? Once again you are completely willing to give anyone who is not an American the best RWD platform you make in any flavor they want.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      I like to think someone in the boardroom said “You can have the Colorado (even with a diesel!), or you can have the full line of Caprices and Commodores in America, but you can’t have both!” So they chose the more profitable trucks.

      Frankly, if this is just a matter of R&D stretching, I really do wonder why there’s no civilian LWB Caprice (the Baltimore cops have theirs!) or RWD Buick Park Avenue, for that matter.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I think a better question is why are Cadillacs so cheap? The full-size V8 Chevy SS is not particularly expensive at $45K, when a nasty tinbox Toyota is $16-7K

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        45k is high.
        Yea we can put it up against other examples, but I’ve
        Not yet come to expect heavily priced chevies as normal.
        Basic V8 engine on a RWD can be built for <20k
        But it cant be built in Aussie, and can't be built with so much useless technology.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          High compared to what?

          A $44K LTZ Impala?
          A $50K Silverado?
          A $50K+ Suburban
          A $50K Tahoe?
          A $45K Camaro SS convertible?
          A $50K left over Diamond Edition Avalanche (admittedly with a huge stack of cash on the hood)

          There are plenty of Chevy’s that will give you a cashectomy of $40K or more. Heck, I can drop $49K on a Tundra as a benchmark.

          If you go to the Dodge site and build a Charger, the R/T Max is $37K, but you don’t get Brembos, none of the safety features (BLIS, radar cruise control, accident avoidance, front/rear parking assist, parallel parking) – you do get other things. You’re also down on displacement and power.

          The SRT is $48K – and still lacks all of the safety features, has more HP and 2/10 of a liter more displacement, and one less cog in the tranny using the venerable Dodge 5-speed.

          As others have pointed out. The whining about price is just – silly.

          A G8 GXP was $40K new, adjusting for inflation, the same G8 GXP would cost $43.6K today – as a new 2014 model. Really, the better interior isn’t worth $2K?!? This coming from the same B&B that back in 2009 was saying, “if GM just put $500 more into the interior I’d pay $2K for it…”

          Apparently not.

          We’re going to have a $50K base model Kia for cripe sakes. You can drop $70K on a Hyundai. As Jack pointed out you can drop almost $80K on a BMW 5-series and be saddled with a 240 HP 4-banger under the hood.

          New car ATP is up to what, $34K now? You can get well north of $25K on practically every make and model in the C-segment today, some tickle $30K. Full size pickups in 1/2 ton configurations can reach and exceed $50K today. Shoot, one can drop damn close to $45K on a Toyota Sienna minivan.

          New cars in general are just feckin’ ridiculously expensive.

          Its really clear GM is putting nothing behind the Chevy SS. The name of the product itself sucks. The styling is pretty bland (regardless of it having the Chevy DNA). Heck, they didn’t even put any out for advance review apparently – which is in itself a bad sign.

          This is not in defense of the SS. But the whines of a 415 HP, V8 powered, equipped to the teeth, with all of the near luxury class safety and convienence features like heated/ventilated seats, blind spot warning, full parking assist, backup camera, laser cruise control, collision avoidance, and enough airbags to recreate the accident scene in Demolition Man – along with big Brembos, staggered rims, in a sedan that can dance for a fat girl, that comes in under 4,000 pounds, and has a cavernous cabin.

          So the question is – is GM supposed to sell these at $30K so the B&B can whine about how they are losing money on each one – or should they be priced to maybe drive profit (which is likely questionable in itself even at $47K). As a shareholder in GM, along with 310 million other Americans I would prefer profit.

          GM has certainly amortized the cost of Zeta since its 2006 introduction and the hundreds of thousands of Zeta platform vehicles sold around the world – including the Camaro.

          Oh yes, the invariable comparison to an A4 will be made again (its almost as big – yikes – someone needs glasses) or a list of other cars that simply don’t compete in this class.

          Then there is the comparison someone made to the CLA sales versus the SS. Again, you’re comparing a volume entry level luxury car to a niche Q ship for a bread and butter brand. It isn’t even night and day.

          For what it is, for what it gets, its fairly priced – either that or Dodge is insane for selling the SRT for $48K – the bastards (and no the R/T Max is not a 1:1 to comparison, it is below, and yes the SRT is above, so the truth is in the middle)

          If a competent RWD V8 sedan with modern safety equipment in your mind can be built for under $20K – than Toyota has a crapload of a lot of nerve charging $20K plus for a nicely equipped Corolla – which if I follow the same logic could easily be built for $6K. (I don’t believe that by the way)

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “If you go to the Dodge site and build a Charger, the R/T Max is $37K, but you don’t get Brembos, none of the safety features (BLIS, radar cruise control, accident avoidance, front/rear parking assist, parallel parking) – you do get other things. You’re also down on displacement and power.”

            The R/T Max does come standard at 37K with adaptive cruise, what you would call BLIS if this were a Ford, collision avoidance and all that stuff except for active park assist.

            Plus Dodge has 2-3K rebates on them to make the package even more appealing.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Cash on the hood aside…

            Dodge needs to do a much better job of listing the options/features after you build a car.

            On their website under safety features there was no mention of any of these features.

            Doing some digging they have it a bit buried. Interestingly, adaptive cruise control is standard on R/T Max and an option or the SRT. Ditto for blind spot monitoring and forward collision warning.

            Further review shows that only the R/T Max comes with all the safety features – other features are optional on every other model.

            Weird.

            Thank you for the correction.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            Dodge provides a stupidly simple chart on for safety features:

            http://www.dodge.com/en/charger/safety_security/

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “New cars in general are just feckin’ ridiculously expensive.”

            Very much agreed, everything is 25% to 50% overpriced… and I mean *everything*.

            “As Jack pointed out you can drop almost $80K on a BMW 5-series and be saddled with a 240 HP 4-banger under the hood.”

            BMW 5 Series Fool’s Edition. Eighty thousand American dollars for a pedestrian sedan, let that sink in.

            “Toyota has a crapload of a lot of nerve charging $20K plus for a nicely equipped Corolla”

            It does.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            But if you get a 6 Gran Coupe you can get THIS:

            http://worldautomodification.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/2012-BMW-6-Series-Gran-Coupe-4-door-rear-interior.jpg

            Because good and practical! I can’t believe they even include a middle seat belt.

        • 0 avatar
          edvf1000r

          I don’t think all new cars are ridiculously expensive,relative to older, simpler but far less safe equivalent models.

          Compare, new for new in inflation-adjusted dollars, a ’93 Civic Si to a ’13 Fit Sport.

          MSRP $12,430 in 1993 = $20,113 in 2013 dollars. The MSRP of a 2013 Fit Sport 5 speed is $17,160. Exterior dimensions are almost identical (width, length) but the Fit is 9 inches taller but only 200 lbs heavier. By comparison, the Miata has gained about 260lbs in the same time.

          The ’93 Si has maybe 7 more horsepower (SAE testing protocols changed slightly over the last 20 years), a sunroof, rear discs and a more sophisticated suspension design but no ABS, one airbag, steel rims, manual windows and locks and forget about crash safety. The Fit has ABS, traction control, stability control, alloy wheels, power windows and locks, 8 airbags, actual headroom and legroom for four 6 foot adults, fog lamps, a nicer interior, leather wrapped tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and so on. The Fit requires far less maintenance, too. No timing belt replacement or valve adjustment… and it’s still fun to drive, while being incredibly useful and practical.

    • 0 avatar
      edvf1000r

      The 1996 Impala SS sold well at $24,995 MSRP. That’s $37,300 in 2013 dollars, adjusted for inflation. That car also had few options if any and came fully loaded for its’ age.

      What do you get for your extra $7,000 with the new Chevy SS?

      415hp vs. 260
      415 Lb-ft vs. 330
      an interior that is light-years better
      a 6 speed automatic vs. a 4 speed
      ~50/50 weight distribution
      all the bells and whistles like HID lights, heads-up display,heated seats, etc.

      I agree it’s a lot of money, but it’s also a lot of car. If you want one that is simpler, lighter and cheaper I suggest you do what I did back in 1999 (when I had $4k for an LT1 Caprice, not $17k for a nice used 4 year old Impala SS) and buy a 4 year old State police Caprice from an agency that takes good care of their cars.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I’ve seen the Caprices in police trim. Looks like a decent used car buy for a daily driver if gas doesn’t skyrocket….. which I’m expecting it too.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      You can get one with the 302HP 3.6L V6 (but what’s the point?)

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      From fuelfix.com:

      “In October, the country produced more crude than it imported, for the first time since February 1995. The EIA forecasts that U.S. oil production will jump by 1 million barrels per day next year, reaching 8.5 million barrels per day. As the U.S. pumps more oil, the agency forecasts that the crude oil prices will decline. The U.S. will surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer by 2015, and be close to energy self-sufficiency in the next two decades, amid booming output from shale formations, the IEA said.”

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Yup.

        The US is also a net exporter of refined fuels, and it is our largest export likely three years in a row (data for 2013 will be available around Feb 2014). Only 21% of our oil comes from the Persian Gulf today. Canada is our biggest trade partner now, followed by Saudi Arabia and then Mexico.

        US energy consumption is down a whopping 20% since 2005 – most of that due to big improvements in the light vehicle fleet fuel economy as a national whole, and improvement in electrical efficiency in appliance, lighting, etc. etc.

        The US is projected to be North American fuel dependent (that is Canada, US, Mexico and that’s it) as soon as 2025 if we don’t really change anything we’re doing today.

        The “bad” news is that for every drop of oil we don’t use, the BRIC nations are more than glad to consume, so overall global consumption is not really in decline. Although one can also point to the fact that the US uses “only” 20% of the world’s energy, down from 25% just 8 years ago, most of that decline is due to increased consumption in countries like China and India.

        The sooner we can tell the Persian Gulf nations and OPEC to suck it, the better we’ll all be.

        Still a big fan of CNG as the fuel source for motor vehicles in this country. Ya T Boone Pickens has an agenda, but his argument for heavy trucking conversion is pretty darn sound.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    The exchange rate between USA and AUS is a large problem too as far as price goes. When comparably equipped the price of the SS and Charger are pretty close regardless of exchange rates. That says GM isn’t going to make much off the SS (although stealerships might with their market adjustment second stickers).

    The unfortunate truth is people don’t really buy cars like this in the USA anymore. They say they want one, but when push comes to shove they run out and buy a Camry or Accord. The G8 was practically given away at the end.

    Between gas mileage and people being to wimpy to drive a RWD car these days I don’t see anything like this being popular again. I hope I’m proven wrong though!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      is that a hood ornament I see? Awesome…

      Seriously, everyone speculates why Chevy never sold this car here, but I think I have a few answers that make sense:

      1) The market for big RWD cars is limited to begin with.
      2) Domestically, Chrysler dominates this market with the 300/Charger, and a big reason for this is that they both have optional AWD systems. As far as I know, the Zeta platform either hasn’t been adapted for AWD, or can’t be, but either way, without this feature, this car would be a tough sell anywhere north of Texas.
      3) CAFE
      4) The G8 bombed

      As such, it makes sense to import a version of this as a high performance, “limited edition” type vehicle (i.e., the SS), but I don’t think this would have sold in volume here. Shame, because this platform has produced some really nice cars.

      I bet if GM could adapt this platform for AWD they could give Chrysler a nice run for its money.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Ahhh, the G8 failed argument – again.

        The G8 hit the US market in March of 2008 as a 2008 model. Only 13K 2008 units were built. They all sold quite easily.

        2009 9L1 production started in June of 2008 – in part because of the six week trip across the Pacific from Australia and through the logistical network.

        In September of 2008 the credit markets froze. You basically needed to know James Dimon personally to get a car loan, and even if you qualified, even the well heeled were pretty scared to plunk money down on big ticket purchases.

        By November of 2008 the word bankruptcy and GM was on everyone’s lips, and Pontiac was looked upon as a dead brand walking.

        So March, April, May, June, July, August – credit markets froze in September, October, November – bail out. Six months to sell out of the gate, the 2008 run inventory constrained. Then the credit markets froze, and two months later bailout.

        The G8 didn’t fail. It never had a chance. Lets not rewrite history, and lets look at what the old Ed N. regime had to say about the G8…

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/04/review-200-pontiac-g8-gxp/

        …This site is not generally known as a fan of GM’s cars. And yet TTAC has lavished much love upon Pontiac’s thunder from down under: the G8 GT. The general line: if the 361-horsepower V8 version is magic, the 415-horsepower GXP should be an automotive miracle…But if you want a large sedan with a manual transmission, then the G8 GXP is not only the best game in town, it’s the only game in town. Which brings us to the second big problem: this game is leaving town. With the Pontiac brand headed for the dustbin, all G8s will soon be gone. Get one while you can….

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/09/2008-pontiac-g8-gt-take-two/

        …I suppose there are a few G8-related bugaboos you could fret over. That muscular motor makes triple-digit speeds far too easy. I constantly found myself over 95 mph when I wasn’t even in the mood. Conversely, without explaining that you’re actually driving a thuggish, high performance antipodean sports sedan, everyone will assume you spent $32k on a rental car. And you can’t have three pedals. But even with only two, the G8 GT is the best American car I’ve ever driven. Color me smitten…

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I agree with this assessment of the G8′s fate. It was a good car released at probably the absolute worst time in recent history to release a sport sedan into the marketplace.

          All factors considered, I’d say they moved a fair amount.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          No one’s saying the G8 wasn’t a great car – it was. But great cars can bomb in the marketplace. The G8 did – 38,000 units sold in two years for what amounts to a mid-priced, mid-sized sedan is a bust. And keep in mind that sales went UP in 2009 for this model.

          Nevertheless, if GM had a lot of confidence in the model, they could have simply redone the front end and sold it as a Chevy, but they didn’t. Why?

          I drove a G8 V-8 in 2009. The dealer had probably a dozen 2008s on the lot at that point, all suffering from various stages of lot rot (when the windows get that film on the inside from sitting too long, and the window sticker’s being held on with scotch tape, you know what’s up). These 2008s had at least $5,000 on the hood but still wouldn’t sell. I told the sales manager that the car was brilliant (which it was), and asked him why it didn’t sell. His answer was simple: no AWD system. Here in Denver, that’s a huge issue for a big, powerful RWD car. You can buy non AWD Chrysler 300s, Hyundai Genesis sedans, and non-AWD Mercedes and BMW sedans cheap here, and the lack of AWD is the reason why. I just did a cars.com search for used G8s within 75 miles of Denver and found four. The lack of AWD is the reason why.

          I agree that the credit crisis and GM’s BK issues definitely dogged G8 sales, but the bottom line is that this wasn’t a car that was going to sell in large numbers outside the south and California.

          Now, if GM could fit this Caprice with AWD, I think it might be worth a second shot for this platform. Otherwise, I think it would be a sales bust too, particularly with the excellent new Impala right across the showroom floor.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Agreed. The G8 never stood a chance and it had nothing to do with the car itself. Had the bankruptcy and economic chaos not happened, the G8 would still be here. Other than some interior material beancounting, the G8 was a great car. The SS however, is hampered by a dopy name and bland styling. And to make matters worse, Chevy has trouble commanding these prices for CARS. The Impala will have the same fate, even though it received glowing accolades from every source, including the Toaster Testers. Regarding the lack of AWD, that has to be a regional thing. Since I sadly see minimal snow, I certainly don’t want the baggage of AWD in my ride. When I retire, well that will be different. Can’t miss any good days on the mountain. But there will be a Wrangler Unlimited for that…

  • avatar
    fredtal

    May I suggest that the reason this car and the G8 did not sell well is not because of marketing, but because no one except a few internet guys “said” they want one.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    I see that this car starts at $45,930 in the UAE (168,700 AED), in 6 liter V8, 6 speed automatic, 360 HP trim.

    Does the UAE have high tariffs? Because if not then people should definitely be able to see why the full line of the Commodore/Caprice is not being brought over. With the Australian exchange rates and labor costs the pricing cannot be justified.

    A Hemi Charger starts at $30,495.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    “550 AMG”?

    Really?

    I hear such phrases from the uninformed masses, but I expect TTAC’s writers to have a modicum of general car knowledge…at least enough to know that AMG’s of the past 15+ years have 2 digit engine designations after the letter designation of the bodystyle. Any car with a 550 on the decklid (E550, CL550, S550, CLS 550, SL550) clearly is not an AMG.

    • 0 avatar

      In certain markets, an AMG package was offered on non-AMG vehicles. I’ve seen these vehicles in Canada. It’s not just someone slapping a badge on a lesser MB either They have different wheels, AMG exterior trim pieces and lower ride heights. I would not be surprised if these were offered in the UAE as well.

      • 0 avatar
        doctorv8

        Doesn’t matter. It’s still an S/SL/E/CLS 550 first, cosmetics not withstanding.

        • 0 avatar
          juicy sushi

          But the badge may say otherwise. Don’t blame Mercedes for selling what suckers will buy.

          • 0 avatar
            Drewlssix

            Like BMW M badged cars that were not actually M cars lol. Almost fell for that one my self at a sketchy used car lot by the airport. Thank god for smart phones for on the spot verifications.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        They have “AMG” packages here in the states. I eyeballed a C350 and based on research (and TTAC gods and B&B) concluded I would be a lunatic for buying one new (and taking the depreciation) and even more crazy to buy one used, and be butt deep in expensive repairs for the privy of owning a C350.

        They are just as you described, the wheels, the brakes, some of the body panels and logo sytling, and some of the suspension bits, also seats. You didn’t get the engine or tranny of course, and some other goodies. More than cosmetics, but not a full performance package.

        Kind of like an RS package back when that meant something.

        • 0 avatar
          doctorv8

          The US “AMG” packages do not have ///AMG badging on the decklid. Any car that has a decklid badge with a 3 digit engine designation is a poseur, plain and simple.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            I wasn’t crystal clear – and I was pedantic above so turn about is fair play.

            Yes, any non-AMG car with AMG badges in the US is a poser (and I would suspect anywhere else).

            However, when I was looking at the C350 part of the package if you got the AMG goodies (in non-AMG version) was the AMG styled MB logos on the car. For example instead of the standing Mercedes logo on the hood as an ornament on the C300 / C350 (previous gen) you got a flush one, like on the AMG.

            That was what I meant. That is why I wrote some of the logo STYLING now that I re-read my post. I never said you got AMG logos.

  • avatar
    gessvt

    How about a 28,000 mile PPV Caprice for $22K? Disclaimer: I’m not responsible for the next 30 minutes you waste at work dreaming about owning a retired cop car.

    http://www.chicagomotors.info/2257/2012-Chevrolet-Caprice-PPV-POLICE

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    OK, some Zeta platform education.

    The Holden Commodore SV-6 and SS-V is built on the VE platform that the Pontiac G8 shared.

    The Chevrolet Caprice PPV is built on the Holden Statesman platform and is longer than the Commodore family with a 4+ inch bump in wheel base. It is also heavier and has a 355 HP engine due to massive cats.

    The Chevrolet SS is based on the VF version of the Commodore – with about the only thing related from one generation to the next is the skins on the doors and the greenhouse (so sayeth Holden).

    The VE Holden Commodore does equal a Pontiac G8.

    The Pontiac G8 does not equal a Chevy Caprice PPV.

    The Holden Statesman does equal a Chevy Caprice PPV.

    The VE Holden Commodore does not equal a Chevrolet SS.

    The Pontiac G8 does not equal a Chevrolet SS.

    The differences go far beyond sheet metal.

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      “And here endith the lesson.” (Sean Connery, The Untouchables)

      It’s all fun and games until they get their VE and VF confused.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Meh, it’s all close enough for me. It’s like post 2000 Bonneville versus Park Avenue versus Aurora 3.5L. They aren’t “equal” but not a whole universe apart either.

      Once some G8 owners start driving the SS we’ll know how different it really is.

      Personally, I prefer the Caprice but I’m not a LEO.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        The little I’m reading on the G8 sites is that it is vastly better – doesn’t even compare.

        I would love to drive one but I’m not wasting my time at Good Chevrolet and their insane idea that some idiot will actually pay $10K over MSRP and buy the SS for $57.5K (yes look it up on Auto Trader and do a sort on price, highest to lowest – there are a couple of INSANE dealers out there).

        I figure the post test drive discussion would include phrases like GFY at that price.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @APaGttH, and there in a nutshell is why many here pray for the destruction of the traditional sales model. GM dealers do seem to be the worst offenders when they get a vehicle that someone might desire they immediately tack on an “adjustment” that is thousands over the MSRP. I wish the law and the courts would be more sympathetic to any manufacturer who wanted to drop the hammer on a dealer that did something inane like that. I remember when the Camaro was first released and many dealers were doing the same thing to the first V8 SS models, trying to justify $10,000 over sticker.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Why? The dealers buy the cars from GM and are welcome to get as much as they think they can for them. YOU are welcome to buy somewhere else, or not at all. Especially with the domestics, there are eleventy-billion dealers to choose from. As everyone on here keeps saying, these cars are going to sell like they are nailed to the floor, right?

          • 0 avatar
            pragmatic

            Making the dealers sell at sticker only moves the profit to the first buyer, who turn around and sell the car at a markup (see Ferrari). At least now the dealer makes the money off the dummies who need the first one on the block.

            The only OEM solution is to hold off releasing the car until a sufficient number have been made. But this risks burning the OEM so it won’t happen. So the customer has to hold off buying until a sufficient number have been made.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Actually the Caprice is built on the ute and wagon platform.

      There is no special Caprice platform.

      That’s why the Holden ute in it’s Maloo form is better than a Rousche Mustang around the Top Gear track and even can outperform some of the Euro prestige/performance style vehicles.

      GM has screwed up with Holden, period.

      Holden should have been converted into HSV and sold only HSV products globally at an increased price (value adding).

      The problem with the SS is, it is a Holden being sold as a Chev. If some brand differentiation was made and it was sold as a HSV globally, targeting some of the Euro vehicles, but as a cheaper alternative option then Holden might have had a chance of survival.

      Holden can’t survive as a manufacturer of everyday hacks.

      GM management refused to deal with the new conservative government that was just elected a month or so ago. The government told GM if they want money (subsidy) they will have to develop and export market. GM threatened to off shore, which they will do. Standover tactics, the government stood up to them.

      GM didn’t want this. So it appears GMH is doomed. So it should be. Why should my tax dollars pay to subsidise someone else’s job.

      The loss of Holden for GM will be the loss of GM’s best RWD cars.

      But, a car can be manufactured by the German’s for half the price we can achieve here. So we should stick to what we do best, high tech/bio, agri industry, mining, logistics, etc and not build loss making products that are making the country go backwards.

      I really like Holden, Fords and even Toyota (a little less) but not if I have to spend my money via tax on one when I own a Mazda.

      • 0 avatar
        Jethrow

        Even more interesting on the non-viability of Holden in the Australian market is the wage issue. Turns out that the aussie workers are the best paid auto assembler workers in the world. In fact it seems they are getting around twice what the award wages for the industry are.

        It seems that when the left loving previous government got in, in order to appease their union mates, they agreed to give Holden cash (subsidies) so that it could be passed onto the union members. So the subsidies were not about keeping Holden afloat, they were about keeping the unions happy.

        It has been suggested quite recently in our local papers, that Holden ought to tear up the wrkplace agreements they have with the current workforce and start again. There is means in the workplace acts to do this.

        From there the subsidies would no longer be required, and Holden could be self-sufficient.

        But sadly, and like a lot of car companies, Holden is running scared of the union and allowing this lunacy to continue. But sadly, this means continue until it all dies …..

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      Toadster, there is only one platform here: Zeta. That’s the basis for Commodore, G8, Caprice/Statesman (LWB), Lumina, Omega, Camaro, PPV (LWB) etc…

      VF/WN sits on Z2XX, which is (heavily) updated Zeta. Which is the basis for Commodore, SS, Caprice (LWB)…

      The rest of what you wrote there is amusing as usual. Go and check the Falcon toad ad ;)

      BAFO: Ute an Caprice sit on LWB. Tourer is SWB as is the Commodore. Last wagon to share LWB with Statesman and Ute was the VZ.

      And please, keep the name calling in check. If you don’t believe me, go and measure the cars yourself or check Holden’s specs.

  • avatar
    DougYNDOT

    Dude, I feel your pain. We had to replace my wife’s car last summer, and if the packages and pricing had been realistic we would have waited till the fall for an SS.

    But we got a 300c with a hemi for 33 grand.

    The SS is nice, but it’s not $13,000 nicer than the Chrysler.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Do a Middle East spec Crown Victoria next!

  • avatar
    Tyruss

    As an Australian I find it really dissapointing that we are badge engineering our cars. Badge engineering is like conning the customer. Why cant these Holdens be sold as Holdens through Chev dealers ? Why arnt we exporting not only the SS but also the wagon and ute ? I’m sure you Yanks would love to be able to order a manual SS wagon, a HSV Maloo ute and a Caprice not to mention all the specialised HSV cars. Australia has for many many years imported drive trains for our local cars. Ford and GM V8′s so don’t go all patrioctic and turn your noses up at OZ cars. Our cars enjoy the best American drive trains with a sprinkle of Europe thrown in. Now if Holden Australia could just get the go ahead from our American masters and build a new Monaro everything would be wonderful ! By the way, did you know there was a 4WD Monaro ? Look up Coupe 4 and wile your there look up V8 Supercar racing in particular the Gold Coast 600 to see our V8′s on 2 and no wheels fly !

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The feds wanted GM to go with Chevrolet and Cadillac only, but accepted Buick because it’s big in China and GMC because it actually makes money. There was no justification for supposed-to-be-sporty, performance-oriented Pontiac, so it was killed.

      It’s fortunate that Holden was seen as an Australian make, or it might have been killed too. When the Treasury is no longer in charge, there will be room for Holden to be the “imported” sporty, performance-oriented badge Pontiac was supposed to be. All you have to do is convince Akerson or his successor to do it (and find a loophole in CAFE).

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      Car brands in the US are a conundrum. I love watching the old TG UK episodes and seeing them talk about the Vauxhall Monaro, but obviously recognizing it as a Holden that was completely renamed to the Pontiac GTO in the US.

      Why not keep it transparent, as you said? A few years ago, GM US cherry picked a lot of their cars from Oz and Europe, rebadging them all under Saturn, Pontiac, Chevy, etc. It was probably the sole reason GM survived, and a good business plan (albeit WAY too late).

      I keep hearing about the Australian car industry being in its final days, thanks to a combination of low volume, globalization, fuel economy demands, and so on. Part of me truly believes that if the US auto market had formed more of a proper alliance with Australia, we could have cross-marketed many of the same cars in both places (plus the Middle East and anywhere that fuel is cheap).

      While we’re at it, I still propose that our NASCAR racing series bring in V8 Supercars as a secondary league, or maybe even replace the stupid, contrived oval track racing altogether.

      Colonies unite!

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        I don’t want to come across as an ass, but I have to correct you a little bit. GM has only “hand picked” the G8, GTO, Now SS, Regal and Astra from Oz and Eu. Really nothing different than what other companies do all over the world.

        It seems to be very popular today to blame GM for “badge engineering” when in a lot of cases they are the least guilt of it out of all the manufacturers.

        • 0 avatar
          ash78

          What about Malibu/Aura, as well as Vue/SRX/etc — weren’t those all Opels before wearing American badges? In terms of volume, those were the first ones that came to my mind. If they had tried to develop these solely for the US market, from scratch, it never would have been done in time to help save the company, or to win comparison tests.

          I’m not saying what GM did was wrong in any way, it just seemed rushed. They should have been doing more of this globalization in the years prior to bankruptcy. Same critique goes to Ford, for what it’s worth.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            No, the Malibu and Aura are not just rebadges (the Aura looks very much like the European version but it was not the same car). The original Vue was not, the second gen was shared with Europe. The SRX first gen was built on the Cadillac exclusive CTS platform.

            Now if you are talking platform, then yes the Malibu, Aura, G6, Insignia, Saab 93 were all built on the same basic platform. The same way that VW builds the Beetle and the Audi TT on the same platform.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “Why cant these Holdens be sold as Holdens through Chev dealers ?”

      Virtually no one in the US knows what a Holden is, and it would be a waste of billions of dollars for GM to tell them.

      “I’m sure you Yanks would love to be able to order a manual SS wagon, a HSV Maloo ute and a Caprice not to mention all the specialised HSV cars”

      I’m sure that we wouldn’t.

      Your patriotism is blinding you to reality. A global economy and reduced trade tariffs leave no room for unique Australian cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      So you think GM would actually sell more Zeta cars in North America by selling them under a brand that nobody here has ever heard of and pointing out how Australian they are?

      I just hope you were as outraged about the Barina not being sold as a Daewoo, the Suburban not being sold as a GMC or the Astra not being sold as an Opel in Australia (and that became a disaster). The Chevrolet brand appeals to American patriotism the same way Holden appeals to Aussie patriotism.

      Don’t get me wrong, I used to date a bogan girl from Penrith, I have an HSV sticker on the back of my Sonic Turbo, so I <3 Holden and Australia, but a Holden launch in America would end up the same way the disastrous Opel launch did in Australia.

  • avatar
    86er

    Some questions:

    The article made me contemplate how much of the analysis that goes around in the modern automotive industry centres on “we must have economies of scale otherwise this product is pointless”.

    Certainly, economies of scale are influencing the rapidly changing situation in Australia where (if I’m not mistaken) the new National Coalition government is backing away from these types of subsidies at the same time that market tastes are evolving closer to, if not Asian, then at least North American trends.

    These leads to me ask “is Zeta dead?” Is the Camaro going to run its course in Oshawa and then GM will exit the sub-premium sport car market? I guess whatever shape the 2015 Mustang will take will inform this somewhat.

    This also leads me to ask about how far can economies of scale be stretched across a global platform? If Chinese, Arab and other customers are buying Zeta platform cars in sufficient numbers, does this amortize the costs such that they could tack the “SS” onto the existing line for the Camaro and continue production?

    It’s all a very confusing message, to say the least.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    fuggilly uggily


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