The next Holden Commodore will come from GM’s European product portfolio, but it won’t carry the Commodore name either.
Aussie outlet Carsguide is reporting that despite pleas from Holden, GM is determined to kill the nameplate, since the new Holden large sedan will be so different from the iconic rear-drive model.
According to the outlet, GM may even mandate a name change to Chevrolet if they feel that Holden has become damaged goods following the shuttering of Australian factories, stating
A Holden insider told News Corp Australia last year the switch to Chevrolet could happen if General Motors believes the Holden brand image has been damaged by the shutdown of its factories.
“There is no emotion in this,” the insider said. “It will all come down to money. If General Motors thinks sales will go down because the Holden brand is on the nose, then they will switch it to Chevrolet.”
Marketing experts say it would cost between $500,000 and $1 million to rebrand each of Holden’s 233 dealerships nationwide, and that General Motors would likely foot half the bill for each showroom, forcing Holden dealers to pick up the rest of the tab or lose the franchise.
One Holden insider revealed that the company has been forced to conduct exhaustive research with Australian car buyers to prove the case to Detroit that the Holden brand is worth saving.
“The amount of money we’ve spent trying to defend the Holden brand to Detroit is ridiculous,” the insider said.
“But when executives from North America come out to Australia, they take photos of Chevrolet badges that people have fitted to their Holden (cars), and use that against us.”
The next Commodore (or large Holden) will reportedly come from GM Europe, rather than China or America as previously thought. Holden’s HSV performance division has been spotted with an Opel Insignia OPC test mule, while Holden will be selling a version of that car, as well as other Opel products, through their dealers.
The Insignia will never be as great as a rear-drive Commodore, but it will not be a bad product for a future marketplace that is ready to shift away from large Australian sedans. The move to kill Holden in Chevrolet is mind-boggling, as Chevrolet’s failed foray in Europe demonstrated loud and clear. In a market with over 60 brands, the smart choice is on anything but killing a beloved brand in favor of an untested, foreign replacement.