Unless your local police force harbors a crop of non-conformists, it’s easy to believe rear-drive Chevrolet sedans bowed out in the 1990s.
Of course, that’s not true. General Motor’s Australian Holden division saw fit to continue sending a limited number of rebadged Commodore sedans our way, long after the Impala and Caprice faded into the history books. Gussied up with a few tell-tale styling cues, the Commodore easily morphed into the performance-oriented Chevrolet SS and fleet-only Caprice PPV. Both models sell in limited numbers on this side of the Pacific, but not for long.
With Holden poised to pull the plug on Australian manufacturing later this year, the old-school Commodore has only months left to live. That means the exotic, badge-engineered American brothers will cease to exist after the 2017 model year.
Confirming a widely known reality, Alan Batey, head of GM North America, announced the end of the SS and Caprice PPV at the North American International Auto Show this week. His words held little hope for rear-drive sports sedan fans.
“Using the old adage, ‘win on Sunday, buy on Monday,’ we decided that in small numbers we’d introduce it the U.S. because we could, frankly, at a pretty low cost,” Batey said, according to The Detroit News. “I would say the vehicle has been really well-received. It’s small volumes, but it’s been really well-received.”
Small volume, yes, but the models saw continued support from a small but loyal following. As the spiritual and mechanical successor to defunct Pontiac G8, sales of the SS grew each year following its 2013 introduction, topping 3,000 units in 2016. It’s easy to see why. Just look around for another rear-drive, V8-powered American four-door with an available manual transmission.
Offered in police guise since 2011, the
Commodore Caprice PPV offers the highest top speed (155 mph) of any traditional law enforcement vehicle. Still, it’s a rarity — just over a thousand units trickled into U.S. fleets last year.
With Holden rumored to turn out the lights on local production on November 3rd, 2017, a replacement seems very unlikely for Caprice, Batey said. The Commodore, however, will live on Down Under. For 2018, the model adopts the architecture of the Opel Insignia, which shares its bones with the next-generation Buick Regal.
[Image: General Motors]