Good news, Aussie car fans. The Commodore lives. But the evidence keeps piling up that the next one will be a front-drive car bearing little to no resemblance to the current RWD muscle car.
Holden took the wraps off of the latest VF-Series Calais, the luxury version of the Commodoe. Expect some, but not all of the styling cues to carry over to the upcoming Chevrolet SS sports sedan. This is also likely the last hurrah for the big, rear-drive Holden. Slow sales have sealed the fate of the Commodore, with a 2016 death date scheduled.
The big, rear-drive Aussie sedans beloved by enthusiasts overseas aren’t gaining traction in the Australian marketplace, and the smart money is betting on the death of the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon.
A struggling domestic auto industry long past its glory days of big rear-drive sedans is at an existential cross-roads. An upcoming election may decide the fate of thousands of jobs and decades of motoring history. Sound familiar? The madness of America’s election is over, but the same scenario is playing out in Australia.
Ford and Holden are laying off hundreds of workers at their Australian plants as sales of domestic brands continue to take a beating.
General Motors is so desperate to find new customers for Opel cars that they’re introducing the brand to Australia, where it’s set to butt heads against Holden – Australia’s long-time favorite car brand.
As dismissive as I tend to be of the internet product-planning brigade, their constant cries of “Bring rear-drive, V8 full-size Aussie sedans to America” may have some credibility – the market for these cars in Australia seems to be going teats up, with SUVs and small cars taking their place.
Holden is expected to make an announcement regarding the export of its Commodore vehicles to North America – essentially confirming the existence of the forthcoming 2013 Chevrolet SS Performance – and apparently it may not be limited to sedans. Utes and wagons could be arriving at some point as well.
After getting a $1 billion “investment” from both GM and the Australian government, Holden will be starting their first post-funding project; designing two new cars for the Chinese market.
To Americans, there’s a weird mirror-world aspect to cars made by Detroit car companies in Australia; you can tell you’re looking at a GM product when you see an old Holden, for example, because you can usually spot a little Chevelle/Nova/Impala influence in the body lines, but everything just seems a little… off. Let’s watch the ’70 Holden line conquering the Outback and wowing the ladies. (Read More…)
Ford’s Australia branch is getting $34 million AUD (roughly $35 million U.S. dollars) plus an unspecified contribution from the government of Victoria (an Australian state), to sustain a Ford plant in Melbourne. Total investment is said to be roughly $105 million USD. Holden, GM’s Australian division, is looking for some government funds too, and its raising questions about the viability of Australia’s domestic car industry.
GM’s troubled Australian division Holden has maintained its place in the GM empire for years now as the development center for GM’s global rear-drive architecture. The Holden-developed Zeta platform began as the basis for Holden’s Commodore full-size sedan, and has been put into use on a global basis by cars as diverse as the Chevy Camaro, the Chinese-market Buick Park Avenue and the Pontiac G8. But now GoAuto reports that the next-gen Commodore could be moved to Holden’s plus-sized version of the Epsilon II midsized front-drive chassis known as “Super Epsilon II,” the platform that will underpin the next Chevy Impala and the Cadillac XTS. The era of the Aussie RWD sedan may well be coming to a close…
Motor Trend gets three GM sources to confirm the return of the Pontiac G8 (Holden Commodore) to the North American market… only this time it’s coming as a Chevy. One exec even brags
We have a good name for it…
…and no, it’s not “Impala.” Nor is this simply a civilian version of the Caprice police model, which is based on the long-wheelbase version of the Zeta platform. This will be a limited-numbers affair and V8-only, reports MT, because currency fluctuations have made shipping cars from Australia more expensive. Should GM even be messing around importing the the Antipodean Driving Machine? The numbers might say no, but the fanboys are already screaming “hell yes” (or, more accurately “what about an El Camino ute version?”). Check out Michael Karesh’s reviews of all three versions of the Pontiac G8 (you can even read Liebermann’s Take Two on the GT if you must), and let us know what you think of the return of the G8.