Commodore replacement already known by dealers
General Motors Holden has made its decision on its Commodore replacement, and it’s already told a number of key Holden dealers in Australia.
THIS NEWS WAS REVEALED to Practical Motoring’s New Zealand correspondent, and Yahoo! Autos motoring editor, Richard Bosselman, who attended a briefing for New Zealand media yesterday in Melbourne during assessment of the newly-added 1.4-litre turbocharged version of the Holden Trax.
Holden New Zealand boss Jeff Murray announced to the Kiwis that the succession plan for Commodore was sorted: “The decision has been made.”
Murray revealed that Australasian dealer principals were called together recently to be told about future Holdens coming from next year to well after local manufacturing ceases. The decision is being kept quiet to avoid destabilising the recent lift in sales of Commodore both in Australia and New Zealand.
A show and tell of photographs and illustrations covered a wide range of vehicles and offered unprecedented insight.
“We showed the next generation light car, small car and a number of sports utility vehicles that will be introduced over the course of the next four or five years.” And, yes, Commodore’s successor. “We showed them the replacement.”
Peter Keley, a past Holden NZ managing director who has more recently risen to become head of sales for GM Holden Australia, and executive director of corporate affairs George Svigos confirmed the event took place and that attendees have had to agree to total confidentiality about what was seen, for fear of causing market upset.
So, what’s in the mix? Well, there’s Opel’s Insignia, here next year in VXR performance form, and either the Chevrolet Impala or the Buick LaCrosse – one of these three will be Holden’s large sedan when the VF Commodore dies in 2017.
Of course, as mentioned above, the decision has already been made with key dealers already aware of what they’ll be selling beyond 2017. But, the key facts worth mentioning are that it looks unlikely there’ll be a V8-powered replacement and it certainly won’t be rear-wheel drive. The short-listers identified by company high-ups yesterday are all four-cylinder and V6 front-drive, though the Buick and Opel also option in all-wheel drive in current form.
Dimensional change? The Buick is closest in dimension to the current VF Commodore, followed by the Chevrolet then the Opel. The mystery car will be badged as a Holden. But as a Commodore? That call has yet to be made.
Now, the LaCrosse, Impala and Insignia were always considered top contenders. But so too has been the next generation Malibu sedan and the Cadillac ATS – smaller but alone in being rear-drive. Murray discounted those options.
He said while the successful candidate’s identity and drivetrain layout was revealed to salesforce seniors, they weren’t advised about the powertrain and drivetrain mixes.
The shortlist raises questions about how many Commodore variants might be offered post-2017. The Opel currently offers in sedan, hatch and wagon form; the LaCrosse and Impala are purely sedans in current form. None answer the question about another passenger car-derived utility to replace the VF Ute. Said Murray: “There may be another variant that is introduced to cater for that market.” Will it be a Commodore? “It potentially may become a different family.”
Murray assured the special preview was not to assuage concern dealers might abdicate the brand once VF goes. “It’s more about reassuring that whatever investment they make now and in the future is secure, given the plans that we have.”
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