GM today confirmed the return of the Holden Commodore to the United States. Last sold as the Pontiac G8, sales suffered because of Pontiac dealer training failures, lack of advertising, and the general decline of GM. The G8 was, as is the Holden Commodore, based on the technologically advanced “Zeta” platform which is also used underneath the Chevrolet Camaro.
This is great news for driving enthusiasts since the Holden is first and foremost a driver’s car. The Commodore is offered in Australia with a range of V-6 and V-8 engines along with modern engines and a dynamic suspension. And several variants are offered including the “Redline” series with a higher performance V-8, 6-speed manual, 19″ tires, and Brembo brakes. We saw several of these on our last trip to Australia and were very impressed. It’s not known if those will come to the U.S.
The existence of the Chevrolet SS sedan has been one of the worst kept secrets in GM over the past few months. The use of the Commodore body for NASCAR had been all but confirmed, and that alone confirmed the importation of the Commodore as the SS. A press image of the disguised SS testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway would have confirmed the SS if Chevrolet hadn’t finally confirmed it in the press announcement today.
Open questions remain… apparently both six-speed and manual transmissions will be offered, but on which V-8s? The current 6- and 6.2-liter engines, or the upcoming 5.5 liter? Furthermore, it is understood that the Camaro will move off the Zeta platform in the 2016 timeframe to the new Alpha platform (used in the Cadillac ATS). The Alpha is a more modern platform, with a particular emphasis on weight reduction (much needed by the porky Camaro). Will Holden then continue to build the Commodore on the Zeta platform, or will that be replaced by the Alpha? The implication in the wording below is that the SS Sedan would move to the Alpha platform along with the Camaro if sales are as expected.
Now that the news is out, it will be interesting to see what Ford has to offer along these lines… the Australian Falcon as it currently exists cannot be Federalized… but an opportunity is coming up for it and the new Mustang to share a chassis in the 2015-2016 timeframe. Will Ford step up to the plate and play?
And in 2013 when the Australian V-8 Supercars series comes to the United States, and fans at the new Circuit of the Americas racetrack outside of Austin Texas are watching the SS-labeled Commodores battle the Falcons, and where Chevrolet will undoubtedly show the production SS, what will Ford have to say?
GM Press Release follows:
Chevrolet Announces New SS Performance Sedan
Will compete in 2013 NASCAR and arrive in showrooms as 2014 model
DETROIT – Chevrolet today announced the return of a V-8 powered, rear-wheel-drive performance sedan to the U.S. lineup, the Chevrolet SS. The SS will also be Chevrolet’s next NASCAR Sprint Cup racecar and will debut in its race configuration at the 2013 Daytona 500.
The limited production version of the Chevrolet SS will be a 2014 model and will arrive in dealer showrooms in late 2013. It is the first time in 17 years that Chevrolet will offer a rear-wheel-drive sedan for sale in the United States.
Chevrolet has a long history of using the SS (Super Sport) designation on high-performance models of some of its most enduring nameplates. The SS designation first appeared in 1957 on a Corvette prototype race car built under the guidance of Zora Arkus-Duntov with the plan to enter it in the Le Mans 24-hour race.
The first production vehicle offered with an SS option was the 1961 Impala – 453 were built with the performance upgrades which included a modified chassis and suspension, power brakes, a steering column mounted tachometer and unique wheels and tires. The latest SS model in the Chevrolet lineup is the fifth-generation Camaro, which debuted in 2010.
The Chevrolet SS will be a derivative of the award-winning global rear-wheel-drive architecture that spawns performance vehicles like Chevrolet Camaro and Holden’s upcoming VF Commodore. The much anticipated Australian-built car will benefit from significant technology advances which enhance overall performance.
“As a passionate race fan and performance enthusiast, I am thrilled that Chevrolet will deliver a true rear-wheel-drive NASCAR racecar in the SS that is closely linked to the performance sedan that will be available for sale,” said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America. “The Chevrolet SS is a great example of how GM is able to leverage its global product portfolio to deliver a unique performance experience that extends beyond the track. I am personally looking forward to driving it.”
Chevrolet was America’s best-selling performance car brand in 2011 with Camaro and Corvette accounting for one out of every three sports cars sold in the United States. The addition of the SS should strengthen Chevrolet’s position as a leading performance brand.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.