The 2013 Holden VF Commodore was unveiled for the first time today in Australia (one day ahead of us on their Sunday afternoon) to an audience of automotive press and Holden workers, as well as to 185 worldwide viewers watching live on YouTube (a worryingly small number).
Technical specs were not revealed yet, but will be part of the production launch in a couple of months. The heavily revised rear-wheel drive Commodore is vital to Holden as it tries again to make a sustaining business case for an “orphan” car – that is, the only use of this particular chassis in the world (not counting the older version of it used under the current Camaro – but not the next). It’s a difficult financial case, but with help from the Australian Government Holden will benefit the Australian economy to the tune of $2B AUS to put the car into production and run the production line over the next few years. And the launch of the rebadged Commodore as the Chevy SS in the United States later this year as well as sales to existing markets in the middle East will hopefully be enough to keep the car in production – and Australian workers employed.
Watch the replay of the announcement here:
Mike Devereux, Chairman and Managing Director of Holden (clearly not from Oz himself, as his pronunciation of “aluminum” revealed), launched the car in front of an enormous slideshow. The interior of the car (featuring perforated leather French-seamed seats) was shown as the light blue Commodore was rolled out, but almost no details were released other than the use of aluminum for the hood and trunk (bonnet and boot).
The Commodore apparently uses a version of the Cadillac Cue system, to be known locally as “Mylink”.
We see a little of bit of Infiniti in the large creases running down the length of the hood. And the grill is, almost, feminine in a way. It will be hard to imagine this new body being used in a performance version, as the current Commodore offers in the very masculine “Z Series”.
And some influences from BMW in the side windows and trunk lid. And perhaps a little from Jaguar in the vent behind the front wheels. The Commodore has clearly moved upscale.
The platform used by the Commodore was designed from the start to meet U.S. crash standards, which is not the case with the Ford Falcon. This allows GM to export it to several markets worldwide. The Commodore is currently sold in several foreign markets, including the Middle East in long wheelbase form as the Chevrolet Caprice, in stripped-down and prepped form in the United States as the Chevrolet Caprice police car (not available to civilians), and in Europe in performance variants via special order as the Holden Commodore. It was also formerly sold in the United States as the Pontiac G8, cancelled when GM declared bankruptcy and eliminated the Pontiac brand.
An updated Ford Falcon has also been announced, although only the briefest (and fuzziest) picture of the front has been shown. The Falcon, however, is sold solely in Australia and has no chance of getting to the United States in any possible future. Ford has all but confirmed that it will be replaced with the next-generation Taurus platform, thankfully lighter and much more modern than the current Taurus. But things could change, or at least drag out on the current platform, and similar investments by the Australian Government will certainly be offered to keep Ford manufacturing and jobs in Australian.