As previously announced, Holden will cease manufacturing operations in Australia by 2017. That means the discontinuation of the much-loved Holden Commodore sedan. But General Motor’s new head of global product development, Mark Reuss, is looking to soften the blow a bit by bringing the next-generation of Chevrolet Camaro to Australia, reports News.com Australia.
“On all our products going forward we’re going to try and do right-hand-drive,” Reuss told Australian media prior to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Previously, Australia was close to having the Zeta-based fifth-generation Camaro arrive on its shores, but that plan was quickly scrapped amidst the 2009 global financial crisis. To note, the Zeta vehicle architecture was developed by Holden for use in the Commodore and Statesman/Caprice, but received notable modifications in being adapted for Camaro duty by GM’s engineers based in North America.
But Holden fans shouldn’t get too ahead of themselves, as just last year GM CEO Dan Akerson told News Corp Australia, “We may bring in iconic Chevrolets such as the Corvette and the Camaro and Cadillac someday, yes.” That quote was dismissed just hours later by GM’s second-in-charge, Tim Lee.
“I have no idea what Dan Akerson said but we have no plan to put a right-hand-drive under that bonnet. The Corvette is a Chevrolet, it’s not a Holden, it never will be, next question,” Lee said.
But Holden then was not in the same position as it is now. It’s believed the next-generation Commodore will exchange its rear-wheel drive layout for a more global, front-wheel drive architecture, thereby creating room for a rear-wheel drive replacement.
Additionally, Reuss, who was in charge of Holden earlier in his career, understands the frustration of having a limited model lineup, according to News.com. GM’s new head of International Operations, Stefan Jacoby, is also surprised by the inability to provide Australia with appealing models sold in North America. In addition, outgoing Holden boss Mike Devereux, who was recently promoted to Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales of GM’s Consolidated International Operations (CIS), has also pushed for more right-hand drive models in the past.
With support from three executive-level GM leaders, it would seem that now is Australia’s best chance ever of receiving North American vehicles.