Ever since General Motors first announced that Holden would cease local production in 2017, the future of its iconic Commodore nameplate has been up in the air. Former Holden CEO and vice-president of sales and marketing at GM International Operations, Mike Devereux, said last year the model would live on past the current VF-generation car, but at the time it wasn’t clear if it would retain its rear-wheel drive layout. For Holden fans, this news was bad enough, but a new report from News Corp Australia indicates the Commodore nameplate is doomed after all.
The next full-size sedan to wear a lion and stone badge will come from China and will allegedly ride on a new, front-wheel drive global vehicle architecture. For many, the deposition of the Commodore name will be upsetting, but others may welcome it, as historically Commodores have been rear-wheel drive and had a V8 engine option on offer.
Holden’s sales and marketing executive, Phil Brook, has been pleading with Devereux to keep the Commodore name around. He reportedly has said he needs “the Commodore name to help sell this car”. Brook has denied these rumors, but did admit to News Corp Australia the Commodore nameplate is “up for discussion.”
Last year, Devereux told reporters the automaker had already begun work on the next-generation Commodore, which some speculated would be called ‘VJ’.
“The interesting thing about the fascination of the Commodore name – and frankly it’s the reason why I wanted to lay that down today to end any speculation – is that people love this nameplate, and that we are going to have another one of these,” Devereux was quoted in saying.
If Holden’s next full-size sedan arrives on the shores of Oz without a Commodore badge and with a front-wheel drive layout, Chevrolet may begin to import other performance models into the region to fill the void. Newly appointed HSV boss Tim Jackson said earlier this year the performance sub-brand will continue operations beyond 2017. Without the Commodore to hop up, HSV may be tasked with adding some Australian flair to performance models imported from North America, which could include a next-generation Chevrolet SS or Camaro. The brand could also diversify itself and focus on smaller performance models, such as those from Opel’s OPC line.