We’re back to square one here – since once again we are talking about the Holden Commodore making its way to US shores. This time, however, Holden is looking to sell the Commodore as a police car in the U.S and it may not be a Chevy.
In an interview with Drive.com.au, GM chief Fritz Henderson said, “We’ve been working on a package for police applications. I just think that’s going to work. We’re pretty optimistic about it and that product will be sourced from Australia.” With some estimates suggesting that the US law enforcement contract could involve tens of thousands of vehicles per year, the deal could certainly prove worthwhile for Holden and GM.
Holden executives are believed to have been working on a proposal to sell the car to the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD is looking for a replacement for its fleet of aging Ford Crown Victoria sedans, which will be discontinued next year. Following GM’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the plan to import the Australian-built cars could be met with strong opposition from the auto maker’s new owners – the US Government and labor unions. The bankruptcy activities caused The General to shutter many plants and cut jobs at home and the new owners would much rather prefer to manufacture in the US rather than import foreign-built cars.
But Henderson would have none of it, saying that “While the large (rear-wheel-drive) cars may be made in Australia, they are an integral part of GM, contain US-built engines and transmissions and numerous other components, and are so ‘American’ in character that I don’t believe the law enforcement agencies would have any problems with the assembly origin of the vehicle. Plus, they’ll love it.”
If the deal goes through, it would be good news for workers at Holden’s Elizabeth plant in South Australia. The plant has been operating at roughly half capacity since the Pontiac brand was put to rest in the United States and the Pontiac G8 ceased to exist. The plant had cut one of its shifts in May, with some workers having been put on week-on, week-off work arrangements to avoid redundancies.
Pontiac G8 – Chevy Caprice?
Holden shipped 36,500 re-badged Commodores to the US last year as the Pontiac G8, a deal that’s believed to have been worth $1 billion. The G8 also accounted for roughly one third of total vehicle production and about two thirds of total exports at Holden. Early in June, Bob Lutz, GM’s Vice Chairman of Global Product Development, stirred the pot in the car enthusiast community by unofficially announcing that the G8 would be revived as the Chevrolet Caprice. Later in the month, however, Henderson shut the door on these plans, saying that he wasn’t a “fan of rebadging.” (it’s not really rebadging if it’s in different markets, is it?)
In a somewhat ambiguous turn of events, Henderson didn’t rule out a wider role for the Commodore in General Motors’ plans going forward by telling Drive.com.au that “It’s a global architecture, it gives us options in the future but right now you’d say, near term, no.”
One thing is for sure: police officers in the US and Canada will appreciate another modern V8-powered, rear-wheel drive sedan platform, but we still dream of the day when the Commodore is available to the American public at large. But what badge would such a vehicle wear?[Source: drive.co.au] [Image courtesy of autoblog.com]