Australia May Get Next Generation Camaro, Additional Right Hand Drive Models23
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.
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Problem with their thinking is that they think Australians will buy these cars. The loss of the Commodore takes away any chance for the Camaro to be welcomed with open arms. No way will they price the Corvette at a price worth paying. Silverado is too big and won’t get enough sales to justify selling it here. Cadillac has the best chance but in this crowded market and without American pride working in its favour like in the US, it will struggle against Merc, BMW and Audi. Tim Lee talked about how the Camaro is a Chevy and will never be a Holden… Well what about our Commodore? We don’t want a 2nd generation Chevy SS engineered overseas. I pray that Tata or someone will buy Holden before its too late!
If another company bought Holden, it would turn into the crappy little brand it was before 1998! GM made it what it is today, don’t ruin that! I think GM should just replace Holden with Chevrolet. Like it or not, but to is the right thing to do business wise. . . .
Australia’s population is how many again??? lol
“GM’s new head of international Operations, Stefan Jacoby, is also surprised by Australia’s inability to get appealing U.S. only models.”
Either this is editorializing of Jacoby’s statements, or not a good start to his new position. I seriously think it’s the former, but this is not the message GM wants to be sending regardless. Holden dominated the RHD system at GM. Was Alpha and Corvette just supposed to magically shuffle interiors, like Lego blocks?
Corvette isn’t going RHD because it’s pre-Alpha and can’t for at least the next seven years. Camaro can, but will wait for Alpha transition because it makes no sense to take a RHD Zeta, rewrite it for a LHD market, and then rewrite it again for RHD.
Until then, Australia can start to understand what we’ve been living life with over here… a lack of affordable modern RWD sedans and spacious coupes. Welcome to the party, pals.
Christopher Price shows one of the reasons why GM went bankrupt, and had to be saved by the US government at the cost of 11 thousand million USD.
How can any top automaker not think every car to be developed for both RHD and LHD from the very start, from the very first thought and very first stroke on the drawing board? Of course such an automaker had to go down the drains.
Thoughts like “to take a RHD Zeta, rewrite it for a LHD market, and then rewrite it again for RHD” simply make me speechless. One has to design each for for both positionso of the steering wheel from the outset.
As to the Holden engineers, it seems to me that they had understood this. Otherwise they could not have exported their Commodores worldwide into LHD drive markets like the Arab East or North America, or China so successfully. On the other hand, GM exported the Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette to Britain and Ireland as LHD drive models only, as if they wanted to show their inability to develop world class cars.
So why can’t they just import LHD models, I have a LHD caddy I drive in NSW, Vic and WA, and it’s no hassle at all, I’ve driven both LHD, RHD cars in countries where it’s not uncommon to have different side driving and I have never had any sort of problem. People learn to adapt, simple.
Observer7, I think that’s a bit of an oversimplification. My comments were specifically towards Camaro and Alpha.
Camaro is not your typical Zeta. Anyone familiar with Zeta knows Camaro is a very reworked Zeta car. Zeta, the platform, is designed for RHD and LHD. But, Camaro is a one-off – Detroit took Zeta and tore it apart to create Camaro. That’s why Camaro looks so different from all the other Zetas (and Sigmas, for that matter).
Had Camaro’s design team known what was going to happen to Holden, things might have been different. We might have seen a vastly different Camaro that was more in the vein of the Coupe60. Coupe60, unlike Camaro, could easily have swapped RHD and LHD.
Long story short, Camaro lost a lot of the adaptability that Zeta normally had for RHD/LHD swapping. And, that made sense. Nobody thought at the time Holden would lose all its RWD cars, why put an imported/expensive Camaro up against cheaper domestics that handle better stateside in Australia? Vauxhall even has the VXR8, limiting the need for a RHD Camaro there.
The good news is, the Alpha Camaro in development is taking this into account, and will be much more RHD/LHD swappable than the Zeta Camaro. The bad news for Holden folks, is they’re losing Commodore and have no guarantee they’ll get Camaro anytime soon after Alpha launches.
My guess is Holden could be waiting multiple years before Camaro lands, after Commodore ceases production. It will be a challenge for Holden to sustain rolling out Camaro, as a Chevrolet no less, while dealing with consumer revolt (assuming Commodore goes FWD).
My criticism of GM is in their abrupt pull-out of Holden manufacturing, without a strong public statement of a product strategy. Alpha is certainly more swappable in terms of LHD/RHD than Camaro’s today, but is it as swappable as Zeta? I’m not so sure, because I think the Alpha team assumed Zeta would not just abruptly implode December 31, 2015.
A Holden Camaro is like a Porsche 911 with Volkswagen badges. Both doesn’t match since the Camaro and Corvette are American icons.
I got an idea. I’ll buy a Camaro and find someone in Australia to buy a Ute and then we’ll trade ’em! Everybody’s happy. Cool!
Even though the pain of Holden’s loss of local manufacturing is killing me and many others right now, I may just be able to forgive GM if we a) get Cadillac back in the Australian market, b) get a right hand drive Alpha Camaro and c) get the full range of Chevy pickups and SUVs. I have no problem buying US made, I just don’t want to see any more rebadged Korean Chevs, they suck! For you motorheads out there Google Performax International and American Vehicle Sales. They bring in GMC, Cadillac and Chev trucks, convert them to RHD and charge around $100,000 AUD for a fully converted RHD model. They also bring in Corvette and Camaro and charge anywhere from $80-120,000 depending on the model. These two companies and roughly half-a-dozen others sell in excess of 2,000 – 3,000 LHD converted to RHD US cars a year, so there is a market in Australia for these vehicles, even at these ridiculously inflated prices. If GM could make a business case for right hand drive factory models that sell at around 2/3 the retail cost of aftermarket conversions there is no doubt they could have a great little niche for the Australian market. I for one would by another new GM product if this were the case, but I won’t be holding my breath. Chevrolet and it’s products are still well known with car enthusiasts in Australia, but not the general public. Hell, Holden were still assembling locally built full sized Chevrolets in Australia right up until the late 60s – early 70s, however demand for local Holdens and the introduction of the Statesman/Caprice ultimately took priority during those glory years of the company. There is leverage in this country for the iconic Chevrolet models, and if GM want to call them Holdens I wouldn’t have a problem with that. I certainly hope some GM execs read this blog!
I told you that the Camaro just could end up there.
Now while there are a few fools that will not be interested there is a lot of other people in Australia that will take up the full allotted pool of cars they could import.
The Camaro is no longer just an American Icon or even a Pony car. It is GM’s global affordable sports coupe.
The last car was looked at for RHD but with the lack of money GM thought it better to just make the Camaro the best they could for the American market and revisit the Global car in the next gen if the money is there. Well the money is here now.
GM really would have liked a new platform for the Gen 5 Camaro but the money was not there and they had to do what they could with the Zeta since it was available. Keep in mind the Camaro concept came at a time GM could not even afford to put the hood scoops and split exhaust on the GTO let alone rebody the car.
Generally most of the GM cars are now all true global and will have left and right hand drive options.
I believe knowing what I do with most of my customer if priced right a Camaro and SS imported from Detroit would do fine down under. Granted there is the sting of job losses but when presented with a even better more up to date car that will clean most clocks I think the customer will come and buy if they can afford it.
The real question is will they sell it as a Holden Camaro or will they change it to a Holden Monaro. I just do not see them selling under the Chevy banner and they said a while ago if they ever sent it over it would not be called a Holden Camaro. They may have changed this thinking but time will tell. I would like to see Holden get some trim changes to make it more their own model.
The good news here for the folks there is if GM sends the Camaro Ford may just bring in the new Global Mustang and they may have a good old HP war down under.
We’ll see Scott, this is still all purely speculation at this stage. FYI, Ford Australia confirmed the all new Mustang to replace Falcon as its hero car, so the ball is well and truly in the Generals court. Hopefully there is some sort of Alpha sedan in the pipeline for Holden too, plenty of us here still love the practicality of RWD sedans. As for calling the next-gen Camaro a Monaro if it lands down here, I think that nameplate should live in the past as it is a true homegrown name which should only be reserved for locally made coupes. I’m sure there is an original name we could come up with. Our original Monaros weren’t pony cars, they were more like scaled down Chevelles and also based off regular sedans. If the next gen Camaro still has pony car design cues, I’m all for a Holden Camaro or a new name altogether, it just seems to make more sense to me.
The Camaro is no longer a Pony car and weighs more than any Chevelle my family ever had. Note we had 8 of them over the years.
In the past GM was reluctant even when they considered the 5th gen going down under to call it a Holden Camaro but on the other hand we now have a Holden Cruze and Malibu etc so that thinking may have changed.
In my job I deal with performance parts and we ship a lot down under. I get a lot of photo’s and info on the cars. I know and see a great number of Chevy product along with a lot of American metal that has always been popular there. IF GM can send a sedan and Coupe over cheaper than they could bring them here they will do it. As of now it should be cheaper.
Even here the G8 really was anything but a Pontiac. It may have worn the name but it really had no real DNA in it other than the styling and red dash lights. But we still loved the car a sit was a good car.
I really see no issue with the Alpha coming in and doing well. I just hope they include the CTS for you all too. I think they would do very well down under.
@evanG I didn’t comment simply because I don’t understand the market in Australia, but what I do know for a fact is that holden is still owned by GM for a reason. GM killing Holden is not as great an idea like you think, Holden represents something truly unique to Australians. Holden to them is what Chevy is to people like us. A better option would be to just sell the company off as it would allow Holden to expand globally with all unique models thus keeping the name alive.
It looks like we could see a revival of the Holden Suburban….
Everyone is saying that Holden (and Aussies and Kiwis) will get Camaro and a 2nd generation Chevrolet SS to fill the void left by Commodore and Caprice (the FWD 4 cylinder mid-size piece of crap they want to call a Commodore in 2018 won’t count). The problem that this decision looks good on paper but in reality it isn’t going to work out too good for GM. The people making these decisions for one have no experience working for Holden in Australia. I’m sure Mark Ruess and Mike Devereux both know what I’m about to say.
Australians don’t want a Commodore replacement. The Commodore is more than a RWD large family and sports sedan. There are car enthusiasts who bought a G8, then got a Dodge Charger and now want an SS because those 3 fit their criteria. The Commodore is more than that. It is a symbol of Australian design, engineering and manufacturing. That’s why it defied the odds and the critics to still sell in the top 3 of sales today. Surrounded by small cars that don’t use as much fuel as any large car. The Commodore was a comfort, luxury and sports car in one with both its trims but its features as well. A 2nd generation SS will only be a sports car and will be priced above what we would pay for it. A 2nd generation SS will be less appealing than a Chrysler 300 (we don’t get Charger here) when you factor in the sting caused by GM’s decisions. If they had of kept Holden Engineering to work on 2nd Gen SS then it would be a different story. Ford angered everyone when they stopped putting effort into selling the Falcon and Territory and the closure of manufacturing was seen coming but still stung. At least they have the brains and decency to retire the Falcon name and keep both design and engineering. Sadly the Commodore and Territory names may end up on foreign sub-par products.
REPLY TO EVEN G: What’s so special about ’98? Holden was already one of the best in the business and before 98 it had already proven its worth with Monaro, Kingswood, Torana, Statesman and Commodore. After ’98, it proved its worth again with those cars minus Kingswood and Torana…. however, there was the TT36 Torana Concept car. Speaking of concepts, Holden has developed some amazing stand out concepts including the award winning Efijy concept car and the fan favourite Coupe 60. Their first concept car, the Hurricane, predicted much of the future of auto-mobiles including power windows, reversing camera, climate control, digital gauge and more. Whilst GM has obviously spent money on Holden and set up much of its operations, it is the employees of Holden who have significantly contributed to where Holden is today and some of the funding has come from Australian tax payers too. Holden wouldn’t have their own cars if it wasn’t for our government pursuing the idea of Australia’s own car. Many times GM has held Holden back due to the fact that GM has owned and owns many companies. Holden was limited in exports and could never compete as their own brand overseas. Providing the right buyer gets Holden, they could continue to be one of the best brands in the world. Many are calling for Tata to buy Holden because they need a brand like Holden to take on mainstream brands like Toyota and Mazda. Holden, Jaguar and Land Rover together can take the auto world by storm. Should GM replace Holden with CHevy? Absolutely! Let the Holden name rest in peace and not be tainted by foreign products trying to replace the ones we put pride in to produce OR better yet bring Chevy here and sell Holden and Aussie assets. GM could turn a significant loss into a profit and opportunity. Even if Holden was sold and struggled without GM, at least it has a real future unlike being nothing than a badged engineering focused marketing strategy. Even Vauxhall is more than that because they still have manufacturing.
Actually not really Evan, all of the engineering that was put into the Zeta based Commodore was done by Holden entirely. Same could be said with regards to Vauxhall/Opel engineering on all of the FWD cars that Chevrolet sells right now. In all honesty, I’m surprised that Magna Automotive didn’t make GM an offer on Holden, while they were in talks about buying Vauxhall/Opel. In short GM is multilateral in engineering and removing any of the engineers that developed these vehicles, whether its the Astra, Cruze, Silverado or the Commodore, it takes more then just one person to make these cars. Also taking away Holden from Australia is like taking Chevy from America. So in a business sense it would be the wrong thing to do because Holden will not get the same demand for Chevrolet as they did for Holden in Australia, and give market share to their competitors. Even this move out of Australia may reduce their market share, because of the removal of production in Australia, may make people think of other manufacturers due to their being no distinction between Holden and other companies in terms of both where the car is produced and what they sell in their line up, in this case the lack of the Commodore.
Magna Automotive’s name has been thrown about the media recently in relation to Holden’s closure. It was reported that they are one of the companies that are in discussions with the SA government about approaching GM for a plant buyout. Albert Lidauer who is Executive President for Exterior and Interior manufacturing at Magna, was Executive Director for Holden manufacturing operations 2000-2003 during the Peter Hanenberger “Golden days”. He would probably know the Elizabeth plant’s operations fairly well and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was closely involved in any potential discussions if true. If they are interested in taking over Holden or just the Elizabeth plant for outsource type manufacturing, like they do at their plant in Graz then they better move quick.
It wouldn’t surpise me if Toyota are watching such developments closely before making a decision to close manufacturing here to due to the effect on the supply chain. I don’t know how much of the supply chain is shared by Toyota and Holden or how much of it would be required for outsource type manufacturing. But if it is and Toyota announce a pull out the show’s over kids. We can kiss goodbye to car manufacturing in this country. Then we sit back and listen to the ‘scorch and burn the earth and start again’ economic ‘expert’ jounalists turn on shipbuilding, then the next industry and so forth and watch the country turn into a ‘quarry, farm and tourism desitination’ to borrow Mike Devereux’s words.
In regards to future RHD models I would like to see a Caddy ATS size car come here. An ATS size car is what I am planning to move onto after the SS. A Torana along the lines of the TT36 concept would have been perfect. Something a bit smaller, easier on fuel, easier to handle around town etc. Potential rivals for this car and what I will probably be looking at will be the rumoured mid-size Hyundai Genesis model and the coming RWD Alfa Giulia, if Alfa Romeo decide to stay at the semi-premium end of the market in this country and not try to match the German’s on price.
Christopher Price wrot on January 14 at 10:06 am that “Camaro lost a lot of the adaptability that Zeta normally had for RHD/LHD swapping. And, that made sense.”
Really? Isn’t it rather a sign of the shortsightedness which contributed to GM’s bankruptcy?
Evan G wrote on January 15 at 3:25 pm about “Holden, […] the crappy little brand it was before 1998! GM made it what it is today, don’t ruin that!”
Well, Holden became this “crappy little brand” when it merged with the Australian GM subsidiary, and became a wholly owned subsidiary of GM in 1931 (two years after Opel, six years after Vauxhall).
So GM made it what it was before 1998, don’t ruin that!
@Observer7 – I’d reckon 90% of the people reading this site would agree that GM should have had a Zeta manufacturing plant stateside, and that the second-gen Impala, G8, Caprice, and SS would all be rocking the sales charts over here.
GM didn’t go bankrupt because of that bad decision. It went bankrupt because of union contract shortsightness. GM became fiscally solvent the moment it went Chapter 11. Unfortunately, the Obama Auto Task Force would never allow GM to keep the G8, Pontiac, or any of the infrastructure needed to sustain a domestic Zeta program.
Camaro had to make do with the notion that it would be made solo, apart from other Zetas.
If you want to be angry, be angry that GM isn’t making affordable Alpha sedans globally. The ATS Coupe and Sedan were supposed to be engineered to go downmarket to the second-gen G6, and the CTS was supposed to go downmarket to the second-gen G8.
It could still happen, but I think it will take years for Barra and Reuss to break bread enough to pull something like that off.
Zero Five wrote on January 14, 2014 at 1:58 pm
about companies in Australia importing “GMC, Cadillac and Chev trucks, convert them to RHD and charge around $100,000 AUD for a fully converted RHD model”, adding that “If GM could make a business case for right hand drive factory models that sell at around 2/3 the retail cost of aftermarket conversions there is no doubt they could have a great little niche for the Australian market.”
Don’t count on those being RHD capable as they come out from their technical development center …
I just noticed that GM got in the last year (2013) about 5 Cadillac Escalade per month registered as new cars in Germany, in 2012 even a total of 77 over the whole year, which is about 13 every two months.
According to the statistics supplied by the British Department for Transport, GM sold just one Escalade in the whole year 2012 within the confines of the United Kingdom (I could not yet find the data for 2013).
My guess for what caused this big difference is that GM cannot deliver RHD Cadillacs, and only offers LHD US cars on the British Isles. “V8Jon” or others contributing from Britain might correct me on this or confirm it.
i think its really a big load. if our government was smart (australian) they would get rid of all the car taxes they charge to bring in cars from overseas now they have ruined the australian market. I’m looking at buying a new ale ss camaro $45k in america….. then we go 33% tax back into australia plus $32k LHD-RHD. So thats $92k not including shipping costs, that is completely ridicules but i know of many people buying mustangs, camaros, challengers, silverados, raptures etc… the cheapest i have seen for anyone to bring back a new american car was a 2010 v6 camaro which cost him $85,000….. thats a standard v6 compare that to a $35k falcon or commodore. people still say there is no market? what a load if people are spending 100s of thousands on new american cars and i myself would love to purchase one. look at these car clubs how many of them are classic american and european cars!! that was before our government tried to protect aussie made stuff. maybe if they stopped intervening in things it would pan out nicely. let people own what car they want without having to pay 3x the price of what its worth