of the all-new Holden Commodore is underway at Lang Lang in Victoria. The front-wheel drive newcomer, believed to be a development of the Opel Insignia, is coming in late 2017 or early 2018 after the closure of the red lion factory at Elizabeth in South Australia.
Confirmation of development work of the nextgeneration Commodore comes right from the top of General Motors’ international operations.
“We are driving this car already in Lang Lang,” said Stefan Jacoby, a one-time Audi executive, at the Detroit auto show in January.
He is talking tough on the car, which is already copping criticism from ‘Holden traditionalists’ for its size, European origins, front-wheel drive, and perhaps a four-cylinder turbo engine.
“We understand what Commodore is, and we understand that better than anybody else, and it is very obvious that the Commodore successor needs to be stronger than today’s model. We will do everything to do that, with modern technology.
“With today’s technology, especially with downsizing, we can over-perform a traditional six or eight cylinder. We have to ensure, with this modern technology, better fuel economy, better CO2, better weight ratio than today’s model, we can achieve the better performance.”
Jacoby was in Detroit with former Holden boss Mike Devereux and admitted he was the one who had the final say on the Holden factory closure.
“Yes, I am the guy who finally made this decision. It was obviously an executive team decision and then a board decision, but I am of the strong opinion this was the right thing for Australia and this is the best thing for Holden as well,” he said.
“I think, personally, without really influencing the inner affairs of Australia, this is the right way to go,” concludes Jacoby.
Despite the heavy GM presence at the Detroit show there was no announcement of a new president for Holden, after the shock departure of Gerry Dorizas after only five months.
“We want to make the right decision. Do it once and do it right,” said GM president, Dan Ammann.
Holden dealers are believed to have lobbied for Rob McEniry, a one-time Holden honcho who also headed Saab before retiring after leading Mitsubishi through its Australian factory shutdown, but the smart money is on Mark Bernhard, an Aussie expat currently in charge in China.
“We’ve been moving in the direction of having local managers, local nationals. I think there are a lot of reasons why that’s a good thing. But, at the same time, we’ll find the best possible person who we think can do the job in the long term,” said Ammann.