Testing un­der­way

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle News -

Testing

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.

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