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the waiting list for the Ford Mustang swells to more than 2000 eager future owners, Holden is still yet to go public with its plans for a V8-powered American muscle car.
Stefan Jacoby, who is ultimately responsible for the Holden product plan and led the push to put Opels from Europe back into the red lion lineup, has confirmed there is a rock-solid commitment from Detroit to a muscle car hero after the death of the Commodore.
Now the questions are which one, when, how much and how will it get to right-hand drive.
The two obvious and only contenders are the latest Camaro and Corvette, with Holden Special Vehicles as the potential pivot point for any deal. It has the engineering expertise, the manufacturing space and – once the Commodore goes to its maker – an urgent need for a headline car.
But the Walkinshaw family is yet to renew its contract with Fishermans Bend, despite more than a year of negotiations, providing another potential sticking point. Without a contract there is no access to Holden’s future planning but, without access to the plan, there is less likelihood of a renewed deal.
Although the Corvette has the brighter halo for Holden, it’s the Camaro – just renewed by America and for America, cutting ties to the Commodorebased Camaro comeback car – that looks the better bet.
It’s easier to tweak, would arrive with a sharper price, and is more in tune with the needs of Australia’s muscle car fans than the two-seat Corvette sports car.
But, despite Jacoby’s promises, it could be 2018 before there is enough funding and engineering expertise – short of a Walkinshaw project at Clayton – to make a right-hand drive Camaro into a reality in America.
By then, the Commodore will be long gone and Holden will be relying on the European Insignia, which is just launched as a VXR performance model, as its family fighter for Australia.
Even though V8 fans continue to provide a rich mix in the closing stages of Commodore production, total demand for the Holden hero continues to slide.
In late May, this led to the decision to wind production back from 290 to just 240 cars a day at Holden’s factory in Elizabeth in South Australia. The knock-on effect was the loss of another 270 workers, who were the subject of forced redundancies after insufficient employees took up a voluntary offer.