Holden’s price clamp

You’ll pay the same money for a bet­ter car, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

THE price of the Holden Com­modore has been frozen de­spite the update of the Se­ries II VE.

The new model will con­tinue to cost $39,990 for a V6 Omega when sales start this month.

Com­pany chief Mike Dev­ereux says GM Holden is hold­ing the price de­spite the in­vest­ment needed on E85 flex-fuel en­gines, cos­metic changes and a 6.5-inch touch-screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem.

‘‘In fact, there are some lower prices on some of the Caprice range,’’ Dev­ereux says.

Holden is push­ing hard on the ad­van­tages of the E85 ethanol changes for the 3-litre V6 and 6-litre V8— the 3.6-litre V6 fol­lows next year — de­spite the limited num­ber of ser­vice sta­tions that pump the fuel.

The com­pany claims econ­omy im­prove­ments on the V6 of 2-3 per cent be­yond the gains made with the ad­di­tion of di­rect in­jec­tion last year, and the V8s have re­duced fuel use by up to 6 per cent, with sim­i­lar gains on CO emis­sions.

‘‘Bet­ter per­for­mance means driv- ing more ef­fi­ciently, more sus­tain­ably and the ad­di­tion of sim­pleto-use technology that makes driv­ing safe and fun at the same time,’’ Dev­ereux says.

Cos­metic changes are mi­nor, though the car looks a lit­tle more ag­gres­sive and there are more aero parts to help with econ­omy.

In­side there is a new cen­tre stack and con­sole de­sign, in­clud­ing the touch screen, which Holden is billing as Holden-iQ. It has Blue­tooth, wire­less, cable and USB con­nec­tions for mu­sic and mo­biles.

New-de­sign al­loy wheels are on ev­ery­thing be­yond the Ber­lina.

‘‘This is not a ma­jor thing like we did with VE. What we’re re­ally proud of is the iQ sys­tem, which I think will re­ally change how Aus­tralians in­ter­face with the car,’’ Dev­ereux says.

The ar­rival of VE II sig­nals a re­sump­tion of Com­modore ex­ports to Brazil, which pre­vi­ously ran from 1998-2008 with the VT-se­ries Com­modore. The car will be called the Chevro­let Omega Fit­ti­paldi, al­low­ing GM — and Holden — to cash in on the fol­low­ing of twotime For­mula One world cham­pion and In­di­anapo­lis 500 win­ner Emer­son Fit­ti­paldi.

The num­bers are small — 600 cars — but the new deal is a wel­come suc­cess for Holden. It con­tin­ues work to crack the lu­cra­tive po­lice car busi­ness in the US fol­low­ing the col­lapse of Pon­tiac ex­ports when the brand was closed as part of Gen­eral Mo­tors’ bank­ruptcy.

Sales will be­gin in Novem­ber, fol­low­ing a pre­view of the car at the Sao Paulo Auto Show in Oc­to­ber.

The Brazil­ian Com­modore is pow­ered by a 3.6-litre V6 ca­pa­ble of run­ning up to 25 per cent ethanol fuel, an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion in a coun­try that led the world in bio­fuel use.

Update: the VE II Com­modore range (above) and the new Holden-iQ touch screen (right).

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