Holden’s price clamp
You’ll pay the same money for a better car, writes Paul Gover
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).