Rivalry destined to continue
A CLEARER picture of the future Holden versus Ford battle has emerged after two significant cars were unveiled in Detroit this week.
While the V8 performance sedan might be dead for both brands, they are working on twin-turbo V6 power and allwheel-drive to replace the iconic Holden Commodore SS and Ford Falcon XR8.
The 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 unveiled in the Buick Avista (said to point to a successor to the Holden Monaro, see our Detroit coverage) is slated to be used in other high performance General Motors vehicles such as the Opel Insignia sedan that will provide the underpinnings of the 2018 Commodore.
The new Commodore will also take styling cues from the Buick LaCrosse sedan.
Meanwhile the 2.7-litre twin turbo V6 with all-wheel-drive unveiled in the Ford Fusion Sport sedan is just a taste of more to come.
The Fusion is the US name for the car we know as the Mondeo and Ford of Europe is reportedly working on an even hotter version of the car headed for global markets, including Australia.
Dubbed “Mondeo ST” and sitting above the Fiesta ST and Focus ST, the new model is expected to have a larger and more powerful twin-turbo V6 matched to all-wheel-drive.
Ford’s global marketing and sales boss Steve Odell told website Auto Express he believed there was room to expand the company’s high- performance range brand beyond the Focus RS model due here later this year.
While exact power figures for either model are yet to be confirmed, well placed Holden sources say the twin-turbo Commodore SS replacement will pump out close to or in excess of 300kW, on par with the current Commodore’s latest Corvette-sourced V8.
Representatives from Holden and Ford declined to comment on future model plans, but executives for both brands have previously said there will be a replacement for the iconic performance sedans.
There are two caveats though: they are unlikely to offer the same blistering performance as the current V8 models (0 to 100km/h in 5 seconds or less), and they are unlikely to be as affordable as today’s hero cars, which start at $45,000 for the Commodore SS.
It’s unclear how readily Australians will embrace twinturbo V6 power in lieu of their beloved V8s.
More than one-third of all Commodores sold last year were V8s and Ford had to double production of the supercharged Falcon XR8 after initially under-calling demand.
Orders for the Ford Mustang were also four times higher than expected, with 4000 customers in the 12-month waiting list. Ford initially thought the four-cylinder Mustang would be the topseller in Australia because of its price, but 90 per cent of the first 4000 orders are for the V8.