Our colum­nists ask what if, would I, and why?

Motor (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

OKAY, so the news that Holden has con­firmed the Opel In­signia as the ba­sis for the next Com­modore is not the earth-shat­ter­ing kind. As in, we all sus­pected as much and, when the of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment was made, no­body started wav­ing their hands in the air shout­ing ‘Hold the front page!’ Of course, about the same time as the In­signia was named as the next Commy, news also broke that (French gov­ern­ment-owned) Peu­geot Citroen (PSA) had just pur­chased Gen­eral Mo­tors’ Euro­pean-based brands. That would be Vaux­hall and, in case you haven’t been pay­ing any at­ten­tion at all, Opel.

At which point the In­signia-as-Com­modore an­nounce­ment sud­denly threw up more ques­tions than it ac­tu­ally an­swered. Not the least of those is what the hell hap­pens now the PSA deal has gone through and Gen­eral Mo­tors no longer owns the Opel and Vaux­hall brands or their pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties? For its part Gen­eral Mo­tors is say­ing very lit­tle about fu­ture model sourc­ing plans, but that’s noth­ing new in this game.

How­ever, it has said that it’s com­mit­ted to the Opel deal for Com­modore as it stands, but the big ques­tion for blokes like me is: For how long? PSA has said that Vaux­hall will re­main Bri­tish and Opel will stay Ger­man, and you can read into that what you will. For me, though, it sounds an aw­ful lot like In­dian gi­ant Tata’s com­mit­ment to con­tinue Bri­tish pro­duc­tion of Jaguar, which is not nec­es­sar­ily a bad thing given this proven suc­cess. In­dian money plus Brit Jaguar-ness equals a reborn, re­vi­talised brand with in­ter­est­ing, wor­thy prod­uct.

But I don’t think it’s PSA that we have to watch here. Rather, it’s GM that will make the fi­nal de­ci­sions on what we get and when. Don’t for­get, it’s GM that owns Holden, not the French gov­ern­ment. Now, shoot me down in flames, but I can’t see a com­pany like Gen­eral Mo­tors buy­ing cars off a ri­val man­u­fac­turer to re­badge as Hold­ens. I could be wrong, but I just can’t see it. Not since the days of the But­ton Plan in this coun­try where Nis­san Pa­trols were badged as Ford Mav­er­icks and Toy­ota Corol­las were sold as Holden No­vas, has the land­scape seemed so sur­real.

So where does that leave us? Pos­si­bly with GM turn­ing to Dae­woo (which it owns) as a source of next-gen Hold­ens. Holden Epica or Mal­ibu (Dae­woo-built, the pair of them) any­one? Didn’t think so. And what about GM’s US-based mod­els? A US-made GM car that fit­ted the bill out here is a pretty rare bird. H3 Hum­mer? Nah, but thanks any­way.

For blokes like me, how­ever, the big­gest ques­tion thrown up by all this pa­per-shuf­fling ar­rives when I fi­nally de­cide to put down my coin on a 2018 Com­modore. At which point, the ele­phant in the room is: Have I just bought an in­stant or­phan? If the next-gen Commo re­ally is likely to be a one-model deal, isn’t it go­ing to be just as on the nose come trade-in time as a one-term pres­i­dent?

Look, I know it was never Holden’s in­ten­tion for the next Com­modore to be a stop-gap model, but I can’t help but think that’s how it’s shap­ing up. From where I sit any­way. Maybe I re­ally am the wrong de­mo­graphic here in the first place. I mean, I’ve said all along I prob­a­bly don’t want a Com­modore that isn’t built here. But as a bloke whose age and cul­tural vi­tal stats would seem to place him smack-dab in the cen­tre of the buyer pro­file of the cur­rent Com­modore, maybe I am that guy. And if I am, I’m go­ing to hedge my bets as long as I can. Be­cause you can bet your bot­tom shekel that things ain’t ever gonna be the same around here.

Just how much not-the-same is the $64,000 bug­ger.

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