Mat­ter of great im­port

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - NEWS -

AUS­TRALIA, your new Holden Com­modore is al­most ready. These are the first of­fi­cial images of the Ger­man model that will wear the iconic Com­modore badge when it ar­rives in lo­cal show­rooms in 2018.

Ear­lier this week the Com­modore was ac­ci­den­tally laid bare af­ter its sis­ter car was caught on cam­era by a spy pho­tog­ra­pher dur­ing an ad­ver­tis­ing shoot in a busy street in the US.

The black sedan and grey wagon wore Opel badges and had Ger­man num­ber­plates but the only dif­fer­ence be­tween these cars and what we will know as a “Com­modore” is the badge.

There is, how­ever, a world of dif­fer­ence be­tween the new Com­modore and the old one.

Gone is the V8 that ac­counts for more than one-third of sales. Com­ing is a choice of four-cylin­der petrol and diesel front-drive power, and a flag­ship V6 all-wheel drive.

Per­for­mance en­thu­si­asts be warned: there is no turbo V6 (the tur­bocharg­ers won’t fit un­der the bon­net ap­par­ently) and Holden Special Ve­hi­cles is un­likely to fill that per­for­mance void for the same rea­sons.

Where cur­rent Com­modore V8 buy­ers will mi­grate is yet to be seen but chances are it won’t be a Holden show­room.

In­stead, Holden is tar­get­ing fam­i­lies and fleets seek­ing a sedan with the con­ve­nience of a hatch.

Un­like any pre­vi­ous Com­modore, the im­port is a five-door hatch­back — just like the Ford Mon­deo it com­petes with in Europe.

The rad­i­cal de­par­ture from a sedan body is de­signed to ap­peal to SUV buy­ers who want flex­i­ble cargo car­ry­ing abil­ity.

To fur­ther broaden its ap­peal — and re­spond to the in­creas­ing pres­ence of lux­ury brands in the mid-size sedan seg­ment — the new Com­modore will be loaded with tech­nol­ogy.

Top-end mod­els will be avail­able with “ma­trix” LED head­lights that turn night into day with­out daz­zling on­com­ing cars, as well as au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing, radar cruise con­trol, lane-keep­ing as­sis­tance and rear cross-traf­fic alert.

Other lux­u­ries on dearer mod­els in­clude mas­sage and ven­ti­lated seats, 360-de­gree cam­era and elec­tronic road­noise can­cel­la­tion.

The in­te­rior of the new Com­modore looks like a larger ver­sion of the lat­est Holden As­tra — both were de­signed by Opel in Ger­many — in­clud­ing a new Audi-style dig­i­tal in­stru­ment dis­play.

To dis­tin­guish the Opel In­signia and the Holden Com­modore ver­sion of the same car, the badges will dif­fer.

In ev­ery other re­gard they are iden­ti­cal, which no doubt will light up in­ter­net fo­rums again.

When Holden gave the me­dia a sneak pre­view drive and con­firmed the Com­modore name in Oc­to­ber, Holden fans fired up over the use of the his­toric badge.

Most pleaded with Holden to re­tire the name, as Ford did with the Fal­con.

The next-gen­er­a­tion Com­modore is just 3cm wider and 4cm longer than a Toy­ota Camry — and much smaller than the home­grown Holden it re­places.

How­ever, some Holden en­thu­si­asts on so­cial me­dia could see past the badge.

A well-placed Holden in­sider has told Cars­guide the main rea­son the com­pany stuck with the Com­modore name was: “It’s eas­ier to tell peo­ple some­thing’s changed about the Com­modore, than ‘here is the new XYZ’.”

The in­sider said “Com­modore” is in­stantly recog­nis­able and Holden doesn’t need to waste money ad­ver­tis­ing a new name.

For its part Holden in­sists there are no plans to re­verse the de­ci­sion and re­tire the Com­modore name.

Us­ing the Com­modore name on the In­signia is akin to Ford us­ing the Fal­con badge on its Mon­deo mid-size sedan.

But Ford says such a move was never even con­sid­ered ... and weighs in fur­ther.

“We wanted to re­tire our name­plate with some dig­nity and re­spect,” says Ford Aus­tralia boss Graeme Whick­man.

“(Ford fans) would have been un­happy if we would ever put that name on a ve­hi­cle that didn’t live up to the legacy or the his­tory the (Fal­con) has.”

Asked whether Holden should have re­tired the Com­modore name for the im­ported model, he says: “At the end of the day, whether it was the right thing or the wrong thing to do will be (de­cided) by cus­tomer re­sponse.”

The Ford boss reck­ons the

2018 Holden Com­modore: Com­puter-gen­er­ated images


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