Is this the next Com­modore?

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - News - JOSHUA DOWL­ING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING ED­I­TOR

HOLDEN deal­ers have forecast a dra­matic sales slow­down when the im­ported Com­modore re­places the lo­cally made model in 2018 — but the de­cline will be off­set by other mod­els.

The next gen­er­a­tion Com­modore will be front-wheel drive and avail­able only with four-cylin­der or V6 power — and there won’t be a V8, which ac­counts for 36 per cent of sales.

“There’s no doubt Com­modore sales will be cut in half,” says a Holden dealer with three decades’ ex­pe­ri­ence.

“We’ll lose a third of sales straight off the bat be­cause there’s no V8, plus Holden won’t be push­ing rental cars as hard, which is how they are making up a lot of vol­ume.”

The dealer says the sporty Com­modore SV6 is pop­u­lar with pri­vate buy­ers but he expects de­mand for its front­drive suc­ces­sor to slow down.

An­other long­stand­ing Holden dealer adds: “A lot of tra­di­tional sedan buy­ers are switch­ing to SUVs and utes. That will con­tinue to grow and sedans will con­tinue to slide. Fam­i­lies want more space than sedans pro­vide.”

But deal­ers an­tic­i­pate be­ing less re­liant on the Com­modore in the fu­ture.

Holden is plan­ning to in­tro­duce 24 new mod­els by 2020, in­clud­ing a sig­nif­i­cant up­date to the slow-sell­ing Colorado ute due in Au­gust.

Utes are now among the best­sellers for sev­eral top 10 brands, in­clud­ing Ford, Toy­ota and Nis­san.

Mean­while, the big­gest clue yet to the Holden Com­modore of the fu­ture was un­veiled at the Los An­ge­les show last week.

The new Buick LaCrosse lux­ury sedan has the same un­der­pin­nings and body struc­ture as the 2018 Com­modore, which will be im­ported once the Ade­laide pro­duc­tion line closes in 2017.

The de­sign will change slightly, though the Buick is the clear­est in­di­ca­tion yet as to what the first im­ported Com­modore will look like, in­clud­ing the long sleek body, hooped roof, large grille and ta­pered head­lights.

Se­nior Gen­eral Mo­tors ex­ec­u­tives at the LA show told Cars­guide the Buick shares key com­po­nents that will form the ba­sis of the next Com­modore.

The Buick LaCrosse is the first in a line of new lux­ury sedans based on a com­pletely new un­der­body to be used by GM glob­ally. Next comes the Opel In­signia from Ger­many — it’s an open se­cret Opel will be the source of the im­ported Com­modore, as Holden has had en­gi­neers in Ger­many for the past couple of years.

In­signia spy pho­tos show the same stretched di­men­sions and roof as the LaCrosse. GM bosses con­cede the Buick and Com­modore ar­chi­tec­ture would be com­mon.

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