Holden's new 'We're Here To Stay' commercial was intended to reassure Australia that the brand will not disappear in the future. But has the carmaker shown more of the future than it meant to?
The ad features Holden ambassadors, dealers and staff -- and among the last of those is a designer working on a car we've not seen before. What shows on his computer screen is a four-door but with a fast coupe-like line to the rear roof. Meanwhile, sketches around his desk show a sportback or shooting brake wagon body.
Holden has confirmed the person in the ad is not an actor, but one of their designers, Evan Kingsbury, in their Melbourne studio. However the carmaker is coy about the vehicle Kingsbury is working on. "It's just a possible future General Motors car," Holden head of PR George Svigos told Carsguide, declining to be drawn further on the subject.
So do the designs point to the next Commodore to be launched here after Holden halts manufacturing in 2017 -- which would mean it's a GM model in any case. Or are they sneak peeks at designs for the Chinese market, for which Holden announced earlier this year it would be developing two cars in a partnership between GM and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC).
Either way, with GM's move towards more global platforms, there is the probability we will see a large sedan built on one of them in Australia after the Commodore ceases rolling off the local production line.
That could mean the design work in the ad feeds into a project for a new Chinese-built Buick flagship that could be rebadged as a future Commodore. That arrangement -- and the fluid lines of the design -- would fit with a comment in May by Mark Reuss, who told Forbes he'd like to see a Buick flagship that was “a much more beautiful Panamera,” (Porsche’s four-door sedan).
At the time, Reuss was GM executive vice president and president of North America, but as the boss of Holden from February 2008 until September 2009, few would be more aware of the automotive design talent in Australia.
And in his new position as GM's executive vice president of product development -- replacing May Barra in her move to the CEO's chair -- Reuss is certainly in a position to make the most of our talent pool.