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2018 Holden Commodore to go upmarket

Holden's new Commodore will "push back" against more affordable versions of the traditional luxury European brand models.

The new Opel-built Holden Commodore from Germany will be aimed at lower-end European models in addition to its usual rivals when launched here early next year, says its maker.

The new Commodore will face off with the likes of Kia's Optima and Sonata, Hyundai's i40, Ford's Mondeo and the Mazda6, when it moves down a segment to compete in the sub-$60,000 mid-size class rather than among traditional large cars.

The new Commodore could however, push into more premium territory occupied by entry versions of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, along with the Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb cousins if the European positioning of the Opel Insignia offers a clue.

Opel is pushing back against traditional luxury marques that were moving down into mainstream territory with their base-model cars according to the company's vice-president of design, Mark Adams.

Speaking earlier this week at the Geneva motor show and the Insignia's public debut, Mr Adams said: "Our key role, trying to balance this car, we have had the premium brands coming down into our space for a long time now and we felt that this is a car that we need to sort of push back a bit." 

"Why do we always take it that they are coming into our space? And we think we have a car that projects that aura of premium-ness at a much better value proposition. So as long as you are not a brand snob, you can find a better balance there. 

"We felt that was important and fitted with what Holden needed to do as well."

The new Commodore could be shopped against base-variant Europeans that start from between $55,000 and $60,000, depending on the model, but this will depend on final spec and pricing which will be confirmed ahead of its launch here next year.

According to Mr Adams, while the outgoing Insignia is competitive against the likes of the Mondeo, the new version will stack up well against some more premium offerings. 

"We know we can do great products, so we want to fight back a bit and this is a great vehicle that can do that. There will be other things we think we can stand tall on and we don't need to worry in that context. In this particular segment, you do need to worry about that because the premium executive cars play a big role in that space so we need to be able to perform in that," he said.

"Today's car (current-generation Insignia), against its normal competition, we do extremely well in the UK and places like that. So we think this car will allow us to push back even harder and that fits very nicely with what needs to happen in Australia, too."

There is a certain similarity in the requirements of different countries where the Insignia-based car will be sold according to Mr Adams.   

"When trying to piece together the different needs from different regions, a lot of it is very consistent in what it is trying to achieve," he said. 

"Yes, you have got to tune it differently to suit certain customer needs but at the same time, as long as the majority of the toolbox is consistent, that can be a great role it can play for everyone."

Can the next-gen Commodore really compete in a more premium arena? Tell us what you think in the comments below.