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Holden Commodore name to live past 2017

The Commodore nameplate has been in use since the original VB model in 1978.

Is it un-Australian? Holden says the imported car that will replace the Aussie Commodore in 2018 will inherit the Commodore name – but fans are divided.

Holden has confirmed the imported car that will replace the Australian-made Commodore will inherit the iconic badge – even though it is widely speculated to be a front-wheel-drive car like a Toyota Camry, not a rear-wheel-drive car like every Commodore since 1978 and all homegrown Holden sedans dating back to the original in 1948.

The decision has divided diehard Holden fans who believe the Commodore badge should be retired gracefully, just as Ford will assign the Falcon badge to the history books when it reaches the end of the production line next year.

Holden says it interviewed 110 people and "70 per cent" voted in favour of keeping the Commodore badge once the Holden factory in Elizabeth falls silent in late 2017, ending 39 years of Commodore production, comfortably outlasting the iconic Kingwood badge which was dropped after 16 years.

We will continue with the Commodore nameplate

Marketing experts say a minimum of 1000 people need to be surveyed to get an accurate sample, but Holden says the study of 110 people were "in-depth customer focus groups conducted over a couple of hours to drill right down, not just a phone call".

"We will continue with the Commodore nameplate," said the head of General Motors' international operations Stefan Jacoby.

"Commodore is very much embedded into Holden, it's part of the Holden history, it's part of what Australian customers want to have and we listened to our customers."

Mr Jacoby said Holden is already testing the new model at its top secret test track in Lang Lang on the south-eastern outskirts of Melbourne. 

Holden is yet to confirm which engines will power the next Commodore but insiders have confirmed the vehicle will be available with four-cylinder and V6 power globally and there will be no V8.

Holden said it is prepared for a possible backlash

Mr Jacoby also defended the mooted switch to front-wheel-drive.

"I'm coming from a front-wheel drive group – the VW-Audi Group – with this company we don't believe there is a true disadvantage between a front-wheel drive … towards a rear-wheel drive."

Holden said it is prepared for a possible backlash but believes it has made the right move.

"We know the decision to retain or retire the Commodore nameplate will stir passionate responses among Holden fans and customers," said Holden sales director Peter Keley.

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"That's why we'll ensure the next-generation car drives like a Commodore should. The vehicle will be tuned and honed by Holden engineers and technicians … ensuring it performs in Australian conditions and to Australian expectations."

The next 'Commodore' will be the new version of the Opel Insignia, a German sedan that is also sold in the US and China as a Buick, but Holden will have input into design and engineering.

"Right now, our vehicle performance team is helping shape the next-generation Commodore for Australian customers," said Mr Keley.

Once the 2018 version arrives it means the Holden Commodore will have come full circle; the original 1978 model shared its DNA with the Opel family and fleet sedan of the time.

Retaining the Commodore nameplate is the right decision for Holden

Holden engineers modified the vehicle to suit Australian conditions. Over the next 30 years the Commodore shared less Opel DNA and eventually became a bespoke Australian design.

But Holden insists the 2018 Commodore will find favour among local buyers.

"The next-generation large car we have selected from GM's global portfolio is worthy of the iconic Commodore nameplate," said Mr Keley.

"When it arrives in 2018, our new large car will honour Commodore's heritage and support a long and successful future for Holden in Australia."

"Customers have confirmed that retaining the Commodore nameplate is the right decision for Holden."

Have your say on our Facebook page: Should Holden call the imported front-wheel-drive sedan a Commodore?

 

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