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Holden Commodore to get a German accent

EXCLUSIVE | The next Holden Commodore will come from Germany rather than China, bringing the car back to its 1978 roots.

The car that will replace the homegrown Holden Commodore in 2018 will come from Germany -- not China -- with a choice of four-cylinder or V6 power.

It means there will be no V8 in Holden showrooms for the first time since 1968 and no passenger-car-based ute for the first time since 1990.

Holden has changed its initial plans to source the Commodore’s replacement from China because booming demand in the world’s biggest car market is expected to consume all the vehicles made there.

Instead, Holden will source what is essentially the same vehicle but made by General Motors’ European division.

It means the Commodore will have come full circle: the original 1978 model was an Australianised version of the German family sedan made by Opel.

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Holden is yet to confirm the plans but well placed sources told News Corp Australia senior Holden executives have already driven the new generation car in Germany during the early phases of its development.

“We don’t discuss future model plans,” said Holden spokesman George Svigos. “(But) Holden is determined to bring to Australia the right products from across General Motors’ global portfolio.”

Holden is now debating whether or not the new sedan and wagon should be called “Commodore”, or adopt its European name “Insignia”.

Some senior Holden executives want to keep the Commodore badge because, as one said, “from a marketing perspective, it’s easier to say something has changed about the Commodore, than it is to say ‘here is the new XYZ’.”

But diehard fans -- and certain people within Holden -- believe the new model should not be called a Commodore because it’s a completely different car under the skin.

Every Holden Commodore since 1978 has delivered its power to the rear-wheels (as with similarly-sized BMW and Mercedes sedans), enabling engineers to give it a sporty feeling.

But the new generation 2018 car will drive the front wheels, like a Toyota Camry.

Holden insiders say a decision on the name isn’t needed for two more years but dealers have been told former Holden boss Mike Devereux -- now the head of sales in the Asia-Pacific for General Motors -- wants to scrap the Commodore badge and make a fresh start.

When Ford retires the Falcon badge after 56 years -- one of the oldest in the automotive world -- the Mondeo will become its large sedan offering because the 2017 model is said to be bigger than today’s Falcon.

Meanwhile, the German-sourced “Commodore” will help make Holden showrooms more multi-cultural in future, with other models to be sourced from South Korea, Thailand, the UK and the US.

All three of Australia’s car makers are planning to boost their model line-ups once their local factories close in 2016 (Ford) and 2017 (Holden and Toyota).

Joshua Dowling
National Motoring Editor
Joshua Dowling was formerly the National Motoring Editor of News Corp Australia. An automotive expert, Dowling has decades of experience as a motoring journalist, where he specialises in industry news.
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