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Is this what the 2025 Holden Commodore might have looked like? Clues from the past as new GM concept takes aim at the BYD Seal, Tesla Model 3 and more

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The Buick Electra L concept may have been a Holden.
The Buick Electra L concept may have been a Holden.

Is this what next year’s Holden Commodore would be if General Motors hadn’t pulled the plug in 2020?

Revealed at the Beijing Auto Show in late April, the Buick Electra L and its LT touring wagon twin are a crowd-pleasing pair of near-production electric vehicle (EV) concepts that preview a new premium midsized series.

Of particular interest are their styling details, revealing where GM’s design for cars of this size and proportion are at as we head into the second half of this decade.

In this case, their beautifully-contoured bodies stand low and wide, and are defined by smooth, flowing lines, large glass areas, thin pillars, LED lighting signatures and very pleasing proportions overall.

That said, along with the Electra LT wagon’s Peugeot 508-style looks, there’s a small but telling nod to GM’s past going on too, involving a model that was also sold under the Holden brand not too long ago.

In profile, a specific and aesthetically defining element of the original and still handsome Opel Insignia from 2009 is very clearly present – and that’s in the ‘hockey stick’ crease that forms part of the crisp side surfacing treatment. It was also sold as the Holden Insignia for two years from 2015, as well as the Buick Regal in North America and China.

Being described as BMW 5 Series-sized, at around five metres long and riding on a three-metre wheelbase.

It’s easy to imagine that – had Holden lived – GM’s design teams in Port Melbourne and Detroit would be planning some sort of Commodore successor such as these Buicks right about now, to take on popular family cars as diverse as the Toyota Camry, Subaru Outback and Tesla Model 3.

With GM’s much-heralded focus on EVs, it isn’t just the Electra concepts’ designs that might have provided inspiration for the crew down at Fishermans Bend.

The 1994 Opel Omega previewed the VT Commodore.
The 1994 Opel Omega previewed the VT Commodore.

Under that sleek skin is GM’s Ultium electrified architecture, a variation of which is found in the coming Cadillac Lyriq luxury SUV for Australia.

With a motor on the rear axle making about 250kW, the Buick show cars are rear-wheel drive only for now, but of course a twin-motor all-wheel drive option is likely once production commences, possibly as soon as from next year. Additionally, up to 700km of range has been touted, though this is using the less-strict Chinese testing protocols. Still, GM is keen to upstage Tesla with the Electra Ls.

Speaking of which, the Model 3’s incredible sales success globally and in Australia might have been tempting Holden’s command hierarchy to follow suit.

Flights of fancy? Don’t bet too hasty to jump to that conclusion, because history is heaving with examples like this, where design ideas are presented publicly within a showcar centrepiece, before they end up informing the styling of many upcoming models.

For over 90 years, this is how GM often operated, as it created, nurtured and then evolved the aesthetic language of each era for the multitude of brands under the corporation’s umbrella.

This is why the 1960s Holden EJ looked like a Chevrolet Chevy II, Opel Rekord and Vauxhall Cresta. 30 years later, the VT Commodore, Opel Omega, Buick Century and Pontiac Grand Prix all shared similar styling cues. All are interconnected with the same family DNA.

Would a Buick Electra L-inspired design have worked for Holden in Australia? Let us know in the comments below.

Byron Mathioudakis
Contributing Journalist
Byron started his motoring journalism career when he joined John Mellor in 1997 before becoming a freelance motoring writer two years later. He wrote for several motoring publications and was ABC Youth radio Triple J's "all things automotive" correspondent from 2001 to 2003. He rejoined John Mellor in early 2003 and has been with GoAutoMedia as a senior product and industry journalist ever since. With an eye for detail and a vast knowledge base of both new and used cars Byron lives and breathes motoring. His encyclopedic knowledge of cars was acquired from childhood by reading just about every issue of every car magazine ever to hit a newsstand in Australia. The child Byron was the consummate car spotter, devoured and collected anything written about cars that he could lay his hands on and by nine had driven more imaginary miles at the wheel of the family Ford Falcon in the driveway at home than many people drive in a lifetime. The teenage Byron filled in the agonising years leading up to getting his driver's license by reading the words of the leading motoring editors of the country and learning what they look for in a car and how to write it. In short, Byron loves cars and knows pretty much all there is to know about every vehicle released during his lifetime as well as most of the ones that were around before then.
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