Detroit Motor Show: Holden Commodore replacement and V8 coupe

An all-new V8 rear-driven coupe will supplant Commodore SS as Holden’s next-generation hero car.

And the mainline Commodore range will be replaced by a different, smaller, front-driven four-door sedan created by Australians for Australia.

Those are the two increasingly certain bombshells to come out of Detroit, casting clear light on Holden’s future product after it shuts shop on local car-making.

Myriad details have emerged after Australian journalists were granted intimate access to GM brass in Detroit off the back of Holden’s design and creation of the show-stopping Buick’s Avenir concept.

What seems almost guaranteed is that the breadth of Commodore’s current VF range will be substituted by two model lines built off two different platforms.

While keeping cards close to its chest, GM’s top execs have intimated that neither bound-for-Oz model will be a reskinned version of the 5.2-metre-long, Caprice-sized Avenir that’s underpinned by GM’s new Omega platform.

With GM’s steadfast move towards global platform sharing, it’s increasingly likely is that the mainline Commodore replacement will share its underpinnings with the next-generation Opel Insignia, almost certainly in front-wheel-drive form.

It’s been confirmed that development of the next four-door sedan began prior to Holden’s shutdown announcement and that the company’s local designers and engineers are elbow deep in development, with test mules already undergoing validation at Holden’s Lang Lang facility in Victoria.

GM’s product bosses have flatly stated that the downsized family car range will not carry the Commodore nameplate.

Crucially, Holden’s highly regarded design team is tasked with ‘localizing’ the four-door’s styling – while Opel’s Monza concept from the Geneva show is a key indicator to the look of the next-gen Insignia, it serves only to subscribe the size and proportions of the Australian (though imported) car.    

GM has even hinted that the Commodore replacement will likely forego V6 power and with the V8 reserved for the two-door spiritual successor to the Commodore SS, leaving turbo four-cylinder power as the only feasible powerplant option.

Noises out of Detroit could, however, be wide of the mark, as rumours persist that Opel in Europe may revive its defunct Omega nameplate for a model sharing its rear-driven platform with Cadillac CTS and, perhaps, a next-gen Holden sedan.

GM seemed more forthcoming about the performance flagship coupe that will undoubtedly be built off a platform shared with the next-generation Camaro and has all but been confirmed to offer V8 power in at least one trim level.

It will, however, be a truly global product – a local rival to Ford’s Mustang – and GM has shot down suggestions it could wear either a Commodore or Monaro badge.

Interestingly, it’s been strongly rumoured that GM’s mid-sized Alpha platform, used for the Cadillac CTS and next-generation Camaro, will most likely be adopted for the coupe, putting to pasture the Zeta platform currently used for VF and Camaro.

Click here to read the full range review of the Holden Commodore

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  • Seems most likely the next large Holden sedan will be an Impala with a basic grille job; swap out the bow tie for a lion and that's the best we can hope for. There's a lot of talk in US mags about a revived Buick Grand National and a GNX hot rod coupe to match, built up off the Caddy ATS alpha platform. The rationale is, GM head honcho Mark Reuss loves him some big RWD muscle, and his dad was head of Buick when the GNX came about, so there's an amount of nice warm nepotistic logic to that. If they wanna send us a V8 powered GNX coupe instead of the next alpha based Camaro, well, better than a kick in the teeth. The very best we can hope for is that both of these foreign built Holdens come from Thailand. It was an overly strong aussie dollar that killed local manufacturing, can't help but see a weak aussie dollar in 2018 bringing an ironic end to dreams of big Yankee muscle hitting our shores for Monaro-type money.