Last Australian-designed Commodore unveiled
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The wraps have come off the last-ever Australian-designed Holden Commodore.
At a function in Melbourne on Sunday, Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux described the VF Commodore as “the most technologically advanced vehicle ever made in this country” and “the first step in defining Holden’s innovative and bright future”.
But the VF is also the end of an era. With Australian large-car sales in freefall, the VF will only carry through until 2016.
Last year’s Commodore sales of 30,000 were the lowest on record, despite the Australian passenger car market hitting a record high of 1.1 million.
Australian government investment of $A275 million has guaranteed that Holden’s Adelaide plant will stay open until at least 2022, producing two different car lines.
Mr Devereux increased the positive spin around VF last week by promising that one of the post-2016 cars from the Holden Vehicle Operations plant would be another new Commodore.
But all that will survive is the badge. The next Commodore will be based on a global General Motors model with Australian engineering input. It will certainly be smaller, likely front-drive.
In the meantime, Holden has concentrated on minimising the perceived disadvantages of driving a large car with the new VF.
While it looks familiar – the doors, glass and roof are all carried over from the previous VE – the use of aluminium for the bonnet and boot has trimmed weight out of the car, the engines have been retuned for improved economy and all VF models will feature self-parking technology that can pilot the car into parallel and 90-degree spaces.
The VF is also the first Australian car to feature a reverse traffic radar alert, which warns the driver of another vehicle behind if they are reversing out of a tight parking space.
Other new technology for VF includes head-up display, blind-spot alert, lane departure warning and a high-end version of the MyLink multi-media system recently launched on the Barina supermini.
The VF was revealed in luxury Calais form only, but it is understood Holden plans to show the performance SS model next week. The interior is all-new, the Calais picking up some cabin styling clearly influenced by GM’s Cadillac division.
Luxury/performance versions of the VF will be exported to the United States, the Middle East and South Africa.
The VF Commodore goes on sale mid-year.