New Chevrolet Impala could kill Commodore’s U.S market hopes

May 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Production of the next-generation 2014 Chevrolet Impala will be shifted to GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck manufacturing plant. At this production facility the new Impala will be produced alongside the Chevrolet Volt and Malibu with the decision being an early indication that Holden’s Commodore won’t be returning to U.S. shores.

The next American-market Impala will use a stretched version of GM’s Epsilon II platform, with a front-wheel drive layout. It certainly won’t prove a popular move with Chevy enthusiasts who want the famous-named large sedan to be rear-wheel powered and it also lessens the chances of the Commodore ever returning to the U.S., in either sedan, wagon or ute bodystyles.

With the Impala going front-driven GM is showing an awareness of fuel economy regulations. GM’s decision to keep most of its range front-wheel drive shows that the automaker has a preference for better fuel economy over performance. The front-wheel drive architecture also helps with developing more modern interiors due to the absence of a bulky driveshaft running the length of the car. In simple terms the Commodore just doesn’t fit into GM’s new politically correct range. It was popular in Pontiac G8 form but that was a different time and with the new Malibu being a direct competitor within the GM range the Commodore will have a tough time finding its way back into the lucrative America market. Continue reading “New Chevrolet Impala could kill Commodore’s U.S market hopes” »

New VF Holden Commodore to save weight with aluminium panels

May 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

In 2014 Holden is on track to launch its next-generation VF Commodore and the new model comes carrying serious expectations and some new technology. Fans can expect significant savings in fuel economy, improved aerodynamics, new electric power steering and it will also be the first Aussie-built car to use mass produced aluminium panels in its construction. To remain competitive with vehicles like the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Holden’s Commodore will be saving weight wherever it can.

Total fuel savings will be in the region of 7% off the current figures of the VE Commodore range (pictured). This will drag the 9.1lt/100 km combined rating of the 3.0 L V6 SIDI down to a more acceptable 8.4 lt/100 km. The older 3.6 L Alloytec V6 will drop to 9.1 lt /100 km (26 mpg) down from its current 9.8 lt/100 km. The fuel saving measures are partly funded by the Australian federal government, which has used AU$39.8 million from the discontinued Green Car Innovation Fund.

The entire VF model’s development will apparently cost just AU$189 million which is a huge decrease on the rumoured one billion that was spent on the VE Commodore. Continue reading “New VF Holden Commodore to save weight with aluminium panels” »

Holden commences local testing of Cruze hatch

May 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Holden’s much hyped and anticipated Cruze hatch has just entered its testing stage before the model is introduced later this year. In a statement Holden has announced the news and released two new photos of the upcoming five-door hatchback which was designed at Holden’s Port Melbourne studio.

General Motors previewed the Cruze hatch in Chevrolet form (for global markets) early last year and then the production model made its world premiere at this year’s Geneva Salon.

Holden is still to release full technical details on the Cruze hatch, but it’s very likely the hatchback’s engine range will mirror that of the Cruze II sedan. The model pictured in the official photographs is equipped with a diesel engine, possibly the same 2.0-litre turbo diesel currently offered in the update four-door Cruze. Continue reading “Holden commences local testing of Cruze hatch” »

New Holden Malibu revealed in Chevrolet form

April 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Holden’s new medium-sized sedan, the Malibu, has made its international debut at the Shanghai Auto Show amid much anticipation.

The reveal, conducted by Chevrolet, saw the veil lifted on the new-generation model that will be sold in up to 100 countries including Australia next year. A decision has not yet been made on whether the Malibu will be sold here in New Zealand. If it is, the Malibu will replace the unpopular Epica in Holden’s lineup and will compete against segment heavyweights like the Ford Mondeo and Mazda6.

The Mailbu will be powered by a range of 4-cylinder engines, with more details to be released shortly. Over in the States the Malibu will be offered with a new direct-injected 2.5 litre four-cylinder Ecotec petrol engine producing 141kW and 245Nm of torque.

The exterior design has taken inspiration from Chevrolet’s iconic Camaro muscle car and also some styling cues from the Cruze. The wide stance, twin exhaust tips and integrated spoiler give it strong road presence. Continue reading “New Holden Malibu revealed in Chevrolet form” »

Bio-ethanol E85 fuel launched in NZ through Gull

April 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Holden New Zealand and Gull service stations has just announced that E85 bio-fuel will go on sale in New Zealand for the first time.

Gull will open its first pump, selling as Gull Force Pro, in Hamilton today (14 April) and is expected to increase the number of sites throughout the country as demand grows.

Holden’s Energy and Environment Director Richard Marshall said the ethanol-blend fuel, also known as E85, would be suitable for 3.0 litre V6 and V8 models in the latest Holden Commodore VE Series II range.

The E85 fuel will be sold at Gull with an opening price of $2.26 per litre with a 5 cents per litre opening special. Early adopters of this eco-fuel can expect a increase in power from its higher octane rating but also an increase in fuel usage due to it containing less energy than conventional petrol.

“In a major step towards creating a cleaner New Zealand fuel landscape, VE Series II customers who purchase models powered by 3.0 Litre SIDI V6 or 6.0 Litre V8 engines will be able to run their cars on this high ethanol blend fuel, which can reduce vehicle CO emissions by between 35-50 per cent when compared to petrol*,” Mr Marshall said.

Gull Force Pro is a fuel blend of 85 per cent ethanol with 15 per cent petrol. While flex-fuel vehicles in the Series II range are capable of running on this fuel, they can also run on E10, unleaded, premium or any combination. Continue reading “Bio-ethanol E85 fuel launched in NZ through Gull” »

Holden marks ute 60th anniversary with Thunder Edition

April 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Holden’s ute is celebrating its 60th anniversary and to mark the occasion the Thunder Ute is back for the Aussie market.

This new VE Series II take on the previously popular special edition looks sharp with some light cosmetic additions and is set to go on sale across Australia from next week.

The Thunder Ute will be available in SV6 and SS trim with plenty of extra kit included. Special features in both models include 19-inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation, leather seat bolsters and special-edition Thunder badging inside and out.

“It is a really bold, tough looking ute which we think will appeal to many of our traditional sports ute buyers,” Holden Australia Executive Director of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales John Elsworth said.

In terms of powertrains there is no additional grunt over the standard models with Thunder ute offered with Holden’s 210kW/350Nm 3.6 litre SIDI petrol V6 and 270kW/530Nm 6.0 litre petrol V8. Continue reading “Holden marks ute 60th anniversary with Thunder Edition” »

Holden teases NZ-bound Malibu ahead of debut (+video)

April 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The first image of Holden’s new-generation mid-sized sedan has been released ahead of its global reveal as the Chevrolet Malibu. The Malibu will be revealed during the sedan’s public debut at Shanghai Auto Show on April 19th.

Holden has confirmed that the Malibu will be coming to New Zealand for the first time in 2012 with a range of four cylinder models.

Holden New Zealand Managing Director Simon Carr said the Chevrolet Malibu gives a clear indication of what customers can expect from Holden when it launches its version of the next-generation mid-sized sedan.

“The Malibu will provide a spacious and efficient four-cylinder alternative for New Zealanders in this fuel conscious time and needless to say it will play an important role within the Holden line-up,” Mr Carr said. “Malibu will bridge the gap between our very popular Cruze small car and a favourite of this country, one of New Zealand’s best-selling cars, the Commodore. This car will have heads turning in the streets with its striking styling, in the same vein as recent additions to the GM portfolio, including the new-generation Cruze Hatch and Barina. Many customers were pleasantly surprised at how good the Cruze was and Malibu will be no different, especially with its amazing array of clever technologies and features.” Continue reading “Holden teases NZ-bound Malibu ahead of debut (+video)” »

Holden Commodore ready for next O.E in American market

April 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

When the Pontiac brand was killed off in the States so was the Holden Commodore, but at that time financially desperate General Motors had little idea of the following that the Commodore/Pontiac G8 already had.

Now, after serious demand, the Commodore will likely return to the U.S market badged as a Chevrolet SS sedan. There is also a chance that the Commodore’s ute and wagon form will also be sold in the states, but they remain unapproved at this stage. The Commodore ute would likely receive the El Camino moniker and the long back car would keep the SportWagon name.

If the Commodores do make it to the States in Chevy trim it won’t likely be until early 2013 as GM is waiting for the next-generation “VF” Commodore to be developed by Holden. GM will be most interested in performance models for the American market so expect Holden’s exports to be mostly V8 powered. Continue reading “Holden Commodore ready for next O.E in American market” »

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