Holden`s sports performance hero SS model and prestige leader Calais were chosen to debut VE Commodore at an event in Melbourne. The all-new WM series Statesman and Caprice flagship models, representing Australia`s most successful locally designed export cars last year, were also shown in an historic double reveal. Commodore`s design theme is enabled by an increased wheelbase which moves the wheels closer to the car`s corners, delivering a powerful European-styled stance on the road. The launch comes 75 years after Holden became part of the world`s largest automotive company, General Motors. It is also 150 years since the original Holden saddlery business, which grew to be today`s GM Holden, opened in Adelaide.
GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Denny Mooney, today said VE Commodore was designed to excite buyers about Australian cars and enhance Holden`s future as the largest automotive manufacturer in the country. Mr Mooney said General Motors had invested more than $6 billion in Australia over the past decade, including VE, to protect Commodore`s market-leading position.
The VE program totalled $1.04 billion and the WM Statesman and Caprice program $190 million, taking the combined cost to $1.23 billion. Mr Mooney said VE Commodore had potential for GM markets around the world, having been engineered from a global architecture for left-hand-drive requirements such as the Middle East. He said VE offered striking design, performance and refinement able to compete with the world`s best car brands.
“VE Commodore delivers ultimate value to the Australian buyer. Its design is comparable to anything in the world and we made major advances in refinement and quality,” Mr Mooney said.
“Our targets have been some of the most expensive and most carefully crafted cars around the world and this careful consideration of global expectations is what should make this car work.
“We pored over every panel, the tiniest of details to place this car right up there in terms of refinement, quality and performance.”
Mr Mooney said safety was a key factor in the new vehicle, with the acclaimed crash avoidance technology Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) standard and curtain airbags available on the entire VE sedan range.
“The chassis is designed to accommodate a range of active and passive safety technologies as well as the crashworthiness expected in many different markets,” he said.
“We have used more super-strength and high-strength steels than ever before in Commodore`s structure. Real world crash performance was a huge priority throughout its development.”
Mr Mooney announced a revised model line-up for the new range, including a new name to Holden, Omega, to replace Executive and Acclaim.
“We are also adding extra class with the introduction of a new concept, the V Series, to highlight our top-of-the-line offerings. This will commence with the SS V and Calais V,” he said.
“The peak power of our advanced Alloytec V6 engines, made right here in Australia , will move up to 180 and 195 kilowatts respectively.
“The six-litre V8 will stamp its authority with peak power and torque of 270 kilowatts and 530 Newton metres which will really deliver the performance Holden buyers know and love.
“We will introduce a new six-speed automatic transmission for V8 models, sharing it with GM`s premium cars such as Cadillacs and the Chevrolet Corvette.
“We have introduced all-new front and rear suspension systems to provide outstanding handling without sacrificing ride comfort. The car`s microprocessing capability has more than doubled and allows us to provide new levels of safety and user-friendly features.”
Mr Mooney said recent market changes and external factors such as fuel prices were best countered by ensuring locally built vehicles were able to mix with the world`s best.
“The Australian car industry has a strong future while it continues to make globally competitive cars such as VE Commodore,” he said.
“We`re proud of what we have achieved with the all-new Commodore. We know Australians still enjoy large cars and we know they want safety, roominess and style in their cars.”
The Holden VE Commodore range will go on sale in August 2006. Pricing and full specifications and features will be announced closer to the start of sales.