The last model for the Elizabeth plant never materialised.
While we’re still mourning the loss of the Holden Commodore and the Elizabeth plant that used to build it, reports have emerged that there was supposed to be a future for Australian automotive manufacturing as well as another locally-built Commodore, it seems.
Still built off the German Opel Insignia, the Aussie Commodore would have replaced the VFII, and would have come about at the end of 2016. The plans for the Insignia-based Commodore were pretty far along, but were scrapped in their entirety when General Motors decided to wind down its Australian manufacturing activities.
Sources speaking to GoAuto said that even if the Commodore had continued to be manufactured in Australia, the utilisation of the Insignia’s platform would have spelled the end for large motors as well as rear-wheel drive anyway, arguably the two most important aspects of the Commodore experience.
“There was a view to manufacturing (the new Commodore) in Australia when we started looking at it. We were hoping to get a V6, and maybe an all-wheel drive model up later. But in the beginning, it was looking like a four-cylinder turbo only car.” — Source
In fact, the Commodore V6 that we’ll be getting soon came about only as a result of pressure from American concern Buick, that wanted a V6 motor for their badge-engineered Regal. As such, the modifications to the platform to accommodate the 6-cylinder mill were done in the US. Had the locally-built Commodore come to fruition, it’d have sat on a considerably longer wheelbase, far more than the 2829mm touted now, and more like the 2915mm of the older car.
Further, it was said that Holden had raided the GM parts bin for rear-drive platforms like the Sigma, and Alpha platforms that GM uses for its Cadillac models. However, inhibitively high costs related to the complexity of those platforms pushed the development towards the front-wheel and all-wheel drive platform that the Commodore uses now.
Speaking of, the new car is set to have a very brief 6-year lifespan, due to the sale of Opel and Vauxhall to Groupe PSA. Having bought over the company, PSA is now responsible for the lifespan of all Opel models (including the Commodore they supply to Holden), and that bill could be considerably lessened if the Insignia was moved to a PSA platform sooner. That in mind, the future of the Commodore is uncertain at this point, with GM not detailing a plan for what will come of the nameplate, though it’s suggested that development for the model could move to Michigan, and be underpinned by a different GM platform.