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GM considers RHD Chevrolet Camaro

Next time: GM will keep an eye on the popularity of the Chevrolet Camaro converted by Walkinshaw Automotive in Australia before deciding if it will launch into RHD engineering for the next generation.

Demand for converted Chevrolet Camaro will dictate possible factory RHD version

22 Aug 2018

GENERAL Motors executive vice-president for global product development Mark Reuss says a decision on a factory built right-hand-drive Chevrolet Camaro for Australia will depend on the sales success of the current model that is about to start rolling off a conversion production line at Walkinshaw Automotive Group in Melbourne this month.
Speaking at the announcement of an expanded Advanced Vehicle Development engineering team at Holden this week, Mr Reuss said the current sixth-generation Camaro had not been engineered for RHD factory production, and so any decision on a right-hook variant would have to wait for the next generation.
“That will depend on how the current model goes in this market,” he said, referring to the converted Camaro 2SS coupes that are being shipped from the United States in left-hand-drive form before having the steering wheel switched to the right to give Holden access to a V8 model.
Mr Reuss did not say when the next Camaro was due, but because the current model was launched in North America in 2015 and has a possible life-span of about five years, the next one might be expected in about 2020-21.
He batted away questions about the possibility of the new Chevrolet Corvette – now in the final stages of development – coming to Australia, answering with a definite “maybe”.
The conversion process for Camaro will add extra cost to the car compared with Ford’s rival, the Mustang, which comes direct from the factory with the steering wheel on the right side.
With Britain’s Vauxhall being sold to France’s PSA Group, one of GM’s main right-hand-drive vehicle markets has evaporated, leaving Australia and New Zealand as the prime RHD outlets.
The cost of engineering RHD into new models aimed primarily at LHD markets such as North America and China is an issue for GM, making it think carefully about which models it can justify the expenditure on.
Mr Reuss admitted as much when he asked Australian motoring journalists to support the new Holden models from North America, including the Equinox medium SUV and upcoming Acadia large SUV.
With Opel and Vauxhall leaving the GM sphere, a source of RHD models such as the new Commodore and Astra for Holden will ultimately dry up, leaving Holden to get its cars from other GM sources in North America, South Korea, Thailand and – eventually – China.
However, GM executive vice-president of global design Michael Simcoe said RHD models could and would be done for Holden, saying it was a necessary cost of business for retaining the iconic Australian brand.
He said Holden would continue to dip into the product lines of a variety of GM brands such as Chevrolet, Buick and GMC, rather than just one of those model lines.
“It comes down to what models are needed for Holden,” he said.
Mr Simcoe said the current Holden line-up reflected a number of family backgrounds, but the line-up would take on a more cohesive look over time.
“Can we make them look similar? Yes we can,” he said.

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