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‘VF’ Commodore styling details emerge

Volt inspiration: Holden design chief hints at Volt-inspired next-gen Commodore.

Holden designer talks up next-generation Commodores aerodynamics

Holden logo21 Mar 2011


HOLDEN has taken the unusual step of flagging minor styling details on the next-generation Commodore, which may be up to three years away.

Speaking to the media at the launch of the vital new JH Cruze in Melbourne last week, Holden design director Tony Stolfo emphasised improved aerodynamic efficiency as one of the ways the next Commodore will use less fuel.

The car in question is the so-called ‘VF’ model – a model designation that is yet to be confirmed – which is expected to be released in 2013 or 2014.

The veteran company designer pointed to the newly ridged-off extremities of the latest Cruze’s rear bumper during the JH presentation, saying that we “can expect the same” on future versions of the Commodore.

Later, Mr Stolfo suggested that the upcoming Chevrolet Volt range-extender electric vehicle (due in Australia in the latter half of next year) and its European Opel Ampera twin also feature styling elements proposed for the future Commodore.

In particular, he said that the Volt’s side surfacing may indicate the direction the big rear-drive Holden is heading.

13 center imageLeft: The new Australian-made Holden Cruze. Bottom: Holden design director Tony Stolfo.

As Holden continues to seek ways of reducing fuel consumption, Mr Stolfo said it would continue to reduce weight across the range and improve airflow both underneath and over the body.

However, while looking to increase the use of lighter steels, he said materials like aluminium – let alone carbon-fibre – are not on the agenda for now due to the sheer cost for a relatively inexpensive volume-selling vehicle.

“We’re exploring other avenues … like better aerodynamics,” Mr Stolfo said.

The big question now is just how changed the ‘VF’ will be over the VE, which was launched in September 2006.

Holden may do what Ford Australia did with the BA Falcon in 2002 – when it reskinned and comprehensively reengineered the unsuccessful AU – and alter all exterior sheetmetal to create a sleeker and more modern appearance while retaining the existing hard points such as the pillars, roof and doors.

The VE has remained largely unchanged in appearance due to a host of factors, including Holden’s attempt to amortise the huge investment in an all-new vehicle in a shrinking large-car market and the economic crisis for parent company General Motors.

Minor plastic trim aside, the VE sheetmetal is likely to become the least-changed Holden large car in the company’s 63-year history.

In August, the VE Commodore will eclipse the original Holden ‘FX’ 48-215 model’s 59-month run (November 1948 to October 1953).

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