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New ‘Holden Commodore’ revealed in Chev NASCAR

Racing to market: The Chevrolet SS NASCAR shows the headlight and grille treatment of the production version, including the near identical VF Holden Commodore.

Chev SS race car reveals clues to new-generation 2013 Holden VF Commodore


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Holden logo30 Nov 2012


CHEVROLET has given a strong insight into the design of the next Holden Commodore due next year when pulling the wraps from the NASCAR racing version based on the Australian car’s United States export twin, the Chevrolet SS.

The design of the headlights and grille – albeit in sticker form – and lower bumper area are indicative of the new styling language for the Australian-designed Commodore, which is slated for showroom launch here in mid 2013.

GM Holden will export a small number of the rear-drive car to the US as a high-performance sports sedan under Chevrolet badges, with the American arm of General Motors promoting the car via North America’s most popular form of motor sport, NASCAR.

Former Holden boss and now GM North America president Mark Reuss told news agency Reuters that he expected to sell fewer than 10,000 SS performance sedans annually.

“This is quite different than a big, high-volume production program with target volumes,” he said.

“It doesn't have to do anything. We’re using it to race. You have to think of it almost like a marketing halo program for Chevrolet.”

The race cars will get their first race airing at the famous Daytona 500 in February, well before the production cars take to the showroom in either the US or Australia.

While NASCAR’s previous-generation race cars bore only a glancing nod towards the styling of the production versions, new rules permit a closer design association, even down to items such as fake chrome-tipped exhaust pipes, as evidenced on the photos of the Chevrolet SS released by GM overnight.

Spy photos of the VF Commodore published by GoAuto have revealed the headlight design on test cars, showing the chrome strip separating the two main lights, and this can be clearly seen on the race car images.

As well, the LED daytime driving lights in the lower bumper and general shape of the bonnet are all indicative of the test cars seen by us.

However, the general silhouette of the race car is pure NASCAR. And no, it won’t be a two-door coupe as portrayed by the race version.

The new Commodore and SS cousin will both have aluminium panels – such as the bonnet – to lighten the overall weight for fuel-efficiency gains.

A pared-back suspension, feather-weight interior trims and electric-assisted power steering are among the light-weighting measures developed with the aid of a $39.8 million federal government Green Car Innovation Fund grant to reduce fuel consumption by about seven per cent.

As GoAuto has reported, the Commodore and SS will both benefit from a wide range of new safety technologies such as crash alert – or possibly the full autonomous braking – as well as offering head-up display and the latest MyLink connectivity on upper spec models.

The top-end sports variants – including the SS – are expected to get the new GM V8 engine, along with launch control, paddle-shift automatic transmission and other goodies.

In Australia, the VF will also take to the track as the new-generation ‘Car of the Future’ V8 Supercar, with the season kicking off at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide on March 1.

The Commodore will not only come up against traditional rival Ford Falcon but also Nissan’s new Altima and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

The VF Commodore is likely to be the last in the line of home-grown Aussie race cars from Holden dating back to the 1948 FX, with the company switching to a smaller, more fuel efficient model alongside the next generation of the Cruze at its Elizabeth production plant in South Australia late in the decade.

Until then, Holden will export the new Commodore-based SS and the Caprice-based Chevrolet PPV police car to North America.

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