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Commodore to stay Aussie

True blue: An original digital rendering of the VE Commodore.

Senior GM exec hints at more homegrown Holden designs after the VE’s success

11 Jan 2011


GENERAL MOTORS vice president of design Ed Welburn has indicated that the Holden Commodore will continue to be styled in Australia for a while longer yet.

Coming in the wake of speculation over the next-generation model – due in about 2014 – it is the first tacit evidence that the rebodied version of Australia’s best-selling car will continue on the path set by the VE in 2006 as the first truly Australian-designed Holden since the HQ series of 1971.

“Great proportions have given the VE a nice clean design that hasn’t dated … so it won’t be easy (to change that) with the future models,” Mr Welburn told GoAuto at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

“But trust me, the future Holdens will be recognisably Holdens – the whole stance, the whole attitude, the fact that it looks like it is always moving … that will not change.

13 center imageLeft: GM vice president of design Ed Welburn.

“Style and fads come and go, but that Holden essence will remain. It is clear to me that the best designs are the cleanest ones, the timeless ones, and the ones with great proportions.

“Many of the VE’s design team are now working all over the GM world because they know how to put a car together. Mike (Simcoe) understands how a car should look … there’s a difference between styling a car and getting to the fundamentals of what a car is all about.” Although the VE has remained visually unchanged since its August 2006 unveiling, Mr Welburn admitted that the days of four year-plus designs without a single significant refresh or alteration are over for the Commodore.

“It is a measure of how great the Commodore looks,” he said. “But our vehicles in the future do need to change much more quickly.” Holden has said that financial pressures were behind the lack of visual changes to the VE, along with the shrinking large car market, the need to invest in fuel efficiency and GM’s descent into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Until five years ago, all Commodores were based in part on German Opel’s Rekord/Senator (VB-VL), Omega A (VN-VS), or Opel Omega B (VT-VZ).

Ironically, the VE Commodore has been sold in Brazil as the Chevrolet Omega C since 2008.

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