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Commodore: Holden design chief defends VY

Refresh: The VY is the first significant visual refresh of the VT Commodore, launched in 1997. It is launched next week and goes on sale later in the month.

Don't judge the VY Commodore by its photographs, urges Holden design chief Mike Simcoe

Holden logo3 Sep 2002

HOLDEN design chief Mike Simcoe has warned that no judgments should be made on the styling success or failure of the VY Commodore based on the photographs which appeared on the net and in newspapers last week.

Mr Simcoe, who was overseas when the four photos leaked out, refused to confirm or deny if they were the real things.

But he did confirm the VY's styling was a "new direction" for Commodore.

"It needs to be, and it's appropriate, and I think it will sit comfortably in the marketplace," he said.

The four shots show the updated Calais sedan and Berlina wagon going through their paces at the Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria, along with a new sports model called the SV8. The fourth photo is a three-quarter rear studio shot of the VY SS.

"I'm confident that the VY in the flesh is a fine car and there will be people who will like the car and there will be people who dislike the car, just as there are people who think the current car is wonderful and those who think it is fairly mediocre," Mr Simcoe said.

"If those photographs are real, and people are making judgments on the car on the basis of them, my reaction to that is 'hey, wait until you taste the fruit instead of just looking at it'."The VY is the first significant visual refresh of the VT Commodore, launched in September, 1997, and the number one selling car in Australia ever since. It is launched next week and goes on sale later in the month.

The pictures reveal a new frontal treatment that moves away from the VT and the subsequent VX's successful twin-nostril grille to a look previewed on the Cross8 dual-cab ute unveiled at the Melbourne motor show last March. The rear end has also been squared off, evoking the look of the Subaru Liberty.

The photos prompted Ford styling chief Simon Butterworth to express his confidence in the reception the new BA Falcon will receive when it is launched in October.

Ford Australia president Geoff Polites also expressed his satisfaction with the reaction the photos were getting.

"There's a fair bit of polarisation of opinion, which I think's great. When I looked at the fordforums website there were about 100 responses: about 10 liked it, another 10 reserved judgment until they'd seen it in the metal, and the rest resoundingly didn't like it, which is great."Mr Simcoe was not deterred by this.

"If I was over at Ford I would be talking confidently too. Because without confidence you have got nothing," he said.

"The VY has to be credibly different, or visibly different. In the same way that the BA change is about disguising the fact that the centre section of the car is carry-over. Mid-life changes are about that.

"Think about the market that exists today. The VT and VX have been so ridiculously successful that they are a dime a dozen out there. Everywhere you see a car, you see a VT, or a variant of it, and therefore clearly this car needed to be differentiated and differentiated seriously.

"Now that doesn't mean the design is just 'what do we do to make the car different'. I think if you are judging by these photos you will be pleasantly surprised.

"The car has - as the current car has - a lot more presence and a lot more going for it in the flesh than it does in photographs".

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