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4x4 Commodore on the cards

Commodious Commodore: Holden is close to a decision on an all- wheel drive Commodore-based people-mover.

Holden's global role could be enhanced with a new cross-over vehicle

13 Jan 2000

SENIOR Holden management is in Detroit this week pitching for the green light from GM management for a 4x4 Commodore and are quietly confident it will be approved.

The new body to be built on the Commodore platform will be a cross between a Tarago-like people-mover and a four-wheel drive wagon like the LandCruiser - a so-called cross-over design not unlike the new BMW X5.

It will not have a separate frame chassis like traditional four- wheels drives but will be a unitary construction like a Subaru Outback.

Holden chairman and managing director Mr Peter Hanenberger told journalists at the Detroit motor show that the project would add at least 20,000 units to Commodore sales and also be earmarked for exports.

Approval of the car is important to Holden which has seen many Commodore sales - especially wagons - slip away as families buy 4x4 wagons.

Mr Hanenberger said that if the project was approved the new 4x4 would be sold at a lower price than most six-cylinder 4x4 wagons and would be a serious competitor to the Toyota LandCruiser and Prado and their equivalents.

Holden believes many people buy large 4x4s for their larger seating capacity, elevated driving position, six-cylinder engine performance and towing capacity.

But they find the top-end four-wheel drives too large and heavy.

The new car would be raised to provide off-road ground clearance, have a much higher roof than the sedan for more upright seating positions and feature full four-wheel drive capacity, including high and low range.

Mr Hanenberger said engineering the Commodore platform for four- wheel drive "would not be too hard." A decision will be made in the next two months.

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