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Commodore cuts crash-risk costs

Crash course: Holden’s rich list of driver aids - including blind-spot warning - are also helping the car-maker drive down insurance costs for buyers.

Clever technology ensures Commodore owners don’t stack on the insurance costs

27 May 2013

HOLDEN’S decision to stack the new VF Commodore with as much driver-assist technology as the car could carry has one big advantage – insurance costs are unlikely to go up.

Car insurance industry giant Suncorp said the new Commodore was likely to be an “insurance neutral” upgrade, meaning that despite the introduction of costly-to-replace, lightweight aluminium panels, it should not be any more expensive to insure than a current VE Commodore.

“The full (Commodore) range will have the reverse park assist as well as front and rear parking sensors, as you move up you will then get extra safety features,” Suncorp corporate affairs manager Reuben Aitchison said.

“At this stage we feel that the benefits of these will offset the higher costs to repair the alloy parts.”

Mr Aitchison said vehicles with an increasing variety and mix of more expensive materials and components meant new vehicles, such as the Commodore, often start off more expensive to repair.

This was due to “a combination of availability of parts, familiarity with materials and techniques (skill/experience gaps)”.

“Once there is a functioning market for relevant parts and the skills/experiencing in repairing them/working with them reduce labour costs, then we see the cost of repairs reduce,” he said.

Holden has fitted the new Commodore with an aluminium bonnet and boot lid in an effort to cut down on weight and improve fuel economy. The bonnet alone saves nine kilograms over a steel equivalent.

However, with softer aluminium pricing at about twice the cost of steel and more likely to tear than bend, a front- or rear-end collision is more likely to result in those components needing replacement rather than repair.

Equipment fitted to the Commodore includes a parking assistant that can self-steer the large family car – and ute – into a tight space, and even a forward collision alert system that can warn a driver if the car gets too close to the one in front.

These features have traditionally only been available on premium and luxury cars sold in Australia.

The VF Commodore was recently awarded an even higher five-star safety rating in the latest round of Australiasian New Car Assessment Program crash testing.

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