by Daniel DeGasperi

Sweeping and flowing, the Holden VF Commodore cabin embraces a globalised focus, showing clear design cues from Chevrolet products and obvious parts-sharing with other General Motors models.

“From a [GM] brand point of view we’ve tried very hard globally to simplify the [interior design] strategy,” says Holden design director Andrew Smith (above). “So you’ll find in most markets around the world you have Chevrolet, you have Buick, and you have Cadillac [interiors]. Then there’s variations around in other markets.”

Smith leaves no uncertainty in which camp the VF Commodore belongs, saying that “certainly you know that this is going to be a flagship Chevrolet. So if you take out halo vehicles like the Corvette, this is going to be the top of the Chevrolet family.

“What you’ll see with the Cruze we have now, and certainly more next-gen vehicles as well, what you’ll see in the Malibu interior, and even if you look in North America maybe even at the Impala … some of the feel lies with this.

“So this will fit nicely amongst the Chevy portfolio.”

The design boss did, however, stress that Holden wasn’t forced to do work with Chevrolet because the car will be exported to the US with the bow-tie badge.

“We wanted to do something that worked with Chevy, not because Chevy is forcing us to, but because lots of Holdens are sourced from Chevy.

“So we wanted to work together, but it certainly didn’t limit us. Frankly we’ve done things here that in North America some people would have been a little uncomfortable [with] … that it’s stepping on Buick’s toes.

“We’ve got a lot of really rich materials, the chrome – we’ve got a bright chrome and also a galvano, which is a satin or milky finish chrome. That really pushes the car to be very, very premium.

“Having said that, the responses from the North American team has been pretty spectacular.

“The reason in my mind it doesn’t step onto Buick territory is because of the colour usage. This is much bolder than you would typically see … Buick’s are typically warmer and more tonal. [VF has] a very strong colour break-up that they typically wouldn’t do.”

Technology, Smith confirms, is the reason that the virtual reality studio is now so well connected with everywhere else in the GM globe, allowing fast streaming and connections that wasn’t possible during the creation of the VE.

“Everything influences everything else.

“But because of the way we work globally we see everything that every other studio is doing. This [virtual reality] studio is actually set up for global views. So we sit here most Wednesday night talking to Ed [Welburn – GM Vice President of Design] but we also view other products around the world.

“So we try very hard to make everything coordinate. It’s a challenge because we want to make sure that each studio stays creative, but at the same time you want a cohesive portfolio in the market.

“So we’re always bouncing off each other, but that doesn’t mean it’s set in stone, that doesn’t mean the Cruze has to be like this [VF].  But we do want to have products that sit together.”

The VF Commodore interior has also been designed with just one core interior design for all spec levels – compared with three variations of Commodore cabin with its predecessor.

“When we did VE we tried very hard to develop multiple models that had very distinct interior themes,” explained Smith.

“The guys decided this time around to simplify it, to do one interior theme and differentiate it with materials.

“So what we’ve really done is focused on giving the customer a really premium interior, but not get so hung up on whether an SS and a Calais look completely different … they have different themes.

“By wrapping the interior in different textures and colours, you can get a lot of differentation rather than doing that with different shapes.”

Parts sharing with other GM models is something the VF Commodore adopts heavily, particularly compared with the VE.

The interior door handles (above) are borrowed from an Opel Insignia, the indicator stalks, door locks, head-up display buttons, rotary-dial headlight switch, and power window switches from the Holden/Chevrolet Volt.

That’s also something Smith believes has changed, philosophically, since the creation of the VE, and will continue to change when the next Commodore utilises a global architecture.

“We have three levels of sharing,” he says. “Parts that are literally shared, parts where the guts are shared, and parts where the solution is shared.

“Again, the good thing has been that rather than get forced to use stuff, we can go through and find things that have been validated time and time again on other products.

“Quite often, a lot of the corporate parts we’re using on here are first time use… It really is leveraging the global engineering network and supplier network, but still making sure the customer gets a unique vehicle”.

  • RIPHolden

    Blah blah, waste of taxpayer funds as the world moves to turbos, diesels and electrics. So much for the environment Ms Gillard with this fuel guzzling brick.

    • Darryl

      So many knockers of the home grown product here. As a Kiwi who’s been living here 15 years (and appreciating the opportunities here) it never ceases to amaze me how Aussie pride only seems to apply to the sporting field. These days the Commodore and Aussie cars in general actually have a higher share of the NZ (new) market than the Aussie market. Since being here, have only bought Aussie cars, as a new citizen I think it’s the least I can do. You should be proud of the fact that you can design and build some home grown product, something NZ can’t. (not since the Trekka – any Kiwi’s remember that?)

      • WhataJoke

        Typical. A kiwi talking about national pride…. Why are you all moving here? Go home if you are proud.

        • Darryl

          Thanks, I expected that. I chose to come here, and become an Australian citizen. I didn’t have to steal a loaf of bread or be a pickpocket to get here. The point is, I am proud to buy Australian. Sorry I have taken this long to reply, I had to mow the lawn. With the Victa, not the Masport. And round the Hills hoist. You too, should be proud of Australian made stuff. Before it’s lost. Go the Commodore, Falcon, Tezza, and even the Camry and Cruze. 

          • Jake the muss

            Darryl we would appreciate it if you’d type your words in kiwi please, Fush and chups, chilly bin, slice of heaven etc, sweet as bro

          • Darryl

            Choice movie Jake, I’ll give you that! Can’t afford shark and tatie here cuz, too exxy. Anyway, I’m sure the VF will be a good replacement for the Humber 80, Mk III Zephyr & VH Valiant back in Unzud. I’d consider it as a replacement for either the FG or TM Magna wagon we have now (jokes aside, a very reliable old beast) I think Holden have done a pretty good job with this, given the lack of support and funds from top brass. We should all get one while this true blue ridgy didge dinki di Aussie car is still with us .It’s not that bad, Mr RIP Holden.

          • $29896495

            Darryl, what do you mean lack of support. This car was despite the spin, designed in the US for the US. Or didn’t you realize that. everything works with a budget, they had to make it fit into the US product line, no longer fitting it with the Opel product line. Simple they had a job and the made a US dash fit in an Australian car. Rather than that dated Opel one.

          • jake the muss

            Darryl cheers perfect, just need something about split enz, Trevor Chappell and I’ll be happy

      • guest

         Pride doesn’t even apply to the sporting field. Well it does, but only for the first few wins. After that, the winners are tall-poppies and have to be cut down to size in the most vicious manner possible.

        Personally, I’ll go for one of these when they are released. I’d like a V8, but the V6 might have to do, depending on the price.

        RIPHolden: Rest of world seems to still be building powerful V8 and V12 engines in large cars and even mid-size ones. You can even have a V12 twin-turbo in a C-Class if you want it. Electrics are a waste of time and effort. Tiny, ridiculously small range and very expensive..

        Turbos still have lag, even with the best efforts of the likes of Horacio Pagani and AMG with the M158 engine for instance, it cannot beat the responsiveness of a good normally aspirated engine which has smooth, immediate power.

        • $29896495

          I agree with the turbo statement. Much better to have a suitably sized efficient engine which is NOT stressed with carrying to bigger car. That is what gives good drive qualities and economy. Turbos on small engines will suck juice like a V8 if you make them work. you don’t get something for nothing. As a matter of fact, small engines are a Euro thing and we’re just getting sucked in.

          • Darryl

            Partly because they are being designed to get good economy numbers in the official lab tests, not in the real world. With taxes based on CO2 emissions using those figures, what happens in the real world is of little relevance to the car companies. Because the engines aren’t made to work in the tests, small turbos are going to do well. What Car? have started doing True MPG figures based on a cars CO2 emissions driving around normally. A good example is the Fiat 500 Twin Air which did 41.3mpg, as opposed to it’s official consumption of 68.9mpg. This is an engine that has won awards due to it’s alleged economy in large part. The Mazda CX-5 2.0 Skyactiv also got 41.3mpg according to them, and it’s official economy is 47.1mpg. (MPG quoted as that’s what the Poms use) The new Ford 1.0 triple doesn’t fare that well in the real world either. Let’s just hope our govt doesn’t latch onto that idea, given it would fall into the carbon tax regime neatly. 

    • Guest

      You do realise that there are many other car manufacturers who are still using V8, V10 and even v12 engines, so your argument is redundant 

    • Zaccy16

      hahaha, yep juliar is in a bit of s**t again, she only has 6 months left luckily!

      • Darryl

        She’s so hot with her new glasses

        • Zaccy16

          she looks like a daft bat with the glasses!

    • Stimpy77au

       Another Ford fanatic who’s heart is broken from the fact that his much loved Falcon will no longer be a performance sedan haha. Ford Australia will be non existent by 2014 😛 I hardly see Fords on the road and I hardly see them in commercials and there’s a reason why, it’s because they’re a fugly car to drive around.

      • Poison_Eagle

        I hate to rain your your mullet, but Ford have announced a new Falcon in 2014, so you’re wrong.  Thats alright but, after you finish your case of VB, chuck it in the VK  and listen to some AccaDacca. If anyone asks, your missus fell down the stairs right? I bet your loungeroom smells like mating staffies.

        • $29896495

          nice one

        • Stimpy77au

           I have 3 properties. 1 in which I live in and 2 units in which I rent out to cheap toothless ferals like yourself who are too narrow minded to buy a Holden. the bogan experience is from the 80’s, get over it. All the bogans were driving Ford’s & Holden’s.

          • Poison_Eagle

            You would have to feel pretty inadequate to tell a forum how many houses or possesions you own.
            That and your post count indicate that you should probably be talking to a councilor instead.

  • NotAFool

    All this parts sharing and slapping it altogether means only one thing, poor reliability.

    • Declan Collins

      That is the worst interpretation I’ve ever heard. It’s not the same idea has trying to build a toy car out of LEGO and K’nex. 

      And you added the part slapping. Lucky you’re not a floor worker

      • Agree

        A car without significant R&D and engineering is just slapped together. Perfect interpretation.

        • Declan Collins

          Show me the evidence that there was no R&D or engineering. I can’t see any.

          • $29896495

            Do you know that GM has one of the worst recall rates in the US? Those are the parts they are throwing together.

          • Declan Collins

            What Commodore is made in the US?

            What to know the two most recalled brands in the USA in 2012? Toyota and Honda. What to know why GM recalled more cars then your pretty Euros, they actually sell a sizeable number of cars there.

          • $29896495

            That’s an idiot thing to say. They have recalls because of faults not because the number of cars they sell. None of you actually listened to what the GM general Manager said. The Commodore is a parts bin special, essentially. It is built to an American (one of the lowest in the world) standard, not Euro or Japanese. Unfortunately for Toyota and Honda their US factories are pulling them down. Make the link yet?

    • Stimpy77au

      I’ll tell you what’s been slapped together, a Ford. Well until they leave Australia

  • Robin on the tray top .

    What’s the point of using “quality” (HA!) materials?, the bogans are going to get it dirty anyway with their VBs & shrimp, ha  bin, gives you a hint as to the dump that daewoo went to make the interior .

    • Stimpy77au

       Simple minded comment by a simple minded fool. You don’t own a Ford by any chance do  you?

      • Robin on the tray top .

        Davo Dinkum stick to your VE barge. Start learning how to use chopsticks, along with the daewoo crummer you’ll be eating korean food soon. Better go away and do what bogans do best such as doing trying (but failing) to do skids on the driveway or eyeing your sister *cue Careless Whisper – George Michaels*.

        • Force-15

          Damn it Golfmother! Now you have three usernames on the go here? Trollers going to troll I guess…

          • Robin on the tray top .

            Force, I’m just being factual. GM won’t let Holden get their filthly hands OPEL (and why would they) so Holden had to do their shopping at Daewoo. So it’s a big LOL to people who think this interior is ‘euro” cause it ain’t, its American and Korean . Overabundance of shiny metals went out of fashion in Europe EONS ago. And the bogan comment? It’s very much true for Dinky David, probably giving his sister a once over right now while licking his lips…

          • Golfmother

            Funny , not me, hes sharper than me with the vitriol , i love the name . 

  • Save It For The Track

    finally taking the window controls away from the centre and onto the drivers door where they should have been all along.

  • Allay 62

    Another big rust bucket..