One of the most senior executives within General Motors has distanced himself from the company’s previous management responsible for the failed decision to bring both Opel to Australia, and Chevrolet into Europe.
Speaking with CarAdvice days after his role switched from president of General Motors North America to executive vice president of global development, Mark Reuss refused to associate himself with the failed brand introductions.
“Those decisions to put Opel into Australia and Chevrolet into Europe were maintained under a different leadership team in General Motors,” began American-born Reuss, who was formerly the boss of Holden in 2008-09.
“I can’t pretend to know exactly what all those reasons were when it happened, I know why we took them out, and I think that’s been pretty well articulated.
“We want Holden to be the brand in Australia, and Opel to be the brand in Western Europe. Period.”
Reuss did, however, refuse to speak about the future of the Chevrolet SS performance sedan, despite it being his decision to import the car from Holden back to the US, a decision that in a parallel to the failed Opel and Chevrolet bids may be short-lived given that his team also made the decision to shut the Australian plant – the only place that builds a rear-wheel-drive performance car – in 2017.
Asked whether it would appear GM’s entry into the rear-wheel-drive performance sedan segment was again a ‘toe in the water’ excercise, Reuss again clammed up.
“I’m not confirming that  is when the Commodore ends, and I’m not confirming that publicly. I have no comment on that.
“It’s important to test that [rear-wheel-drive sedan product] again, we haven’t had that here in 17 years, so that’s why we did it.
“Frankly I did it on a sustainability basis for Holden on the VF as well … and I wanted to race it in Nascar. Pretty pure reasons”.
Another GM executive has confirmed publicly that the Commodore nameplate will continue beyond local production in 2017, but did not detail whether that would be in the form of a front-wheel-drive medium sized car based on the Chevrolet Malibu/Opel Insignia as expected, or a traditional rear-wheel-drive large sedan possibly built in the US.
Pressed whether he would like to see a next-generation rear-wheel-drive large car built for Chevrolet, Reuss only replied “I don’t know”.