Holden has officially announced that when local manufacturing ceases in 2017, a two-door sports coupe with a V8 engine will be at the ready to replace SS versions of the Holden Commodore sedan.
The man who stands by his decision to close Holden’s Elizabeth, South Australia, plant in 2017, General Motors executive vice president of international operations Stefan Jacoby tonight confirmed the news.
“What we decided … is we will bring a Holden sports car in the near future,” Jacoby began.
“It will be something which truly fulfils the requirement of a true Holden sports car. We will bring a true sports car to Australia for the brand portfolio.”
Jacoby answered several questions thrown at him with clear answers: “no” it will not be called Monaro; “most likely, yes” it will have a V8 engine; “no” the model has not been seen yet, but it will be sold “globally”; and “no” it will not wear a Commodore nameplate.
“Commodore is a Commodore, the Commodore is a four-door sedan,” clarified the international operations boss.
The answer is “no” to the coupe being a production version of the Opel Monza concept (below) too. Everything points, then, to the coupe V8 being the next-generation Chevrolet Camaro, which is currently built on a Holden Commodore rear-wheel-drive platform called Zeta, but which will die with the end of VF and current Camaro production within three years.
Enter the Alpha platform, new to Cadillac with the medium-sized ATS and large CTS luxury sedans of 2013 and 2014 respectively. Capable of supporting four-, six- or eight-cylinder powertrains, it’s an almost assured base for the 2016 Camaro to be built on.
However senior executives at GM are on record saying mere badge engineering simply won’t work in this day and age – ruling out the possibility of a next Camaro simply wearing a Holden Lion.
Jacoby insists that Holden design and engineering will play a part in developing this next-generation V8 coupe, with mules already being tested at Holden’s Lang Lang testing ground outside of Melbourne, which was due to be sold off but was retained at the eleventh hour.
“I think it was a wise decision to retain our Lang Lang [proving ground],” tells Jacoby.
“I think we remain Australian engineering capacities, we talk about the design which is state of the art, and which … design is not Australian, design is not Korean, design is not Japanese.
“It’s a General Motors Holden, Chevrolet, Cadillac design and I think we have high competence in Australia, and I think with all our product decisions which we have in Australia, we involved our engineering team, our proving ground capabilites and our design team for this product”.
But we won’t see this Holden two-door V8 coupe before local manufacturing ceases. Rather it will take the sports car baton from four decades of Commodore V8 sedans.
“It will come after the factory closes,” he confirmed.