Holden overnight confirmed the export deal that will see a “limited production derivative” of the upcoming VF Commodore shipped to the US to become Chevrolet’s first rear-wheel-drive performance sedan in 17 years.
The Chevrolet SS (short for Super Sport), which will almost certainly be powered by a V8 engine, will also form the basis for the bowtie brand’s NASCAR challenger for the 2013 season.
The US market has tasted Commodore-based products twice before in recent years as part of short-lived export programs that saw the Monaro sold as the Pontiac GTO between 2004 and 2006, and V6 and V8 versions of the VE Commodore sold as the Pontiac G8 from 2008 until the brand’s demise in 2009.
Respected US publication Car and Driver says it is keen to test out Chevrolet’s first rear-wheel-drive performance sedan since the 1996 Impala SS.
“The Super Sport moniker is an icon in GM history, and the new SS sedan will be the latest in a long line of sporty Chevrolets to wear the twin-S badge,” Car and Driver’s Alexander Stoklosa writes.
“Given our affinity for the last widely available rear-drive Zeta sedan – the Commodore-based Pontiac G8, which hit 60 in 4.7 seconds in GXP trim – consider us excited to slide behind the wheel of this one.”
Fellow US publication Motor Trend says it's “happy” with the decision to introduce the Australian-made Chevrolet SS sedan, but does not expect the Commodore Sportwagon and ute derivatives to accompany it.
“Don't count on seeing either variant in the US, though Pontiac toyed with the idea in the form of the G8 Sport Truck before the brand died,” Motor Trend’s Zach Gale writes.
“For now, we’ll be happy with the SS. If it’s anything like the dearly departed G8 GXP to start, we’re pretty sure Chevy fans will be as well.”
Holden has neither confirmed nor denied whether the sedan could be joined by the ute or wagon variants.
Motor Trend remains convinced, however, that the Chevy SS export program will be a case of third time unlucky for Holden, reporting that it is merely filling a gap before Chevrolet produces its own performance sedan in North America in 2015.
“While we're thrilled the 2014 Chevy SS exists at all, the rear-drive sedan is really a placeholder car until an all-new North American model debuts, likely for the 2016 model year.”
CarAdvice sources have suggested that this is not the reality.
US website Jalopnik’s Benjamin Preston simply says to fans of the General: “If you've been waiting for another [rear-wheel-drive performance sedan] to come along, your prayers have been answered”.
Former Holden boss now GM North America president Mark Reuss was predictably thrilled with the announcement.
“I am delighted to say that Chevrolet will deliver a true rear-wheel-drive NASCAR racecar in the SS that very closely links the performance sedan that will be available for sale,” Reuss said.
“The Chevrolet SS is a great example of how GM is able to leverage its global product portfolio to deliver a unique performance experience that extends well beyond the track and I am personally looking forward to driving it.”