Managing director of Holden NZ Jeff Murray told the New Zealand Herald he privately showed dealers the new large sedan in June, giving them a glimpse of the new model roughly three and a half years before it is destined to go on sale in Australia and across the ditch.
CarAdvice understands Australian dealers have also been shown images of the vehicle that will replace the Commodore.
Holden's Australian corporate affairs executive director George Svigos would neither confirm nor deny whether dealers had seen the new car, but told CarAdvice the car maker had regular discussions with its dealers about future products.
Murray allegedly revealed that the new model would be sourced from either General Motors’ US line-up or Opel in Europe, and was one of three large sedans available overseas.
Yahoo NZ Autos reports the Commodore replacement will be a new version of either the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala or the Opel Insignia. Unlike the Commodore, which is rear-wheel drive and offers customers the option of V6 and V8 engines, the three cars rumoured as its successor are powered by four-cylinder and V6 engines only and are based on front-wheel-drive architectures, though the Buick and Opel are available with optional all-wheel drive.
Murray also reportedly ruled out the Commodore being succeeded by the next-generation Malibu or the Cadillac ATS - the latter being smaller than the Commodore but featuring similar rear-wheel-drive underpinnings.
The German-made Insignia is the only model of the trio that is available in sedan, liftback and wagon body styles, potentially heightening its chances of succeeding the Commodore. The LaCrosse and Impala are offered exclusively as sedans. None offers a direct replacement for the ute, however, to which Murray suggested: "There may be another variant that is introduced to cater for that market. It potentially may become a different family."
The NZ boss said a decision on whether the iconic Commodore name – which will be 40 years old when the replacement model is due in 2018 – would stay or go would be made “in six to eight months”.
He also said the VF Commodore would get a mid-life 'Series 2' update at the end of 2015.
Murray made the comments while speaking with New Zealand motoring media at yesterday’s launch of the Holden Trax turbo in Melbourne.