Holden eyes renewed exports to the US. Commodore SS set to be sold under Chevrolet Lumina name
But don’t expect a resurrection of the Pontiac G8 – as the highly regarded Australian performance sedan was previously known in the US. With the Pontiac brand discontinued as part of bankruptcy plans, General Motors now appears poised to re-badge the Holden Commodore as a Chevrolet for a return to the North American market, possibly under the Lumina name as it is sold in South Africa.
"We are definitely looking at doing something with Holden for the retail market. What we are looking at is bridging a gap in the performance sedan market that was vacated by the Pontiac G8. With no Pontiac, the obvious performance brand is Chevrolet," Al Oppenheiser, a senior engineer at General Motors and the engineering boss of the Camaro, told the Sydney Morning Herald.
With Holden already exporting the Holden Caprice to the US as the Chevrolet Caprice police car, rumours on a return of the Holden Commodore SS to the world’s second largest car market as a Chevrolet Lumina have been rife for almost a year now. While the Caprice sits on the longer wheelbase version of General Motors’ rear-wheel drive Zeta platform, the Commodore is based around a shorter wheelbase version of the same structure. Helping Holden and Chevrolet in their quest is the fact that much of the engineering work involved in converting the Commodore from right-hand-drive as sold in Australia to left-hand drive as required in North America has already been completed.
The rekindling of exports to the US would be a welcome development at Holden, whose operations were hit hard by the dumping of the Pontiac brand and its headlining G8, which was sold in both V6 and V8 forms. The future of the Australian-based General Motors subsidiary and its Elizabeth plant in South Australia has been the subject of much speculation in recent months. However, an export deal with Chevrolet would sure up confidence in its operations at a time when plans for the next generation Commodore are already taking place.