The VF must sustain sales until an entirely new car replaces it in 2017
HOLDEN has unveiled a reworked Commodore crammed with hi-tech features in an effort to pump life back into its mainstay during its final four years.
The VF Commodore, unveiled in Melbourne yesterday, is the first substantial upgrade to the VE model launched in 2006 and must sustain sales until an entirely new car replaces it early in 2017.
Holden is believed to have spent about $400 million on the VF, which focuses on installing modern electronics and safety features while raising cabin quality at the expense of wholesale exterior changes.
Holden chief Mike Devereux said the VF would challenge preconceptions about Australian-made cars.
“The VF Commodore really is a class above,” Mr Devereux said. “No other car created in Australia is as technologically advanced.
“It will offer levels of quality and sophistication to rival some of the best cars in the world.”
The VF debuts features previously unique to imported cars such as automatic parking, a head-up display which projects information on to the windscreen, and collision-warning systems.
With almost $40m from the government’s defunct Green Car Fund, Holden has also taken measures designed to improve fuel efficiency, such as installing electric power steering and lightweight aluminium panels.
Mr Devereux said that during its four-year production run the VF would put $2 billion back into the economy through jobs, the supplier base and logistics.
He expected it to appeal to Commodore loyalists and attract “a new breed of discerning customer who wants higher levels of luxury and technology”.
The cabin has been thoroughly redesigned to address criticisms that the VE had poor ergonomics and a downmarket interior.
Holden has fitted a new instrument panel and it describes the central control cluster as “a contemporary piece of modern electronics”.
Redesigned seats, better materials and ambient lighting are also ingredients in the debut example, a top-end Calais V.
“It’s a carefully cohesive design which places emphasis on rich, tactile materials and technical refinement,” design director Andrew Smith said.
The VF aims to reverse a 25 per cent sales slump for Commodore last year, when it found just 30,500 buyers.
Holden spokesman Craig Cheetham said that the company was aiming for a significant increase in demand when the car reached showrooms mid-year, although it did not expect the VF to reclaim the best-seller spot for Commodore, which the car held for 15 years until 2011.
The VF also adds another dimension to Holden’s small-scale export program, with sales of a V8 model to the US badged as the Chevrolet SS.
That car will be unveiled at the first Nascar race meeting of the year at Daytona next weekend and General Motors expects to import at least 5000 a year.
Holden already sells a specially equipped version of the long-wheelbase Commodore, known as the Caprice, to the US as a police car.
Source: The Australian