THE imported replacement for the Aussie-built Commodore will still be called Commodore.
General Motors international operations boss Stefan Jacoby has confirmed that the iconic nameplate – which replaced Kingswood in 1978 as the brand's local large car – would live on once local manufacturing ceases by 2017.
"We will continue with the Commodore nameplate," Jacoby told journalists at the 2015 Detroit motor show, before adding that the announcement was embargoed to coincide with a dealer announcement and marketing campaign.
"There will be a Commodore successor. The Commodore successor will have the Commodore name."
Jacoby said the heritage and history of the model – as well as the increasing need to reassure Australians the Holden brand was here for the long haul – was behind the decision to continue with the Commodore nameplate.
The announcement ends months of speculation triggered when the marketing department admitted Commodore could be shelved once the model is imported.
"Commodore is very much embedded into Holden, it’s part of the Holden history, it’s part of what Australian customers want to have and we listened to our customers," Jacoby said.
But the first imported Commodore – a re-engineered, rebadged version of the Opel Omega – will be a very different beast to the driver-focused rear-drive models that have typified the breed since the original VB of 1978.
Jacoby effectively confirmed information from Holden insiders that the 2018 Commodore would be the first to power only the front wheels.
However, he said this would not be a problem, pointing to his experience with the VW Group, which had no problem selling a front-drive Audi against a rear-drive BMW.
He also noted that BMW, once a trenchant rear-drive company, would go front-drive with the next 3 Series model.
Jacoby confirmed the imported Commodore was already being tested locally at Holden's Lang Lang proving ground.
He said GM is determined to maintain Holden’s presence in Australia, but stopped short of committing to returning the brand to the top sales position.
"We want to be the best," he said Jacoby when asked if Holden could be the number one brand.
"With the brand Holden in Australia, we have the best platform … This brand is extremely strong and it’s part of Australia’s culture and history. It’s an iconic brand."