Holden has revealed its "no excuses" Commodore aimed at reinvigorating a car that has fallen off the radar of fleet and family buyers.
Click photo for more views of the new VF Commodore.
A self-parking system, reversing camera and touchscreen infotainment system with internet radio apps built in are some of the standard features designed to put the Commodore back on shopping lists.
The new VF Commodore boasts fresh front and rear styling and a new interior that gives the crucial new model a European flavour as well as technology claimed to make it the most advanced locally-produced car ever.
Holden chairman and managing director Mike Deveruex says it will "change people's minds" about large cars, which have seen sales nosediving for more than a decade.
"What is different about today's car is the sophistication, the technology and refinement that makes this a no excuses, no asterisk/star/exclamation point - you can fill in the word - world-class vehicle. This is a world-class vehicle," says Devereux.
"What we have been able to do with this VF is tailor it to be a class above anything we've ever done. It's an embodiment of what you can do in this country if you put your mind to it.
"This is going to change what people think of the large car in this country."
The new VF Commodore will also be exported to the United States in low volumes later this year where it will be sold as the Chevrolet SS performance car and also form the basis of that brand's Nascar race program.
"We have proven with this car that you can export things from this country," says Deveruex, referring to the previously announced plans to sell between 3000 and 5000 in America. "Yeah it's difficult but if you make world-class stuff ... you can sell it in San Francisco, Sydney, Boston to Brisbane and it is world class, you cannot do that if it's not world class."
It's the latest step in the Commodore's transition to a global car.
Devereux also used the VF Commodore media reveal event to confirm Holden has begun work on a next generation Commodore - to be produced locally but as a global car rather than one designed and engineered almost solely with Australians in mind.
The doors, roof and windows of the VF Commodore are unchanged. Holden has instead focused its spend on components more noticeable to buyers - and distinguishable from the VE model it will replace.
As well as crash avoidance technology largely reserved for luxury models, when the new Commodore goes on sale in May all models will be fitted with a self-parking system and reversing camera, aimed at increasing the large sedan's appeal against SUVs that are increasingly filling Australian driveways.
While the V6 and V8 engines aren't expected to change much in terms of power output - and there's no four-cylinder engine or diesel engine despite a trend towards those fuel saving technologies - a new lighter body that uses an aluminium bonnet and boot has reduced weight by at least 50kg.
Combined with improvements to the aerodynamics of about 10 per cent, the VF Commodore is expected to lower its claimed average fuel consumption figure by about 10 per cent; the official figure will be close to 8.0 litres per 100km, making it more efficient than some mid-sized cars and some of the SUVs that have been a significant factor in Commodore's decade-long sales slump; from a high of almost 100,000 sales in 1998 it slumped to only 30,000 last year, despite growth in the overall market.
Deveruex won't be drawn on sales of the latest iteration of a car that topped the sales charts for 15 consecutive years, except to suggest it would never return to its peaks.
"The days where one car sold by anybody accounts for one-tenth of the sales in a country, it doesn't happen anywhere on the planet," he says. "That's got nothing to do with Commodore, that's human tastes, it's fragmentation of the market."
As for pricing, that's also a state secret for now, although rises could be on the way.
"I think people will be pleasantly surprised at the value equation given all of the technology, the cut-above textiles in the car, this does feel like a world-class car and we're going to price it accordingly," says Devereux.
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