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General Motors will keep its Australian marque alive after production stops in 2017.
A Holden-sourced hotrod for the U.S. has all but been confirmed by GM after an OnStar slipup and the resulting media storm, but official details are still just out of reach. Even without that information, there’s a reasonable argument to be made that the rear-drive Chevrolet SS will be less than prolific.
An old nemesis is making a return to Australia’s V8 Supercar series. From 1990 through 1992, the Nissan Skyline GT-R dominated the Australian Touring Car Championship series, running rings around Holden and Ford V8′s. During the 1991 Bathurst 1000, the GT-R even set a top-speed record that could not be matched for nine years. Finally, in 1992, Australia’s racing body charged a weight penalty and a boost pressure reduction in an attempt to level the playing field. However, that failed to slow the GT-R down as it continued to dominate its last season before new rules that required V8 powerplants banned the GT-R’s entry.
After a decade, the Nissan GT-R once again returns to the stage under the the Supercar V8′s Car of the Future program, a new project encouraging a wider variety of automakers to join the series. What’s more, Mark Skaife, the man behind the Car of the Future program, was a former GT-R racer that won many of Nissan’s victories in Australia during the early ’90s.
In order to meet the current V8 Supercar regulations, Nissan’s race car will be forced to use a generic rear-wheel-drive, V8 drivetrain. Despite the fact that it will not be an authentic GT-R racing alongside the fire breathing Aussie V8s, we do look forward to seeing more and more automakers following Nissan’s example to freshen up the Bathurst grid. So far, four GT-R’s under Kelly Racing will be participating in the 2013 season.
Watch video of the announcement below:
If the decision becomes final, it means a big change considering the company has designed, engineered and built the Commodore on Australian shores for 64 years.
In an interview with OptusZoo News, the chief engineers behind the Commodore confirmed that 2014 may be the last year the line is made in Australia. The decision likely came from owner General Motors in an effort to increase cost efficiency.
Australian Senator Kim Carr couldn’t confirm to Left Lane News what will happen to the jobs that will dissolve as a result of the change, but said the Australian government is discussing possible investment by GM in the country.
[Source: Left Lane News]
Current Commodore-based Lumina SS as sold in the Middle East and Africa
Even if General Motors survives its current financial woes, it has a serious problem on its hands regarding future products. Take the Chevy Impala for instance. Sure it’s not very exciting, nor is it much to look at, but its a top seller for GM and not something they would want to mess up – or do without.
GMinsideNews (GMI) is reporting that their sources inside General Motors are indicating a switch to a rear-wheel drive platform for the next Impala. The only problem is, this new version of the car wouldn’t be until 2015. Even worse, the current Impala is slated to stay in production until 2013, leaving a two year gap.
Worse still, just think how outdated the already long-in-the-tooth Impala will be four more years from now. Yikes!
According to GMI, this is how it will play out. The next generation Impala was supposed to be built on the RWD Zeta platform bu that was recently axed in a bid to cut costs. In Australia the Holden Commodore, which rides on the Zeta platform, will use a version of the Camaro’s platform starting in 2011. Once that Commodore is ready to be retired, both it and the next generation Impala will arrive (in 2015) sharing GM’s upcoming Alpha platform – much like how the current G8 shares most everything with the current Holden Commodore.
It sounds like a stretch to us, but as “world cars” are becoming more popular as automakers search for ways to save cash, there is certainly an economic argument for the report.
GMI says the use of the Alpha platform for both the Commodore and Impala in 2015 is under “serious consideration” by GM execs, but these days nothing is certain.
Case in point, just last week GMI reported that the Impala would get a long wheel base of the front-wheel drive Epsilon II platform (which is planned for the next generation Malibu).