Holden's New VF Commodore Breaks Cover
10 February 2013
The most technologically-advanced car ever created in Australia has broken cover.
Unveiled at an exclusive event in Melbourne’s stylish Docklands, Holden’s new VF Commodore also spearheads a new export campaign to the USA in the form of the Chevrolet SS Sports Sedan. It brings in a host of new technologies that make it not only the best Commodore ever, but also one that is safer, more user-friendly and more fuel efficient.
It also brings new levels of luxury and refinement to the large car segment, with a sumptuous new interior to match its upmarket exterior.
“The VF Commodore really is a class above,” said Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mike Devereux. “No other car created in Australia is as technologically advanced, and we’re very proud that not only was the VF designed and engineered here, but it will also be exported to the USA for GM’s biggest global brand, Chevrolet.”
The VF Commodore, which will be built at Holden Vehicle Operations in the Adelaide suburb of Elizabeth, South Australia, highlights Holden’s advanced global design capability and promises a driving experience on a par with top-marque competitors.
It will also be more fuel efficient. Thanks in part to the Federal Government’s grant of $39.8 million through the Green Car Innovation Fund, it features lightweight aluminium panels along with other fuel saving features such as electric power steering. It is also more aerodynamic than the VE Commodore it will replace.
Among its many new technology features are some significant safety and driver friendly elements.
Key convenience features include Auto Park Assist on all models, where the driver operates the pedals but the car effectively parks itself. Unlike many similar systems, it also allows drivers to choose between a parallel or 90 degree angle park. It also gets the latest version of Holden’s innovative MyLink infotainment system and keyless entry and start.
Safety features include Reverse Traffic Alert, which warns of vehicles passing when reversing out of spaces, Blind Spot Alert, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning and a Head-Up Display, which projects vital safety information such as the car’s speed directly onto the windscreen.
The new Calais V-Series sedan, on which the show car is based, will headline an extensively upgraded VF Commodore model range that goes on sale mid-year.
“Our aim with the new VF Commodore was to create a car that challenged some of the broader perceptions people have about the traditional Australian-made large car,” said Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mike Devereux.
“We have created a car that not only serves the loyal buyers who continue to make Commodore one of the most popular cars in Australia, but also a new breed of discerning customer who wants higher levels of luxury and technology in their car.
“When it goes on sale, it will offer levels of quality and sophistication to rival some of the best cars in the world.”
The VF Commodore was designed and engineered at Holden’s headquarters in Port Melbourne, Victoria.
Holden’s Director of Design, Andrew Smith, said the VF exterior design was a precise, contemporary execution that held true to the dynamic poise of its predecessor.
“We’ve taken a powerful existing form and brought it up to another level, with the feeling now about projecting a real sense of quality and technological aptitude,” he said.
“The styling is characterised by sculpted forms and richer detailing. There’s more gleam and polish at every point and careful attention to detail everywhere you look, from the vibrant front fascias and projector headlamp treatments through to the all-new rear end graphics.
“And the key interior elements are entirely new: instrument panel, console, cockpit, seats, steering wheel, switches, shifters, textures, you name it, no detail has escaped attention.
“Our designers set out with deliberate intent to exceed expectations by creating a cabin with premium large car ambience – a wow factor, if you like – that’s characterised by a fresh sense of luxury, comfort and convenience.
“It’s a carefully cohesive design which echoes the detailed aesthetic of the exterior and places emphasis on rich, tactile materials and technical refinement. The ergonomic integration is excellent yet it retains a completely intuitive Holden feel”.
“These vehicles reflect the truly international nature of our business and they can certainly hold their own anywhere in the world”.
Holden’s range-topping V-Series Calais spearheads a strategy aimed at extending its upmarket luxury car appeal to a broader band of buyers.
VF’s polished good looks owe much to great bone structure. The brilliant silhouette and athletic, wide track stance that made the award-winning 2006 VE Commodore an automotive style icon now reinforce a street-smart new look that’s fresher, more sophisticated and aerodynamically advanced.
The Calais V’s streamlined exterior is also more aerodynamically efficient than the model it replaces. Given improved fuel economy as a major VF program target, Holden designers and engineers made extensive use of virtual modelling and wind tunnel technology to create a slippery new shape.
The cabin design was driven by the requirement to integrate a raft of advanced driver assistance and infotainment technologies and to meet demanding GM global benchmarks.
Given the opportunity to make extensive changes, the Holden interior design team went for it full-on. Their aim was to define new targets for perception of quality and interior harmony, using ‘best of the best’ benchmarking data.
The result is a significant step forward in terms of craftsmanship, custom-tailored materials, fit and finish, ergonomic layout and all-round driving comfort.
■All-new instrument panel with integrated centre stack and cowled instrument dials combines infotainment, climate and other controls into a contemporary piece of modern electronics
■Stylish new seat designs feature new structures and luxury comfort profiles
■Quality, layered trim finishes in smooth soft-feel leather and suede with perforated leather inserts are accented by twin-needle stitching
■Strokes of bright and galvano silver chrome and metallic embellishments gleam against jet black and light titanium background hues
■Ice blue ambient lighting illuminates a re-designed centre console with versatile small item storage solutions and maxi cup holders
■Ergonomic improvements include a new steering wheel design and a console-mounted electric park brake button (goodbye handbrake lever).
■Power window switches are relocated to the armrests, the boot release control to the driver’s door
VF’s evolutionary exterior design is a dynamic, mature execution – more sculptural and highly refined, with exceptional finishes, richer detailing, bright and jewelled accents.
■Up front: the higher, wider front end features complex hood surfacing with a subtle central power bulge; raking spears point focus at prominent signature trapezoidal grilles
■Jewelled halogen projector headlamps incorporate a ‘curved blade’ park lamp effect
■Lower air intakes are flanked by LED daytime running lamps and fog lamps
■New front fenders complement the flared, aero-sculpted wheel arches
■In profile: all potency and forward movement with an upper decklid line that kicks into a slim integrated spoiler; chrome fender vents, larger, multi-spoke, machine-faced wheels
■At the rear: a wider, more planted stance. Streamlined, uncluttered graphics are dominated by intricately jewelled new tail lamps that extend into the decklid
About Holden Design
Holden’s automotive design facility at company HQ in Port Melbourne, Victoria, is one of nine GM global design studios and the largest of its kind in Australia.
Holden Design is an innovative and creative contributor to major General Motors vehicle programs and its expertise in advanced and production design is tapped by GM affiliates worldwide.
It employs a multi-talented and multi-national team of more than 130 people, among them exterior and interior creative designers, colour and trim designers, advanced designers, clay modellers, fabricators, digital sculptors, visualisation and design quality specialists.
The creative team is led by Michael Simcoe, Executive Director, GMIO design and Andrew Smith, Design Director, GM Holden. It leverages leading edge technology – including Holden’s multi-million dollar 3D visualisation studio – to deliver advanced automotive design solutions and drive future strategic opportunities for GM globally.
Holden Showcases New Design and Advanced Technology in Luxury Commodore Concept
10 February 2013
Holden has previewed the design direction of its highly anticipated VF Commodore range with a public reveal of the 2013 Calais V luxury sports concept.
To be launched mid-year, Holden’s stylish and sophisticated new VF range is set to change perceptions of Australian-made cars.
The new-look flagship Calais V-Series sedan headlines Holden’s VF design strategy and introduces a premium upgrade to the vehicle interior and exterior.
Designed to capture the attention of Australian car buyers in an increasingly competitive marketplace, the Calais V signals a major evolutionary change to Commodore, with world-class interior design, premium fit and finish and the application of advanced technologies.
Calais V presents a range of technology firsts for a local vehicle, including Auto Park Assist, Head-up Display and Reverse Traffic Alert. The new features make VF Commodore the most advanced vehicle to be designed, engineered and built in Australia.
In addition, the Calais V-Series luxury sports concept reveals fresh exterior design treatments and a sculpted, muscular form that boosts aerodynamic efficiency.
While a new, detailed and luxurious approach to the interior design has resulted in a tailored, refined and harmonious blend of quality materials, integrated themes and thoughtful ergonomics.
Holden Design Director Andrew Smith said the design team’s vision was to create a new interior environment with a richer, more cohesive feel.
“We set out to over-deliver. Consequently, there’s a level of refinement you’d expect of a high-end European product,” he said.
“There’s a sense of being invited in, of well executed and custom-tailored detail wherever you look.
“The VF will introduce cutting edge driver technologies and we’ve ramped up every facet of the interior layout to match.
“The big new infotainment touch-screen is a prime example. It’s a great graphic interface to functions that drivers will find simple to operate, minimising distraction and maximising connection to the rest of their lives.
‘We’ve re-designed everything from the instrument panel, instrument cluster graphics, binnacle hood, centre stack and flow-on console layouts to the steering wheel, seats, storage and lighting. Controls are in better places, functions are clearly defined.
“The design team selected premium quality materials in light titanium and jet black tonings to create a layered, textured surface feel that the Calais V-Series shows off to great effect.
“Accents such as precision stitching and perforated inserts on the soft leather seat trim are reflected elsewhere in the cabin – there’s a careful attention to detail apparent everywhere you look”.
The VF Calais V’s symmetrical, ergonomically advanced interior design was driven by high-level global research into consumer expectations and preferences.
It delivers systems that are easy to use and understand and which minimise the steps required to perform a particular task. There are fewer buttons to navigate, many controls are relocated to more convenient positions and all switches have chrome identifiers.
Power window and mirror controls are now situated on the door armrests, door locks have moved to the front door and the boot release is on the driver’s door. Cruise control joins other fingertip functions on the steering wheel.
On the new centre stack, infotainment system and climate controls (now with illuminated dual temperature readouts), are entirely separated and clearly designated.
The reconfigured centre console features a covered compartment, versatile new cup holders, more small item storage, recessed electric park brake control and an easily accessible mobile phone rest and power outlet located forward of the new auto shifter. In night mode, this area and door pull recesses are illuminated by ice-blue ambient lighting.
The VF Calais V-Series also offers class-leading new seat structures with curved comfort profiles developed by GM to ensure global best practice integration, detail execution and quality standards. Driver and front passenger seats combine snug sports back and bolster support with superior cushioning.
The show car is upholstered in a modern combination of fine-grained light titanium leather with suede and perforated leather inserts, accent stitching and a central jet black strip detail.
A neutral timber-grained finish follows the full-width curvilinear form of the instrument panel. High chrome finishes on the tactile new steering wheel and elsewhere are complemented by subtle galvano silver chrome elements.
The overall result is harmonious, first-class and refined in every aspect.
Richard Ferlazzo Holden Chief Designer – Creative Design, said the VF’s handsome new silhouette holds true to traditional concepts.
“However, this time we’ve raised the bar. We’ve taken a great existing form and brought it up to another level,” he said.
“The surfacing is more flamboyant and contemporary, way more sophisticated. We’ve succeeded in putting in more action and detail.
“One of our main goals was to improve aerodynamic performance and as a result many
visual elements are much bolder. There’s also more embellishment in terms of chrome highlights. Headlamp and tail lamp treatments are layered, complex and intricately detailed.
“You’ll notice that the hood is more prominent, with a centre crease that emphasises performance potential and two raking spears sweeping in from the A-pillars. They point focus at the elegant new Calais V front fascia with its slim LED daylight running lamps and signature trapezoidal grille.
“The new vertical fender vents highlight the long dash-to-axle proportion that’s very much part of the design DNA.
“The flowing side detailing, the upper line that incorporates the decklid into the C-pillar, the upswept ducktail aero effect – they exemplify the sculpted approach we’ve taken to exterior surfacing.
“Of course the twenty-inch, double ten-spoke show car alloys make their own statement.
“The rear graphic is distinctively different, more streamlined. With the brilliant new integrated tail lamps and the license plate moved to the lower fascia, it’s a wider, cleaner look.
“Aerodynamically, this vehicle has been tuned to the nth degree. Even the fine vertical style crease that runs through the tail lamps has a purpose beyond good looks”.
Colour and Trim
The opulence of the newly designed VF interior is reflected through Holden Design’s modern and luxurious colour and trim strategy.
The 2013 Calais V interior environment has been enhanced with a strong focus on custom-tailored detail, with finishes like perforated materials, suedes and chrome carefully selected to reflect the luxury sport design theme. Additional accents of wood and chrome also give the interior an air of modern sophistication.
Two interior images were created – a dark image with light titanium accents and more technical decoration strategy – and a lighter interior environment, which points to the ultimate in luxury styling.
Both images place a strong emphasis on decoration, with a carefully considered layering of materials, more jewelled decoration and stitching detail. Materials are repeated across different elements in the interior such as the seats and instrument panel, to augment the sense of luxury.
Bright décor also helps to emphasise the luxuriousness of the interior space.
Chief Designer – Colour and Trim Design Sharon Gauci said designing VF gave the team the opportunity to decorate more elements in the car, with the aim of achieving a sense of richness through all of the materials.
“The new VF interior environment is designed to go above and beyond traditional customer expectations,” she said.
“With VF, we aimed to create the ultimate interior for the price point with a harmonious and cohesive approach to our colour and trim strategy.
“The VF Calais V show car presents a very connected interior environment and we’re satisfied we have met the brief for a technical, modern and luxurious interior.”
Exterior feature highlights
The Calais V lower front fascia features black honeycomb mesh insert detail on a chrome-laced central air intake. Outboard ports sport chrome over-riders and an LED daylight running lamp/park lamp combination, integrated by a stand-out chrome ribbon.
The deep, trapezoidal grille has a bright chrome surround, header and horizontal bars; prominent Holden branding against a gloss black textured mesh background.
Fluid, sculptural halogen projector headlamps are strikingly shaped and jewelled, with intricate internal layers, a light guide ‘eyebrow’, a hooded flash detail that runs down and over the projector and black bezel detailing.
The fascia is flanked by prominent front fenders and flared, aero-modified wheel arches.
The Calais V show car’s deep-dished twenty-inch double ten spoke machine-faced alloy wheels feature radial triangular elements.
Slim vertical fender vents with a chrome surround incorporate repeater lamps.
Door handle surrounds, belt line and door frame mouldings are finished in bright chrome, while the Prussian Steel Concept exterior colour echoes the luxury styling of the bright chrome exterior finishes.
Replicating the fluid headlamp design, the integrated tail lamps extend into the decklid. They incorporate complex jewellery detailing and chrome rings surround instantly identifiable red-lit ‘hotspots’.
Further features include a V-Series decklid badge, new reflectors in the lower valance and dual circular chrome exhaust outlets.