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The Commodore Returns to the US, But Why the Delay?
April 26th, 2012
www.gminsidenews.com
by: Alex Villani


Fans of GM Rear-Wheel Drive, it's time for you guys and gals to breath a sigh of relief. As promised by us here at GMI, Chevrolet is on the cusp of announcing a new car that will race under the Chevrolet banner for the 2013 race year, and as said in this press release it will be a new car to the Bow-Tie line up. That car will most deffinately be the Chevrolet SS, a limited run model based on the Commodore. Over the past few days, more news has leaked out about the "SS Performance Sedan" thanks to OnStar. Our insiders tell us that the SS will be a limited run of very low numbers(think less than GTO), and be powered by both the 6.0 L98 and 6.2 liter LS3 Generation IV V8, so expect a long waiting list and lots of pent up demand for a truly great performance sedan. It seems Chevrolet is playing it safe with the limited run, as supposed to promising tens of thousands of units a year. So there, all that time of teasing and promising that the car will be here, and voila!

But that brings up another question, why did it take so long? Obviously Holden had no problem shipping them over before as Pontiacs, why could they not just get one of those Middle-Eastern grills, slap that on, and start shipping them over? Clearly there is a desire for this car, enough to keep the Commodore line in Australia humming away creating these great performance sedans, so why was this not done fast enough? A few months ago, I asked this very question to a some people both inside the industry and inside Chevrolet to get weed through the excuses and get to the core. The answer might shock you. Well, it might shock you if you do not read GMI on a daily or even weekly basis.


Even Mr.Reuss is excited

My first quest was to a Chevrolet insider so to see what they had in store for me, and it lead me down the most interesting of paths. Our source said that it has more to do with state franchise laws than anything else. Everyone knows about franchise laws and the problems they can cause OEMs from marking up hot-selling vehicles all the way to being generally difficult to understand importance of other vehicles. Well it seems the answer is contained deep in these stacks of legal documents and it prevents an auto maker from selling a vehicle to the public at an alive brand that used to be sold at a dead brand unless there is a significant change in that product. Your first reaction is probably similar to the one I had, that it sounds like an easy-out excuse that someone made up, right?

Well, the further I dug into dead brands and the vehicles that went down with the ship, not one of them came back out looking like the one that died. The best example that I could find was the Oldsmobile Bravada and the Buick Rainier. See, in order for Buick to sell a GMT360 truck, they had to change the vehicle enough so that it did not resemble the Bravada at all. Putting the two cars side by side, inside and out, you can see that visually they only differ in the grill, so Buick had to make another revision in order to sell it: they put a 5.3 liter V8 in it. There were enough changes to allow the Rainier to make it to the dealer show rooms and get past these dealer laws. You might be saying, "ALEX, WHAT ABOUT THE CHEVY CAPTIVA, THAT'S A DAMN VUE WITH A BOW-TIE!" and you would be dead on, but because the vehicle is sold through fleet ONLY, GM has yet again found a way around this supposed law.

My next stop was to someone that was familiar with these dasterdly contracts that seemed to be holding up the party and find out how much truth there is to all of it. Turns out that there is language in these franchise laws that speak to this in certain states. Our source said about a dozen or so states have wording that talks to the fact that a car from a dead brand cannot be sold to a good brand without a major overhaul. Well, problem solved, no? Well, it seems that even though this law does exist, it is more or less an excuse as no dealer has ever called such law into action and shut down a production run of vehicles. This would seem to disrupt the overall dealership network and supply chain and cause a lot of friction between dealers and other dealers as well as dealers and OEMs.

After talking to our dealer sources, they all confirmed that no current dealer would go against bringing this car out, especially a car like this. And no dead dealer would bother spending the money to purse such a case against an OEM, especially the size of GM, where it would be stalled in courts long after the car has come and gone. So we are back to square one, where is our precious Commodore? The answer is simple: we are waiting on the upgrades.

As we know, VE was designed to handle North American crash tests as the budget for the platform was much bigger than previous programs to allow for this additional engineering and manufacturing. It probably did not leave a lot of room in the cash department for a visual redesign that would be drastic enough to make this SS look that much different than the G8 for 2010, on top of the fact that Chevrolet probably wanted to see how Camaro did for a bit before they brought in yet another expensive performance vehicle into the line up.

Combine that with new CAFE rules and how well GM would do coming out of Chapter, there were way, way, way too many variables to take in to account to just start shipping over these cars. It seems that the stars have aligned, GM came out of BK swinging and posting up great sales numbers -and profits- for a lot of their new products, especially Camaro. The stage was set and the wheels went in motion to bring this vehicle here as it was about this time when we started to announce here on GMI that this car was coming. There is still an issue of changing the vehicle enough to allow it to comply with these franchise laws, but thanks to the timing, Holden has recently started to gear up for a major revision to the line up with VF and that opens the door to allow Chevrolet to bring the vehicle over while complying with all laws and regulations. It also gives us a better Commodore than the one we had before as all signs show that VF should fix a lot of the complaints about the current one that customers had, both in Australia and in the US.

So what can we expect from this new VF based Chevrolet SS? Well we covered that it will be lighter as there will be a larger use of aluminum for body panels, but do not expect any major changes in the powertrain department as the SS, and all Commodores, will not receive the Gen V V8. Pricing has not been announced and probably will not be for a while, but expect pricing to start around mid to high 30's for this limited edition car. The new Chevrolet will finish the folding of Holden and Chevrolet's design language to form one global design as the two companies share a lot of the same vehicles. In fact, when this car hits the US, the two line ups will just about mirror each other for the exception of a few models. The move to merge the two brands was done to help give a more global presence to Chevrolet as it seeks to take over the world with the help of Holden. Let us not forget that this car will be the first time since the 80's that Chevy's NASCAR cup car will actually have ties to a production car, in case you cared about that. Aren't you glad you waited now?


 

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I guess this proves Pontiac is really dead. If ever there was a case to bring it back, this would have been it. Unless this law gets in the way of that too. Maybe that's it...it's illegal to bring back Pontiac, so can we close that thread now? :p:
 

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Wow... Finally... I am still glad I got my 2012 Impala, I could not have waited this long to replace the vehicle that I needed too. I am glad its coming and rest assured someone in my family will be rolling in one of these. So will it be a 2013 MY or 2014 MY car?

Also if you were buying a new 2014 Impala LTZ with an LFX why wouldn't spend a few extra grand and get a one of these with a LS Series V8 and RWD... I know I sure as hell would!:yup:

How limited is production? 5-10K units a year I hope... None of this 1,000 units a year B.S! Demand will most likely be much greater than supply if they build any less that that...
 

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Rumor had it that it would be built in NA. Anymore info on that, Big Al?
 

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Am I the only one who still thinks this beautiful piece of machine needs to be built at this "SS Sports Sedan" or whatever it ends up being?
A production vehicle based on this concept would require a pretty fundamental investment.

The bones are definitely there for a Corvette sedan though. Perhaps MonaroSS will come up with a Panamera competitor. :D
 

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I guess this proves Pontiac is really dead. If ever there was a case to bring it back, this would have been it. Unless this law gets in the way of that too. Maybe that's it...it's illegal to bring back Pontiac, so can we close that thread now? :p:
Sorry for those diehard Pontiac fans, but it's not feasible for GM to compete among itself. One has to keep in mind that it is very expensive to keep a model current with new designs. There comes a time when they are too many GM Divisions especially when they take sales away from another. It does not take a financial expert to figure that out. GM is in business to make money, not to try an satisfy a small group of fans.
 

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I guess this proves Pontiac is really dead. If ever there was a case to bring it back, this would have been it. Unless this law gets in the way of that too. Maybe that's it...it's illegal to bring back Pontiac, so can we close that thread now? :p:
Sorry for those diehard Pontiac fans, but it's not feasible for GM to compete among itself. One has to keep in mind that it is very expensive to keep a model current with new designs. There comes a time when there are too many GM Divisions, especially when they take sales away from another. It does not take a financial expert to figure that out. GM is in business to make money, not to try an satisfy a small group of fans.
 

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Well you can take me off the list.
Tired of waiting for GM to do something on soo many fronts we bought some property instead.
If we buy something in the near future it will have to be bargain basement deal with low margins for GM now.
 

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A limited run even less than the GTO. Boy, that'll really help the company regain its prestige. A Corvette sedan? Why not a Corvette pickup or a Corvette minivan?
 

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A limited run even less than the GTO. Boy, that'll really help the company regain its prestige. A Corvette sedan? Why not a Corvette pickup or a Corvette minivan?
Something tells me GM is well aware that demand for the car will exceed its supply. That being said, they probably want to prevent exactly what johnstarnes mentioned, another G8 fiasco, with thousands of units just sitting in inventory. Perhaps production and supply will increase little by little over time once GM can be sure that additional inventory will sell.
 

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Thanks for the heads up BigAl, much appreciated. I dont know, but count me as not so impressed. GM is still holding back and still teasing as if they are a second rate auto manufacturer who can only produce "limited run" specialty RWD cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the heads up BigAl, much appreciated. I dont know, but count me as not so impressed. GM is still holding back and still teasing as if they are a second rate auto manufacturer who can only produce "limited run" specialty RWD cars.
Second rate? Ferrari is a second rate auto company? While I don't want to associate the SS with the 458, don't take in the limited run of cars as GM holding back. I'd rather them hold back and have people throw wads of cash at dealers than have 4-5 expensive imported sedans sitting on lots, waiting for rebates to hit.
 

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Completely stupid of GM to base their NASCAR Cup car off a limited-production vehicle. I suppose it's no worse than what they're doing now, as they continue to throw away valuable marketing $$ and opportunities on the mostly-fleet Impala.

I know these race cars are similar to their production namesakes only in terms of the stickers that are applied, but the marketing value is very real. There's a reason why companies are still willing to plunk down $20 million to be the primary sponsor for a single team for a season. The value gained by the manufacturers is even greater, so why waste it on a 10,000 unit per year car?

This decision makes no sense.
 
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