The demise of the Pontiac brand in 2009 also brought about the death of the G8, the Americanized derivative of the Australian-built Holden Commodore SS. It was a sad day for Pontiac and Holden fans alike, the loss of the G8 export contract costing Holden millions of dollars and putting the future of its Elizabeth, South Australia plant - and the brand itself - in jeopardy.
When the Holden-derived Chevy Caprice Police Car was revealed for the North American market twelve months ago, rumors of a reborn G8 in the form of a Chevrolet were rife. Now, Aussie motoring website Drive is reporting that U.S. exports of the Holden Commodore SS are "imminent", with a launch expected before the end of the current model's lifespan.
At the LA Auto Show, Al Oppenheiser, a senior engineer at General Motors and the chief engineer on the Camaro project, told Drive that negotiations were underway to sell the Commodore in North America as a Chevrolet:
"Although we have made no official announcement as yet, we are definitely looking at doing something with Holden for the retail market. What we are looking at is bridging a gap in the performance sedan market that was vacated by the Pontiac G8. With no Pontiac, the obvious performance brand is Chevrolet."
An unnamed source at GM has even gone so far as to suggest that the export deal has already been finalized and approved. As the LHD development work is already done, the biggest hurdle facing Holden's relaunch of North American exports is the high Australian dollar.
Jonathan Rose, a spokesman for Holden, is less optimistic: "At this point in time our focus is on exporting the Caprice to North America as a law enforcement vehicle ... beyond that we don't have anything to add right now."
The unnamed Chevrolet, if it does become a reality, will mostly likely be based on the short wheelbase Zeta platform, not the long wheelbase one like the Chevy Caprice Police Car.
By Tristan Hankins
*Opening photos: South African Chevrolet Lumina
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