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Camaro out, but Corvette firms for Oz

Chevy supercar emerges as most likely ‘V8 sports car’ from Holden as GM rules out RHD Camaro

Chevrolet’s Corvette musclecar has emerged as the model most likely to be the “V8 sports car” Holden has promised to release in Australia in coming years.

This scenario has firmed following news that the new Camaro coupe will not be produced in right-hand drive.

The sixth iteration of the Camaro had been widely tipped to be the mystery sports flagship. But in a joint statement by Chevrolet and Holden following yesterday’s Camaro debut, GM has ruled out RHD production of its sixth-generation pony car, at least “at this stage in the program”.

“The Chevrolet Camaro is an iconic product and the sixth-generation, all-new vehicle offers even higher levels of performance, technology and refinement… However, a RHD variant is not in the current plan. If this changes, Holden will of course take a very close look,” said GM yesterday.

Two Holden ‘leaders’ have gone on record stating a V8 performance car would remain in Holden’s line-up even after local Commodore production ceased. The first time was in a statement by GM International chief Stefan Jacoby at the Detroit motor show in January, then Holden sales boss Peter Keley reiterated the position last month.

So what is the “V8 sports car” Jacoby and Keley have promised?

motoring.com.au understands GM is highly unlikely to replace the Chevrolet SS with a US-built model when Holden local production ceases at the end of 2017 (despite the fact the former is the basis of Chevy’s NASCAR program).

The so-called ‘Holden SS’ plan was first mooted by GM’s global development chief former Holden chief Mark Reuss and involved a four-door sedan version of the new Camaro, but that now appears to be a pipe dream.

Apart from Cadillacs, selected versions of which GM is also believed to be hatching a plan to take global by 2020, the only other rear-drive sports car in the GM world is the compact Code 130R concept, which generated excitement around the prospect of an affordable Chevrolet coupe when it was revealed at the 2012 Detroit motor show.

But Reuss has now also poured cold water on that idea, telling US-based industry publication Automotive News: “I love those things. We know how to do them really well.

“The real question is: Is that a big priority? For now, no… Forever? I wouldn’t say that.”

That leaves the C7 Corvette as the most likely candidate to be become Holden’s new flagship in the absence of V8-powered Commodores, which now comprise up to a third of Commodore production in Adelaide.

In January, Jacoby said the new Holden sports car will be “a true sports car”, “most likely a V8”, “a global car” and “not currently in production”, but likely to appear around the same time Holden’s home-grown Commodore is axed at the end of 2017.

Asked today if the new Camaro was the ‘V8 sports car’ Holden had promised, Holden Corporate Affairs chief Sean Poppitt told motoring.com.au: “Not necessarily.”

He said, “We haven’t put a time frame on that kind of sports car or a name. Holden will have a true sports car in the future model portfolio and that’s unfortunately all I can say right now.”

Further clouding the issues is that the C7 Corvette has once already been ruled out for RHD production. That could change, perhaps when the model receives a midlife makeover within the next two years – before the current Commodore SS is retired.

It’s not clear which (if any) Corvette models will be offered in Australia, but one thing is for sure — they won’t be cheap.

While the Camaro starts at just $US23,705 ($A29,680) in North America, where it’s a direct rival to Ford’s Mustang (to be priced from under $45,000 when it arrives here in December), US Corvette prices start at $US55,000 ($A68,850).

That figure is for the Stingray coupe, with the range extending to $US79,000 ($A98,900) for the supercharged Z06 flagship.

By any measure that suggests a $100,000-plus Corvette starting price likely here.

Article by: Marton Pettendy | Published : Tuesday, 19 May 2015
Original Article

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