It was a sad day when Holden announced that the next Commodore, the ZB, would switch from its rear-drive roots that it had since it was first launched back in the late 70's to front-wheel drive. We have been wondering if this decision was made back in 2013 when the news first came out or earlier. According to a report from Australian outlet Motoring, discussions about possibly using the next-generation Insignia date back to 2010 and the final decision would follow a year later.
“It was really a case of how many architectures could General Motors afford to develop, and how many different people wanted to use Zeta versus something like this (E2)," said Brett Vivian, Holden's director of engineering.
“I think we took some strategic decisions back then to do fewer architectures and put more into them and make them deeper, stronger architectures and spend our resources that way.”
A key reason Holden made the switch to the FWD Commodore comes down to the declining sales of the big RWD sedans.
“I think there is a place for V8s and big cars, but it is increasingly becoming a smaller and smaller slice of the pie and at the end of the day we have to pay our bills and to do that we need volume to do that," Vivian explained.
“It just wasn’t the place to place your bets and invest your money.”
Vivian also dropped an interesting tidbit about the ZB Commodore. There was the possibility of a long-wheelbase version that could serve as the replacement for the Caprice/Statesman. But when the decision came down to end Australian production in late 2013, this idea was scrapped.