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Holden Commodore could go to Europe

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Holden Commodore could go to Europe

Bruce Newton, drive.com.au, 20/09/07

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Plans are being made to sell a luxury, Opel-badged version of the Holden Commodore in Europe, writes BRUCE NEWTON.

The boss of GM’s European arm Opel is currently evaluating a Holden Calais V6 with a view to importing the model.

The Holden Commodore could expand its export markets even further if the boss of General Motors’ pan-European brand Opel has his way.

Hand Demant, managing director of Opel, has a Calais V6 in his possession for testing purposes and is keen to import the car on a low-volume basis.

It would serve as the flagship of the Opel range, providing a replacement for the Omega, a model that was discontinued back in 2003.

Opel tried to replace the Omega with a stretched Vectra called the Signum, but that has proved a failure and won’t be renewed when Vectra is replaced in 2008.

Intriguingly – if perhaps totally coincidentally – Opel has just reasserted its trademark on the Omega name.

“We are … interested in the V6 luxury specification,” Mr Demant confirmed to Drive at the Frankfurt motor show last week.

“We do know the vehicle is available and I must say I like the vehicle very much. But I need to obviously get support from my marketing colleagues before we import it.”

Mr Demant said he was unsure if there would be a decision this year on importing the Calais: “I don’t know; we are kicking this around,” he said.

Mr Demant said the size, engineering and design of the Calais were all up to the standard required to sell it in Europe.

Because it would be powered by a petrol engine, the Opel Calais would be imported in numbers below that which would require expensive local homologation.

Mr Demant ruled out the prospect of a turbo-diesel Calais, even though it would significantly increase volume opportunity. GM and Italian diesel expert VM Motori have co-developed a 2.9-litre engine that will start rolling out in 2009.

It will fit into the Commodore’s engine bay, but then the problems start, says Mr Demant.

“This (diesel) would mean a lot of investment and a lot of validation. We would not be able to just put it in and bring it. We would have to go through true validation and in the current circumstances that would be too high for the volume.”

Via the VE Commodore or its WM long-wheelbase derivative, Holden has export programs to virtually every part of the globe except mainland Europe.

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let's see what comes out of this... wasn't the previous rumour-of-the-week about opel considering some crossover-like model on EpII??

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