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Camaro no-go for Oz, Commodore still on for US

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Camaro no-go for Oz


March 3, 2010

Chevrolet muscle car's RHD program postponed again, but Commodore for the US is progressing.

Bad luck, muscle-car fans. Australia is off the list for a factory version of the reborn Camaro after General Motors again scrapped plans to build the iconic coupe in right-hand drive.

The RHD plan was revealed by GM vice-president Bob Lutz at the Detroit show in January and it was Lutz who revealed at the Geneva show this week that it had been put on-hold.

Lutz said the numbers simply did not stack up for the RHD program and added he was disappointed that markets such as Australia had not ordered larger numbers of the car.

"The right-hand-drive Camaro was not that high on the priority list because all the right-hand-drive markets unfortunately came back with relatively low volumes," said Lutz.

"The UK was low and I think frankly Australia could have stepped up to the plate with some more orders, but when we finally looked at it there wasn't enough units to justify what is after all a fairly large investment."

Lutz said that instead scarce engineering money and talent has been allocated to other more potentially lucrative and necessary programs such as hybrids and plug-ins.

"There were priority programs we had to do and I couldn't argue with the logic of that."

At the same time as Camaro imports were killed off, Lutz said the export plan for the Commodore to the USA as a Chevrolet had moved on from January when he described adapting the car to become a "four-door Corvette".

"Oh it has progressed," he said. "But you'd better talk to Mark Reuss (North American GM president and former Holden boss) about the details."

"We haven't given up on that one." he said. "That looks pretty safe, because with Mark Reuss in charge of North America he still has this deep connection to his time in Australia. He realises how good the vehicles are and he is going to be dipping in to that quite a bit."

That is good news for Holden, which lost massive export revenue when its deal with Pontiac was cancelled and the brand died. The Chevrolet deal opens up opportunities for both the sedan and ute.

Lutz also said the Australian-built Police Pursuit Vehicle (PPV) based on the Statesman was gaining good response from US police forces.

Lutz confirmed the cost of the Camaro conversion program was under US$100 million and expressed his disappointment that it would not be going ahead. It is the second time the RHD Camaro plan has been scrapped. The first time was when GM was heading for bankruptcy last year and was cutting costs everywhere.

"I am always personally sad when we create an exciting car and there is demand for it in an interesting country like Australia and we can't fill it," said Lutz. "That always annoys me."

He was particularly disappointed, he pointed out, because the Camaro is based on a shortened version of the VE Commodore architecture and much of its development took place at Holden in Australia.

"It's doubly unfortunate," said Lutz. "Let me put it this way, if there is a country in the world that deserves to have the Camaro it's Australia."

When Lutz revealed the rhd Camaro plan at Detroit, Holden boss Alan Batey quickly confirmed his interest in bring the 6.2-litre V8 version to Australia, but cautioned it would not come before 2011 and would command a $75,000 price tag.

Instead, Aussie Camaro lovers will now have to go to private converters for their cars.

Queensland-based Performax is the highest profile and charges up to $135,000 for a top-line car.



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Chevrolet Camaro set for RHD

Chevrolet could offer its iconic Camaro in the UK in right-hand drive next year, according to company insiders.

Company sources at the Geneva motor show told Autocar that a right-hand drive Camaro was a strong possibility for the UK as it’s based on the Australian Holden Commodore, which is originally engineered for a right-hand drive market.

There is a desire within the firm to produce the car for the UK, but there must be the economies of scale to justify it. Chevrolet has also revealed that the Corvette will be marketed again as Chevrolet in Europe, including in the UK.

Also confirmed at the show were the firm’s intentions to sell the Chevrolet Volt in the UK alongside the Vauxhall Ampera. It would be priced under the Ampera and pitched at the retail market, while the Ampera would mainly be for fleet sales.

Of the 30,000 Volts tipped to be sold in its first year of production, 1000 of these are likely to end up in the UK.



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GM has much larger and more important things to do vs selling a $75,000 Camaro overseas. It would be a hard sell at that price in this world economy,

I would rather see them take this money and put it into the new Alpha and just make it a world car from the start and do it right. A smaller lighter car would sell better overseas.

The Chevy SS here is a no brainer since all the hard expensive work is done. It is mostly a matter to get them on the boat.

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So when do we get the damn Commodore already? Or I am going to have to bust down the door and get a PPV. (Provided they are federalized, and because of the Commodore that is looking more likely.) Anyways glad to know the Zeta 4 door is coming along, so when do you all think we will actually get to see the concept? Or pre-production model?

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