This is not the new gto it A grand prix,what an relief
Grand Prix by Holden: GM's Australian outpost wants to follow up the GTO with a sedan
By Joshua Dowling
Photography by Charlie Gearside
Keeping to the tire tracks of the Pontiac GTO, General Motors's Australian outpost wants to export its new rear-drive V-8 sport sedan to the U.S. as the next Pontiac Grand Prix.
GM's Australian division, Holden, launched its all-new Commodore in July, the first vehicle based on GM's rear-drive Zeta architecture to go into production. The Commodore has been Australia's biggest-selling car for the past decade, but Holden is increasingly relying on exports to ensure that local production of its large sedan remains viable.
The car Holden proposes as the next Grand Prix is based on the new Holden Commodore SS-V, which is powered by GM's new 6.0-liter Vortec V-8 with 362 horses and 390 pound-feet of torque, available with six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions and running on 19-inch wheels. Holden shipped a Commodore SS-V, the performance flagship of the new Holden range, to Detroit for a strategy board meeting with high-level GM executives in early August.
The American boss of Holden, Denny Mooney, told Australian media at the launch of the new Commodore that Holden could help with GM's plans to take Pontiac all rear-drive. "I think if you talk to anyone at Pontiac, he'd tell you he'd love a rear-drive performance Grand Prix. The SS-V would make a great Pontiac. But I'm not going to oversell this thing. We're going to send these cars over there and let them speak for themselves."
The SS-V will be driven by GM chairman Rick Wagoner and global product chief Bob Lutz, among others. They also will drive a luxury, long-wheelbase version of the Commodore, sold as a Holden Caprice in Australia. Holden had planned to export the new Caprice to the U.S. as a Buick (the design and engineering were finalized more than a year ago), but those plans were scrapped when GM focused its energy toward a new range of SUVs in North America.
Holden hasn't given up hope of exporting the Holden Caprice to the U.S., but it may now not be sold as a Buick. In Australia, the Caprice, which rolls on a 118.5-inch wheelbase--some 4.0 inches longer than the standard Commodore--is available with a 261-horse version of the 3.6-liter high-feature V-6 as well as the 362-horse V-8. Standard transmission is GM's new 6L80E six-speed automatic, also used in the Cadillac STS and C6 Corvette