• Jul 16th 2006 at 3:35AM
  • 40
Click image for a full hi-res gallery! See the Calais V in its own gallery here.

With yesterday's launch of the all-new Holden Commodore, a series of dominos begins to fall that will ultimately shape GM's product roster for years to come. Holden has stated outright that the Commodore's platform has been developed for markets beyond Australia's borders. One of those is most assuredly the United States where the rear-wheel drive chassis will underpin many GM models here, including a host of rear-wheel drive sedans and possibly the Chevrolet Camaro.

Development of the new VE Commodore range totaled $1.04 billion, the biggest single product investment the Australian automotive industry has ever scene. The rear-wheel drive sedan now comes in seven flavors. The Omega model is new and replaces both the Executive and Acclaim models that had grown too close in content over the years. The rest of the range includes the Berlina, SV6, SS and Calais. There are now also V-Series versions of the performance oriented SS and luxurious Calais models. Holden is keeping further details on the down low until closer to the vehicle's launch in August, so full a features list, complete specs, and prices are not yet available.

Engines that will be available at the VE Commodore's launch in August include two 3.6-liter V6s generating 240 horsepower/243 ft-lbs of torque and 261 horsepower/250 ft-lbs of torque respectively and a powerful 6.0-liter V8 that develops 362 horsepower/390 ft-lbs of torque. Transmissions include a GM 4L60E four-speed automatic for the Omega and Berlina, a GM 5L40E five-speed automatic with Active Select in the Calais V6 and Aisin AY6 six-speed manual in SV6, a Tremec T56 six-speed manual in the SS and SS V, and the GM 6L80E six-speed automatic transmission first introduced in the Cadillac STS-V will be available on all V8 models.

Here's how the 2006 VE Commodore range shakes out engine-wise:
  • Omega (new) – 3.6L V6, peak power 180kW, peak torque 330Nm, four-speed automatic
  • Berlina – 3.6L V6, peak power 180kW, peak torque 330Nm, four-speed automatic; 6.0L V8, peak power 270kW, peak torque 530Nm, six-speed automatic
  • SV6 – 3.6L V6, peak power 195kW, peak torque 340Nm, five-speed automatic or six-speed manual
  • SS – 6.0L V8, peak power 270kW, peak torque 530Nm, six-speed automatic, six-speed manual
  • SS V (new) - 6.0L V8, peak power 270kW, peak torque 530Nm, six-speed automatic, six-speed manual
  • Calais – 3.6L V6, peak power 195kW, peak torque 340Nm, five-speed automatic; 6.0L V8, peak power 270kW, peak torque 530Nm, six-speed automatic
  • Calais V (new) – 3.6L V6, peak power 195kW, peak torque 340Nm, five-speed automatic; 6.0L V8, peak power 270kW, peak torque 530Nm, six-speed automatic
Holden's full press release after the jump.

[Source: Holden]


All-New Holden Commodore Unveiled To The World
Fourth generation of Australia's best-selling car range revealed

Holden today unveiled the all-new Holden Commodore range, designed and engineered to extend a decade-long record as Australia's best selling car.

The 2006 VE Commodore is Australia's first $1 billion car program and the most homegrown development project in almost 60 years of Holden vehicle production.

The fourth generation Commodore is much safer, offers more technology and delivers more features and value than ever before.

Interiors, exteriors and major mechanical features have been totally redesigned or upgraded, representing the most clean-sheet car program in Holden history.

Holden spent more than six years planning and developing the new Commodore, the first generational change since the multiple award-winning VT Commodore was launched in 1997.

Holden launched the Commodore in 1978 and has built 2.4 million Commodores for sale in Australia and export markets around the world.

Holden's sports performance hero SS model and prestige leader Calais were chosen to debut VE Commodore at an event in Melbourne.

The all-new WM series Statesman and Caprice flagship models, representing Australia's most successful locally designed export cars last year, were also shown in an historic double reveal.

Commodore's design theme is enabled by an increased wheelbase which moves the wheels closer to the car's corners, delivering a powerful European-styled stance on the road.

The launch comes 75 years after Holden became part of the world's largest automotive company, General Motors. It is also 150 years since the original Holden saddlery business, which grew to be today's GM Holden, opened in Adelaide.

GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Denny Mooney, today said VE Commodore was designed to excite buyers about Australian cars and enhance Holden's future as the largest automotive manufacturer in the country.

Mr Mooney said General Motors had invested more than $6 billion in Australia over the past decade, including VE, to protect Commodore's market-leading position.

The VE program totalled $1.04 billion and the WM Statesman and Caprice program $190 million, taking the combined cost to $1.23 billion.

Mr Mooney said VE Commodore had potential for GM markets around the world, having been engineered from a global architecture for left-hand-drive requirements such as the Middle East.

He said VE offered striking design, performance and refinement able to compete with the world's best car brands.

"VE Commodore delivers ultimate value to the Australian buyer. Its design is comparable to anything in the world and we made major advances in refinement and quality," Mr Mooney said.

"Our targets have been some of the most expensive and most carefully crafted cars around the world and this careful consideration of global expectations is what should make this car work.

"We pored over every panel, the tiniest of details to place this car right up there in terms of refinement, quality and performance."

Mr Mooney said safety was a key factor in the new vehicle, with the acclaimed crash avoidance technology Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) standard and curtain airbags available on the entire VE sedan range.

"The chassis is designed to accommodate a range of active and passive safety technologies as well as the crashworthiness expected in many different markets," he said.

"We have used more super-strength and high-strength steels than ever before in Commodore's structure. Real world crash performance was a huge priority throughout its development."

Mr Mooney announced a revised model line-up for the new range, including a new name to Holden, Omega, to replace Executive and Acclaim.

"We are also adding extra class with the introduction of a new concept, the V Series, to highlight our top-of-the-line offerings. This will commence with the SS V and Calais V," he said.

"The peak power of our advanced Alloytec V6 engines, made right here in Australia , will move up to 180 and 195 kilowatts respectively.

" The six-litre V8 will stamp its authority with peak power and torque of 270 kilowatts and 530 Newton metres which will really deliver the performance Holden buyers know and love.

"We will introduce a new six-speed automatic transmission for V8 models, sharing it with GM's premium cars such as Cadillacs and the Chevrolet Corvette.

"We have introduced all-new front and rear suspension systems to provide outstanding handling without sacrificing ride comfort. The car's microprocessing capability has more than doubled and allows us to provide new levels of safety and user-friendly features."

Mr Mooney said recent market changes and external factors such as fuel prices were best countered by ensuring locally built vehicles were able to mix with the world's best.

"The Australian car industry has a strong future while it continues to make globally competitive cars such as VE Commodore," he said.

"We're proud of what we have achieved with the all-new Commodore. We know Australians still enjoy large cars and we know they want safety, roominess and style in their cars."

The Holden VE Commodore range will go on sale in August 2006. Pricing and full specifications and features will be announced closer to the start of sales.


  • Australia's first $1 billion dollar car program. This compares with $600 million spent on the acclaimed VT range released in 1997
  • Combined with WM Statesman and Caprice, total program costs were $1.23 billion
  • Most clean-sheet car program in Holden's history
  • More than 3.42 million development kilometres were driven during the program
  • About 2.4 million Commodores have been built for domestic and export sales since the VB Commodore was launched in 1978
  • Holden Commodore has been Australia's best selling car each year since 1996, the year before VT was launched
Model lineup

The new Omega and V Series models feature in a revised Commodore lineup. Omega replaces Executive and Acclaim while the V Series adds new variants to the leading SS and Calais nameplates.
  • Omega (new) – 3.6L V6, peak power 180kW, peak torque 330Nm, four-speed automatic
  • Berlina – 3.6L V6, peak power 180kW, peak torque 330Nm, four-speed automatic; 6.0L V8, peak power 270kW, peak torque 530Nm, six-speed automatic
  • SV6 – 3.6L V6, peak power 195kW, peak torque 340Nm, five-speed automatic or six-speed manual
  • SS – 6.0L V8, peak power 270kW, peak torque 530Nm, six-speed automatic, six-speed manual
  • SS V (new) - 6.0L V8, peak power 270kW, peak torque 530Nm, six-speed automatic, six-speed manual
  • Calais – 3.6L V6, peak power 195kW, peak torque 340Nm, five-speed automatic; 6.0L V8, peak power 270kW, peak torque 530Nm, six-speed automatic
  • Calais V (new) – 3.6L V6, peak power 195kW, peak torque 340Nm, five-speed automatic; 6.0L V8, peak power 270kW, peak torque 530Nm, six-speed automatic

  • Two variants of the advanced all-aluminium 3.6L Alloytec V6 engine will be offered
  • The high output Alloytec will deliver peak power of 195kW @ 6500rpm and peak torque of 340Nm @ 2600rpm, up 5kW and 5Nm
  • The Alloytec V6 will deliver peak power of 180kW @ 6000rpm and peak torque of 330Nm @ 2600rpm, up 8kW and 10Nm
  • Increased output from the new 6.0L Generation 4 V8 engine to peak power of 270kW @ 5700rpm and peak torque of 530Nm @ 4400rpm, up 10kW and 20Nm. This makes the new engine the most powerful standard Holden ever produced
  • Plans for a 3.6L dual fuel LPG Alloytec V6 engine later in the year.

Five transmissions will be offered, comprising three automatic and two manual transmissions. An all-new six-speed automatic transmission will be offered for V8 variants, shared with General Motors' flagship Cadillac cars and the Chevrolet Corvette.
  • GM 6L80E six-speed automatic transmission with Active Select (introduced in the Cadillac STS-V in the United States ) makes its Australian debut as an option in all V8 variants
  • Tremec T56 six-speed manual in SS and SS V
  • GM 5L40E five-speed automatic with Active Select in Calais V6
  • Aisin AY6 six-speed manual in SV6
  • GM 4L60E four-speed automatic in Omega and Berlina
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) standard on all models
  • Driver, front passenger and side impact airbags available on all models
  • Occupant protection system designed for real world driving environment
  • Curtain airbags available on all models - standard on SS V, Calais and Calais V; optional on Omega, Berlina, SV6 and SS
  • Ultra-stiff body structure, multiple load path strategy, structurally optimised front and rear deformation zones
  • Greatly expanded use of super-strength and high-strength steels in the body
  • All-new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems
  • Zone-based front and rear park assist systems available on selected models
  • Multi-function display reporting system
  • Bluetooth standard on all models except optional on Omega
  • Roof-mounted DVD systems available on all models
  • Auxiliary plug in audio systems to accommodate MP3 devices
  • Integrated navigation and telematics systems available later in 2006

VE is the 14 th series of Commodore since the original VB Commodore was released in 1978. The VB Commodore was introduced as a replacement for the iconic Kingswood family. New generations of Commodore were introduced in 1988 with the VN series and the VT series in 1997.

Commodore has been Australia's best selling car for each of the past 10 years, including the end of the VS series (1996), VT series (1997-2000), VX series (2000-2002), VY series (2002-2004) and the outgoing VZ series (2004-2006).

It is Australia's best selling car year to date in 2006, a significant achievement given general awareness of the pending VE arrival.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      Hey ozboy I am not a Toyota fan club member. I don’t currently own a Toyota, I might buy the new Toyota aurion. In terms of Commodore/Falcon yeah more than 70% are fleet sales, in terms of individual choice in fleet purchases became more prominent in the last few years, with more individual choice with fleet car purchases both Holden/Ford started to loos fleet sales. As people have the choice of getting a reliable & economical European car or a locally built Toyota/Mitsubishi or a spacious 7/8 seater safe medium SUV. There are some guaranteed fleet customers for Holden and Ford like State & Federal Governments. What’s cool in a Camary Sportivo or Mitsubishi 380 VRX, reliability, good handling, fuel economy. Toyota Aurion is larger than the Camary, with a V6 engine specially designed for Aussie conditions, similarly the Mitsubishi 380 based on the US Galant redesigned for Aussie conditions. GM is an American company which builds cars in Aus, like both Toyota/Mitsubishi are Japanese car companies which builds cars in Aus with more Aussie components than Holden. Both Toyota and Mitsubishi have design studios. Interior space I agree the old camary’s didn’t have as much interior space as the commodore, but the new Aurion will have comparable space, the Mitsubishi 380 has better head and legroom than the VZ commodore and even the Magna has similar interior space to Commodore.


      What races are you referring to the V8 races, In the past both Toyota & Mitsubishi have tried to enter cars in the V8 races, both Holden and Ford prevented other manufactures to enter cars in the V8 races. Has Holden or any GM car won any World Rally Championship WRC championships or Paris Dakar Rally?

      I have worked on assembly line automation on both Holden and Mitsubishi plants, I have seen the quality control on both manufacturing processes, there is significant better quality control in the Mitsubishi assembly line compared to Holden. Nearly every person who has owned a Commodore have complained about reliability and repairs even within the first 3 years.

      I have driven VT, VY, VZ commodores, poor handling especially on wet rainy days, downright dangerous on wet dirt roads. I will be buying a large V6 sedan towards the end of the year, it will definitely won’t be a commodore because of possible poor fuel economy, reliability/repairs and over priced (the base model costs about 40k). I will decide between a Toyota Aurion and the Mitsubishi 380.


      • 9 Years Ago
      Kenn, could this be down to preference? I found the VY not a bad handler, even in the wet, but the Japanese cars left me feeling unrewarded. In fact, I can’t get over just how they build in sterility, something the Koreans have managed to do to some models, too. I’ll be checking out the VE when it crosses the Tasman Sea.
         I have not driven the Aurion yet, but the Avalon was a pig; as for the 380, to me it’s a Galant with a six, and more suited in what Ford might call the D segment, and not the E that Falcon and Commodore occupy. (I know Mitsubishi targets Falcon and Commodore in both our countries, but it is not a widened mid-sized car like the original Magna was.)
         However, I will have to concede that the Japanese still have an edge in build quality: you only have to look at a 2003 Commodore and a 2003 Camry, for example, and see which one has held up better.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Responding to an earlier comment "Oil prices soaring, and Holden produce a 3.6L V6 guzzler. Not very smart." I bought a new (2005) Commodore SV6 in March of this year, replacing a 1998 Toyota Camry 2.2l - and I am getting the *same* economy for a much better drive and a *much* better looking car. However, I don't think the looks are enough. I actually prefer my model... My only regret? I wasn't able to front the cash for a V8!!
      • 9 Years Ago
      This car looks like state of the art. The SS looks nice but next year it's bound to be passe. GM needs some leading edge stuff.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Michael Karesh

      One of my mates has a VZ commodore and Mitsubishi Magana TW (V6 Diamante in US). Within the first 3 yrs he ended up replacing the transmission and repairs on engines valves etc in the Holden commodore, he recons the Mitsubishi was far more reliable the engine and transmission far better.

      This is a report about buying used hand cars, where it compares the reliability between the 4 Australian built cars

      • 9 Years Ago
      There's a lot of previous generation 3-Series in this design, especially the greenhouse. Wheel arches and fender vent recall outgoing M3. Fender vents are on their way to becoming the spoiler of the 21st century. Probably not enough distinctiveness even for a Chevy. Interiors simple theme resembles recent Chevy designs.

      A similarly clean design did not work for the GTO. Won't work for a Pontiac sedan, either.

      Kenn--I suspect you're greatly exaggerating the lack of reliability in a GM vehicle. By this time next year I should have the numbers.


      • 9 Years Ago
      Oil prices soaring, and Holden produce a 3.6L V6 guzzler.

      Not very smart!
      • 9 Years Ago
      What a pack of whingers!!! Car looks awesome, heaps of power, excellent styling, can't wait to get the SS model, keep up the good work GM.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Kind of looks like the Caddy CTS-V, even has a V on the trunk lid.

      I would probably be willing to trade in my 94 Impala SS for that orange SS if they brought it here... on the other hand maybe not.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Took it for a test drive - SV6. What a fantastic car. I had to buy one!
      • 9 Years Ago
      The SS is a nice looking car but I doubt you will see it in the US anytime soon. It would clash with the Caddy CTS and GM wants to use up local excess manufacturing capacity so we are more likely to see low volume niche products such as GTO. However, the platform will definitely make a big impact here. It will intersting to see the first road tests for the Holden which should become available in the next few weeks.
      • 9 Years Ago
      9. Bob said: "AUSTRALIA MUST HAVE PROTECTIONIST TARIFFS FOR KOREAN CARS -- or this thing would have no shot of being competitive. "
      .....From your comment Bob it's obvious you're a boring American happy to drive bland Korean FWD cars.....good one mate. The Commodore has been the best selling car in Australia since 1997, we're not as much in love with dull cars as you Americans; driving dynamics are important.
      BTW can you name one GM mid size in the US that has decent interior packaging for 5 occupants, available with a V6 or V8 RWD engine, not to mention enjoyable to drive??? That's why Holden exports its cars and you guys don't.. Enjoy your Sonata...and get a life
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