With the last Commodore rolled out of Holden’s factory in South Australia last Friday, signalling the end of Australian car manufacturing, the lion brand is now without a V8-powered muscle car to reign in the hot-selling Mustang from rival Ford.
That’s about to change. The age-old battle will continue in 2018 and well beyond with announcement that the Chevrolet Camaro will make entry Down Under as a factory-approved right-hand drive model.
Long time Holden performance partner, Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) has confirmed its plan to bring the iconic sports coupe to Australia by late next year, starting with the mid-spec 338kW V8-powered Camaro SS.
It is reported that parent company General Motors in Detroit have approved the Camaro deal with Australia but with the condition that the car retains the Chevrolet badge as opposed to Holden or HSV. This move suggests that GM is not letting anything slip in its all out assault on the Ford Mustang on Australian soil.
Ford’s much-raved pony car has enjoyed unprecedented sales success in Australia since its launch over 12 months ago, becoming one of the top selling sports cars in the local market. GM’s strategy is to offer a more powerful and faster alternative to the 306kW/530Nm Mustang, but it comes at a cost. Punters expect that the Camaro will be priced in the sub-$90,000 range, some $25k more than the Mustang GT.
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To ease the conversion process, it is expected HSV will proceed with right-hand conversion for the 10-speed automatic-equipped Camaro only and avoid manual transmission variants.
There are no plans as yet to introduce the full blown Camaro ZL1 which packs a supercharged 6.2-litre V8 producing 458kW of power and 881Nm of torque, though should market demand increase, HSV will explore the possibility of bringing the circa $150k bruiser to Australia further down the track.