Tomorrow, General Motors will unveil their Americanised Holden Commodore as the Pontiac G8!
Which was a rebadged Commodore sporting extra hood scoops, HSV wheels and a redesigned front end to match the Pontiac design language that was hideously styled all over the Pontiac G6. What Americans will get from the G8 is a return to the rear-wheel drive muscle cars that Pontiac was once known for before it was ruined with the G6’s hideous styling and association with Oprah Winfrey.
Pontiac is in such a sad state as a brand that is known for abominations such as the Aztek, and was once called a damaged brand by Bob Lutz. Its even sadder that a quirky little roadster called the Solstice is the only thing that is keeping the brand on life support.
This is what the original Australian Holden Commodore used to look before it was Americanised.
The original Commodore above won the Australian Car of the Year award against the Ford Falcon and the Toyota Aurion. The Commodore developed by Holden uses the new Zeta platform that will be the basis for the Camaro, and large rear-wheel drive sedans or coupes produced by GM. It appears that GM is now smart enough to flex their global divisions into producing efficient yet innovative platform and cars for the entire company.
We can see how Saturn is now reduced to an American brand of Opel similar to how Vauxhall is in the UK and it looks like Pontiac’s futures will be tied to Holden to a large extent with their common heritage of producing powerful, rear-wheel drive cars. This is not necessarily a bad thing since the Opel Astra will finally arrive in America and the next Aura will mirror the Vectra a bit more.
Its interesting to note that the Commodore is exported to the Middle East as Chevrolet Luminas and this is not the first time Pontiac has sourced a Holden for the US market. No, the first time Pontiac sourced an Australian car was when they decided to simply rebadge the Holden Monaro and pass it off as a Pontiac GTO. This really wasn’t a great idea because the Monaro was basically a 2-door Commodore and it’s styling was made with only Australians in mind.
Nevermind the fact that Americans kept bitching about the GTO loosing its roots because it didn’t “drive, feel [or] look” American. Of course the GTO isn’t an American car because it’s just a 2-door Commodore with left-hand drive that is assembled in Holden, Australia and slapped with a Pontiac grille!
Then again, insiders have told journalists that the next GTO will have retro styling similar to the Camaro but will have the same underpinnings from the G8. Hopefully, GM will have wised up from their previous Australian adventure by making adjustments to water-down (improve) the Commodore for American tastes.
With all that is said and done, I would not purchase either the G8 or the Commodore if I had the means to do so. Instead, I would rather get my hands on the HSV GTS, which was produced by Holden’s preformance division
The GTS is more aggressive and has stronger performance figures than both the G8 and Commodore. The only thing the G8 derived from the GTS were their alloy wheels and nothing more. It’s always good to know that the HSV designers did not bother adding non-functional hood scoops to make their car look bold like the Pontiac G8, instead focusing their energies on improving handling, aerodynamics, and stuffing a 7.0 LS6 V8 used by the Corvette into the bonnet.
Only time will tell if the G8 succeeds or sinks like the G6. Well, to be fair, at least they are not making last minute decisions to rename their cars like Ford did with the Aviator to MKX and now renaming the Ford 500 back to the Ford Taurus….