Commodore heading to Nascar?
THE blogosphere has gone into overdrive with speculation that Holden's Commodore may race in the 2013 US-based Nascar racing series.
Rumours are flying on social media sites and web forums following a news release from Chevrolet in the US that it would drop its Impala mid-size sedan in favour of a new car "based on a new nameplate to the brand's lineup".
That in itself effectively kills any chance of the car being based on the upcoming Malibu mid-sized sedan which replaces the Impala and goes on sale here later this year.
The release went on to confirm the new Nascar race car would look a lot like the production vehicle, and that both would be unveiled wearing Chevrolet badges over the next 12 months.
Jim Campbell, vice president of Chevrolet Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, says because NASCAR fans will be able to buy the car, the wait to see what it actually is will be even more exciting.
"We know that Chevrolet fans are eager to see the new race car and we hope that the prospect of being able to own one just like it will make the wait a little more bearable," Campbell says.
General Motors enthusiast blog GM Inside News says it has received new information suggesting the Commodore is returning to the US, both as a racer and as a production model.
"The latest information we've gotten suggests Chevrolet will bring the Commodore back to North America as a high-performance Chevrolet sedan," the site claims. "The car will be very low volume and likely V8 only."
Holden spokeswoman Kate Lonsdale was quick to pour water on the rumours, telling Drive that the reports are purely speculative.
"It's been speculated widely that the Commodore will return to the US," she says. "It's all based on a Chevrolet announcement, but we have nothing to confirm at this stage."
The Commodore has long been tipped to return to the US after its short stint of being sold as a Pontiac ended after that brand was killed off as part of the GFC restructure of General Motors.
But Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux has been vocal about the difficulties of exporting cars when the Australian dollar is at record highs.
At the 2011 Detroit motor show, General Motors North America boss and former Holden chief Mark Reuss told Drive that discussions had taken place about selling the next-generation VF Commodore in the US - but he said no program was in place.
Holden exported a small number of the VE Commodores to the US, where it was sold as the Pontiac G8, but the program was dropped when the Pontiac brand was killed off as part of GM's climb back from bankruptcy.
"There's no plans to do it right now [export the Commodore]," Reuss said at the time. "We love the car but we can't talk about future product plans. [It was a] big loss when we lost the [Pontiac] G8.
"We all love the car, I'll just leave it at that."