AT LONG last, the legendary Chevrolet Camaro will be sold in Australia and New Zealand in right-hand drive, starting July next year, as part of an expanded partnership between Holden Special Vehicles and GM Holden.
Under the deal HSV will import new Camaros from the United States and convert them to meet local road laws before placing them in its dealerships, which will be updated to carry Chevrolet branding as well as a new HSV logo.
The vehicles will be based on a single highly equipped variant called the Camaro 2SS Coupe, powered by GM’s LT1 engine – a 6.2-litre direct-injected V8 producing up to 340kW and 615Nm, though peak figures for Aussie cars may be slightly different following ADR compliance.
An eight-speed automatic transmission is confirmed for launch vehicles, though HSV management is planning for manual transmission vehicles to be offered from the same time.
Standard equipment will include 20-inch alloy wheels and four-piston Brembo brakes front and rear, adaptive dampers, LED daytime running lights, power adjustable heated and ventilated leather seats, a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, dual zone climate control, keyless entry, rear parking assist and a nine speaker Bose stereo.
A head-up display is part of the 2SS package in the US, though keeping it in vehicles prepared for sale in Oz presents a challenge for HSV, and it may be deleted due to the costs involved.
As it stands, retail pricing is expected to land around $90,000. An official announcement on that is yet to be made. HSV has said that sales are projected to be in the region of 1000 units per year for the next three years.
Four left-hand drive vehicles are currently kicking around HSV’s facility in Clayton for assessment. At this stage the company says it has no plans to sell versions of the Camaro upgraded in typical HSV fashion.
“Because of our history and heritage [Camaro] is nice. It keeps us grounded a little bit in where we’ve traditionally been. But the job here isn’t to enhance Camaro, the job is to get the steering wheel from the left-hand side to the right-hand side in a way that you don’t notice,” said Tim Jackson, managing director HSV.
It’s a significant shift in the relationship between Holden Special Vehicles and Holden itself, one that brings the two companies closer together while diversifying the product portfolios of both. HSV will also begin the process of converting Chevrolet Silverados for Australia.
“[HSV is] going into the next frontier, the next chapter much like Holden. We need a proven partner to bring us right-hand drive capability for some of these exciting products that we may not otherwise have access to,” said Mark Harland, director of marketing GM Holden.
There are currently 58 HSV dealerships in Australia and a further six in New Zealand that will rebrand to include Chevrolet and accommodate Camaro.
“We’re going to market clearly as Chevrolet. You couldn’t put a Holden badge on these. People wouldn’t believe it. These are iconic Chevrolet products, so we’ll go to market as Chevrolet,” said Harland.
Further Camaro variants, such as the formidable 485kW ZL1, could be added to local showrooms in time, though HSV says it has no plans to tackle the difficult emissions challenges associated with such a move at this stage.
As for the other questions this raises – such as whether we might see a Chevrolet racing in Supercars, or right-hand drive Corvettes on our roads in the near future – both parties are tight lipped.