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Possible Commodore replacement lands in Australia

By Alex Rae, 06 Aug 2019 News

Possible Commodore replacement lands in Australia

Cadillac CT5 AWD arrives in Melbourne for testing

General Motors’ all-new Cadillac CT5 sedan has touched down in Australia in production trim, not wearing any camouflage and previewing a potential replacement for the Holden Commodore.

This particular model, spotted fresh off the plane from the US in Melbourne, is the CT5 Premium Luxury AWD, recently announced in General Motors’ home market to start at $41,690 USD and available in either a rear- or all-wheel-drive layout.

With Holden’s replacement for the German-sourced Commodore in question after PSA Group’s purchase of GM’s operations in Europe, Cadillac seems a logical replacement for the rebadged Opel Insignia. The US maker planned to introduce the marque here in 2008, but pulled out at the eleventh hour when the global financial crisis hit.

Read: Cadillac CT5 in Australia, but not for sale

Holden has since been testing the mid-size Cadillac sedan near its Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria. This particular model is likely to join the test fleet for engineering purposes and was quickly whisked away to a garage after being spotted – we reached out to Holden for comment but a spokesperson could only add that, “Holden is regularly involved in emissions and transmission calibration work on a variety of models from the GM portfolio”.

Although GM has not confirmed if it will introduce Cadillac to the Australian market, executives have suggested to Wheels numerous times that it is a matter of when, not if.

“It’s up to Dave [Buttner, Holden Director] but we’re certainly capable of doing that [introducing Cadillac to Australia],” General Motors product development boss Mark Reuss told us late last year, adding: “It could be an opportunity for us.” 

“Right-hand drive is a key requirement to be a high-profile brand in Europe and you simply cannot do that if you don’t enter the UK market,” Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen told us in 2017.

“Once you’ve entered the UK market, well obviously you’ve just unlocked the first big hurdle to entry into some of the right-hand-drive markets; Japan, Australia, South Africa,”

The CT5 is replacement for the previous CTS, available in a base grade Luxury trim starting at under $40,000 USD and equipped with a 177kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels. Pricing goes up to $41,690 for the rear-drive Premium Luxury and $44,780 with AWD.

Also on offer is a more powerful 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that develops 250kW or 265kW of power and 542Nm of torque in CT5-V guise, a ripe replacement for the Commodore’s sportiest atmo 3.6-litre V6 that makes 235kW and 381Nm.

Holden will likely have to find a replacement for the Commodore or face the end of the line for the nameplate after 2021, when PSA is tipped to move the Insignia onto its own platform.