Production commenced this morning on the all-new dedicated LPG Commodore at Holden’s Vehicle Operations in Elizabeth, South Australia.
In a Holden first the new LPG system will be available in models across all Commodore variants encompassing Sedan, Sportwagon, Ute and Caprice.
Plant Launch Operations Manager, Tony Sylvester said the introduction of the new LPG Commodore to the plant required a number of operational and technical enhancements to be integrated into the build process to accommodate the new model and technology.
“A number of changes across the site were made with the introduction of this model including unique body panels, changes to the facia assemblies moulded in our Plastics operations and a completely new fuel system put into place in General Assembly,” he said.
Where previously the LPG fitment of the dual fuel vehicles was completed off line, the introduction of the dedicated LPG system now required the capability to fuel vehicles with LPG during the build process to enable the car to be driven off the end of the line.
Holden has taken an innovative approach to overcome the cost and complexity of adding an additional fuel line into the plant. Holden Engineers have worked with the tank supplier to come up with the solution of providing pre-fuelled tanks which are then installed as part of the build process on the Chassis Line.
“By having the LPG tanks pre-fuelled when supplied has eliminated the need to install an LPG fuel line in the plant resulting in reduced costs for the program, increased productivity and has ensured that the introduction of the new model into the plant is smooth as possible,” Mr Sylvester said.
Launched in 2008, Holden’s Ecoline is about better fuel efficiencies today and next generation fuel advances for tomorrow that are better for the environment and affordable for the typical family. Four years later, Holden’s philosophy has not changed and the all-new dedicated LPG system perfectly epitomises the future-friendly strategy.
The dedicated LPG fuel system joins the line-up of Ecoline badged models currently produced at the Elizabeth plant that includes E85 capability across all Commodore and Caprice models, Spark Ignition Direct Injection (SIDI) on V6 models, Active Fuel Management (AFM) on automatic V8 models and a 2.0-litre diesel offering for the Cruze sedan and hatch.
“Whether it is performance, economy or size as the main driver for the customer’s purchase we have the flexibility and skill at our South Australian facility to build a variety of combinations to meet their needs,” Mr Sylvester said.
The introduction of the dedicated LPG Commodore is the latest model launch for Holden Vehicle Operations that in the last 12 months has seen the launch of the locally-made Cruze sedan and hatch line-up, model year enhancements to the Commodore and the introduction of the Chevrolet Police car program.
The all-new dedicated LPG range will be available in dealerships from next month.
Holden’s dedicated LPG Commodore was the subject of an intensive and exhaustive engineering program that ensures a vehicle tailor-made for Australian conditions, with a raft of local engineering solutions that make this the best LPG Commodore ever produced.
Holden’s Program Engineering Manager for the LPG Commodore program, Brian McMurray, says the scope and exacting execution of this engineering program has ensured customers are buying a vehicle that is world-class for driveability, CO2 emissions and fuel running costs.
“The engineering team had three crucial targets for this program. To achieve less than 200 grams of CO2 per kilometre across the range, to ensure fuel running costs comparable to a small or medium-sized petrol car and finally, to ensure a seamless drive experience for customers familiar with a petrol Commodore,” said Mr Murray.
“I’m very proud to say that the team has achieved, or exceeded, those goals. After more than 1.3 million development kilometres and 78 testing and evaluation prototypes, the Holden engineering team has executed a no-compromise LPG experience.”
LPG injection system
At the very beginning of the LPG project, Holden engineers evaluated liquid and vapour-injection LPG systems. After preliminary research and building a proof of concept liquid injection prototype vehicle, it quickly became apparent that vapour injection was the only solution to achieving the program’s goals.
“Vapour injection provides lower fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions compared to liquid, while vapour also uses fuel more efficiently with fewer pumping and parasitic losses,” said Mr McMurray.
“Vapour systems are less mechanically demanding and therefore better suited to the varying grades of LPG fuel found across Australia.
“Vapour is also best suited to the Australian climate, with more consistent start-up in hot climatic conditions.”
The heart of the LPG Commodore is the 3.6-litre, double overhead cam V6 engine, with four valves per cylinder. This engine has been designed to run solely on LPG and therefore has allowed for design optimisation in several key areas.
The entire LPG fuel system has seen significant development, with new fuel injectors, fuel rail and LPG fuel filter.
Specific fuel injectors have been developed, with these injectors target positioned within the engine to optimise fuel delivery – giving better performance, lower CO2 emissions and improved driveability and durability.
The fuel control system has also been optimised in the areas of fuelling, spark advance and cam positioning to ensure that the advantages of LPG are fully realised for lowest possible CO2 emissions and best performance and driveability under Australian driving conditions.
Additional highlights include hardened valves and valve seats to ensure long-term durability, while the heads and manifold are also designed specifically for the LPG Commodore to ensure optimised air flow and combustion.
As LPG contains a higher octane rating than petrol, new pistons of an optimised design have been used to raise the compression ratio to 12.2:1 to take full advantage of LPG fuel.
A particular highlight of the dedicated LPG Commodore is the new six-speed automatic transmission. Lighter, smarter and more refined, this new transmission boasts sophisticated control software that optimises shift patterns to provide outstanding driveability.
The end result is a world-class engine with excellent performance and outstanding fuel economy. Producing 180kW of power and 320Nm of torque, the dedicated LPG engine eclipses the outgoing dual-fuel LPG variant by 5kW and 2Nm. And yet the new LPG Commodore Omega sedan records 11.8L/100km on the ADR combined cycle, an improvement of 1.6L/100km – or 13 percent – compared to the dual-fuel LPG Omega sedan.
Depending on fuel prices, the Omega sedan will cost less than $1,300 per year in fuel to run, which is up to $800 a year cheaper than a 1.8-litre Toyota Corolla.*
Holden’s engineering work has ensured the entire LPG Commodore range has been awarded 4.5 stars by the Green Vehicle Guide, and exceeds “Beyond Euro 6″ exhaust emissions standards.
Combine these results with a range of more than 700km, and the LPG Commodore is a no compromise proposition, allowing customers the freedom and practicality of a large car without the large car fuel bills.
Over the duration of the exhaustive LPG Commodore engineering project, numerous local engineering solutions were implemented by Holden engineers and suppliers. Several of these engineering innovations have been awarded patents.
Additional engineering highlights include the purpose-designed LPG vapouriser. This unit regulates the flow of liquid LPG, subsequently heating the fuel and causing it to vapourise, creating the vapour that is then injected into the combustion chamber. The vapouriser is another made-to-measure component, and is the only one of its type being used by an OEM manufacturer anywhere in the world on an engine of this capacity.
In order to use the vapouriser, Holden engineers had to create and execute new software to operate the vapouriser and integrate it into the powertrain system. This required unique code to be written for both the ECM and VCM management systems.
Spent exhaust gasses are managed through a specifically-designed exhaust system which is differentiated from the rest of the range by a single exhaust outlet, which also aids with refueling in hot climate conditions. This newly designed exhaust uses a twin-muffler system positioned mid-vehicle and is tailored to refinement, power and torque requirements for the LPG engine.
Refinement has also been paid special attention, with a specifically tailored noise and vibration package to ensure a pleasurable drive.
As with all Holden products, safety was an overriding priority throughout the LPG Commodore program. Like all VE Commodores, the LPG model goes beyond the mandated Australian regulatory requirements and scores the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating while providing outstanding real-world safety.
With its incredibly rigid body structure with multiple load paths for maximum energy absorption in an impact, ESP standard on all models, as well as six standard airbags in every model, the Commodore remains one of the safest cars on the road today.
But the LPG program provided its own unique challenges to our safety engineering team.
LPG requires a larger tank than petrol in order to achieve a similar range, so to keep mass contained, Holden’s safety engineers developed a lightweight, 84-litre aluminium tank – which to our knowledge is the only mass-produced, OEM-equipped, aluminium fuel tank anywhere in the world.
In order to balance mass and weight distribution with our stringent safety requirements, the safety team relocated the tank rearward of the rear axle which was an intense engineering exercise in itself and required significant re-routing of the exhaust system among other modifications.
The tank itself is constructed from high-strength, multi-celled, aircraft grade extruded aluminium with strategically-placed additional aluminium protection plates.
The aluminium tank was the subject of intense research and development activity, including numerous simulated and physical tests of both the tank itself and in-situ within the vehicle in the form of nine barrier crash tests performed in-house.
After a record 15 years as Australia’s number one selling car, the Commodore – Holden’s steadfast local hero – closed 2011 in the number two position with sales of 40,617 units.
Having led year-to-date sales for seven months in 2011, the Commodore passenger range sold 2,814 units in December, making it Australia’s second most popular car for the year.
The Holden Cruze sold 2,783 units in December, placing it the fourth highest-selling car in December and fifth for 2011. Holden sold a total 33,784 Cruzes last year, an increase of 5,450 units or 19.2 per cent compared to 2010. It was also Holden’s best December Cruze result on record.
Elsewhere, Holden experienced a record December for its Captiva 5 SUV, selling 499 units, and the best Captiva 7 December result since 2009, with 992 sales.
The recently-introduced Barina hatch continued to attract new buyers, helping Holden to sell 1,343 Barinas in only its second full month of sales. The result was also the best December in the nameplate’s 26-year history in Australia.
Holden Executive Director Marketing, Sales and Aftersales John Elsworth said while market conditions had been challenging in the closing months of 2011, Holden still had much to celebrate.
“We’re extremely proud of Commodore. No other car in Australian history has been number one for 15 years in a row, and it’s an achievement Holden is very proud of,” he said.
“During Commodore’s 15-year reign as the number one car the local market has changed significantly with new brands and even completely new types of vehicles giving customers more options than ever before.
“Whole new segments and models have been created, which simply didn’t exist 15 years ago, and this has given Australian consumers unprecedented choice.
“For Commodore to remain so strong throughout this time is a testament to the innovation and talent within Holden and the local industry, which has consistently introduced new, world-class technologies and features alongside or even ahead of the competition.
“Right now, we’re focussing on selling the cars our customers want. Whether it’s a small or large car built at our local manufacturing operations or an imported model from our diverse product portfolio.
“Cruze is another great success story for Holden. Since we started to build the Cruze locally in our Adelaide assembly plant last year, we’ve introduced a range of new fuel efficient engines and launched a distinctive locally-designed hatch, and Cruze has been extremely well received by our customers.
“There’s no doubt we have a challenging year ahead in 2012 but we’re looking forward to the announcement of a new dedicated LPG Commodore in the coming weeks, which will offer significantly reduced running costs and lower carbon emissions, and the arrival of our new generation Colorado LCV mid-year.”
Holden’s December sales totalled 10,193 with a market share of 12.4 per cent. Overall, Holden sold a total of 126,095 units in 2011, bringing the company’s year-end market share to 12.5 per cent.
Combined with the popular Cruze sedan, Holden’s Adelaide-built models accounted for around 58 per cent of the company’s sales so far this year.
Holden achieved 12.0 per cent market share in October with solid performances across a number of carlines including Cruze, the Captiva 5 and 7 SUV and the hard-working Colorado LCV.
Holden Director of Sales Philip Brook said constrained availability of Cruze and Captiva models limited Holden’s performance last month, with demand outstripping supply.
“October was a pretty challenging month for us. Customer demand for Cruze and Captiva was greater than availability, which can be a nice problem to have,” he said.
“We expect the situation to improve in November and we’re really excited about new models of Barina and Cruze hatch arriving, which will help meet demand in the months ahead.
“Commodore continues to be a cornerstone of the Holden model line-up. We’ve added around $9,500 of extra value to Commodore with the special edition Equipe, which adds extras like 18-inch alloy wheels, rear-view camera and rear park assist.
“It will be a tough fight to the end of 2011 but with Commodore Equipe at dealers, Cruze hatch going on sale next week, and the new-generation Barina hatchback arriving this month, we’re looking forward to a strong finish at Holden.”
After months of planning, Holden’s Vehicle Operations celebrated the start of local Cruze hatch production last week. The model year 2012 Cruze hatch and sedan go on sale around Australia from Tuesday 8 November.
The Equipe is packed full of desirable extras including 18-inch alloy wheels, rear-view camera and leather-appointed seat trim.
The Special Edition Equipe models are perfect for the buyer seeking even greater value from Australia’s top-selling car, representing $9500* worth of additional equipment.
Holden Executive Director of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales, John Elsworth, said the Equipe will serve to further enhance the appeal of the best-selling Commodore.
“The MY12 update to Commodore has made a great car even better, and now the Special Edition Equipe models introduce a raft of fantastic extra equipment including a rear view camera,” Mr Elsworth said.
“At such a competitive price we expect it to be a winner in our showrooms.”
Now on sale around Australia, the Special Edition Equipe can be purchased for the drive away price of $36,990 for the sedan and $38,990 for the Sportwagon, both including prestige paint.
Powered by Holden’s 3.0-litre SIDI V6 which now achieves economy of 8.9 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres (sedan), the Special Edition Equipe also features flex-fuel technology which enables customers to run their vehicle on Bio-Ethanol, known in many markets as E85; a blend of up to 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per cent petrol.
Bio-Ethanol is a cleaner burning fuel made in Australia from the waste by-product of wheat and sugar, as well as sorghum, with the potential to eventually be created from household garbage.
190kW, 3.0 litre SIDI V6 engine with flex-fuel technology
6-speed automatic transmission with Active Select
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) incorporating:
- Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
- Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
- Electronic Brake Assist (EBA)
- Traction Control System (TCS)
6 airbags including:
- Dual-stage front airbags for driver and front passenger
- Side impact airbags for driver and front passenger
- Side curtain airbags
Touch-screen Holden-iQ System:
- Enhanced Bluetooth®
- Radio with RDS display
- iPod® integration (touch-screen access for playlists, artist, albums, songs and genres)
- USB input
Special Edition Equipe pack features:
- 18″ alloy wheels (steel spare)
- Rear view camera
- Rear park assist
- Leather appointed seat trim
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Front foglamps with chrome accent
- Chrome accented front grille treatment
- Chrome accented rings on instrument cluster
- Decklid chrome eyebrow moulding (sedan only)
- Rear cargo blind (Sportwagon only)
- Equipe badge
*Extra value based on recommended retail price of extras and discount
In keeping with Holden’s strategy of continuous improvement, the design team has added extra embellishment to enhance VE Commodore’s classic exterior design and rear-wheel drive proportions for the new model year.
Selected models receive chrome accents to highlight the Series II front fascia, while Omega is fitted with new 16” seven-spoke alloy wheels. A new lip spoiler enhances the styling of the luxury range-topping Calais V.
The extra embellishment extends to the cabins of Berlina and Commodore sports range with silver stitching added to complement the optional Onyx and Razor leather interior trim.
SS V models fitted with the optional Redhot interior trim gain additional Redhot stitching on the seats and door trims.
The Holden iQ multimedia system has been updated for compatibility with the latest smartphones and offers improved Bluetooth functionality.
The advanced handling dynamics of Holden’s popular SS V Redline Edition are even more appealing with Holden’s track-inspired FE3 super sports suspension set-up now standard across all three body styles – sedan, Sportwagon and Ute.
Positioned at the top of Holden’s sports performance range, the SS V-Series Redline Edition also gains new-look forged and polished 19-inch alloy wheels, to complement the Brembo 4-piston front brake callipers, which are now painted in Holden red.
The multi-award-winning VE Commodore continues to make a strong and dramatic design statement. Holden has embelished the Commodore range with subtle design enhancements to distinguish the new range for MY12.
Interior and exterior design enhancements across the range include:
- New seven-spoke 16” alloy wheels
- New chrome-highlighted lower outboard fascia inserts
Builds on Omega features with –
- New unique chrome-highlighted fog lamp surrounds
- New interior silver seat stitching to complement the Razor/Onyx leather fabric trim option
- New sedan lip spoiler
(also available as an accessory across the remaining sedan line-up)
Commodore SV6 and SS
- New chrome-highlighted lower air dam and front grille surround
- New interior silver stitching on seat and door trims with Razor/Onyx leather trim
Commodore SS V-Series
Builds on SV6 and SS features with –
- Additional chrome-accented lower outboard inserts
- Redhot interior stitching on seats and door trim for models featuring the Redhot interior trim (only available with Redhot, Phantom and Alto Grey exterior colours)
Builds on SS V only, with –
- FE3 performance tuned-suspension added to Sportwagon and Ute – now available across all three Commodore body styles
- New 10-spoke 19” polished and forged alloy wheels
- New red-painted Brembo 4-piston front brakes
The VE MY12 colour palette features 11 choices, including two new colours. The new colours are:
- Perfect Blue – a bright solid blue based on Brock’s Formula Blue
- Chlorophyll – a metallic teal
Carryover colors include:
- Alto Grey –mid-toned grey with silver highlights
- Hazard – head turning bright solid yellow
- Mirage Glow – a light, soft and luxurious beige
- Sizzle – bright metallic red
- Heron – solid white
- Karma – an architectural blue with metallic highlights
- Nitrate – a classic silver metallic
- Phantom – metallic black with silver highlights
- Red Hot – highly chromatic solid red
The new colours, named Perfect Blue and Chlorophyll, have been designed by Holden’s Port Melbourne-based Colour and Trim team to adorn its local sports line-up for the new manufacturing year, MY12.
Holden’s classic new Perfect Blue exterior colour pays homage to Australian motorsport legend Peter ‘Perfect’ Brock and his famous Formula Blue HDT Group A VK SS Commodore, which became an instant collectible when it was launched in 1985.
Working from the original paint chip from Holden’s extensive design archive, Holden Colour and Trim’s Charlene Spiteri designed a cleaner, brighter reinterpretation of Formula Blue using new paint and colour technologies. The result is a restyled blue which retains the solid appearance of the original paint with subtle metallic highlights at close range.
Holden Chief Designer Sharon Gauci said Holden had a unique relationship with Peter Brock during his 40-year motorsport career so Perfect Blue was particularly special.
“We wanted the colour to express that unique connection Holden had with Peter, who was an incredibly talented man and a fine ambassador for Holden. Peter left a lasting impression on Holden and our company heritage so Perfect Blue is our way of celebrating his achievements,” she said.
“Perfect Blue strikes a balance between matching the original and creating a new colour that’s sympathetic to the modern surface body language of Commodore and Cruze.”
Chlorophyll, the second all-new hero colour for MY12, captures the fashion-driven trend for rich colours inspired by natural, environmental elements.
A sophisticated teal chromatic bright, Chlorophyll is designed with layers of colour that create an element of surprise and strong colour shifts as you move around the car.
Both Perfect Blue and Chlorophyll will be available on MY12 Commodore and the MY12 Cruze range launched later this year.
Holden’s home-grown heroes, Commodore and Cruze, were the highest-selling passenger vehicles in May, contributing to Holden’s total market share of 14.4 per cent.
Commodore retained its position as Australia’s favourite car for the fourth month in a row with 3,504 sales and 60.9 per cent share of the large car segment. The result also placed Commodore number one in year-to-date sales.
The increasingly popular Cruze became the second highest-selling passenger car in May and topped the small car segment for the first time, recording sales of 2,914 units.
Captiva rounded out Holden’s positive month with combined Captiva 5 and 7 sales topping 1,606 units. Captiva 7 led the Medium SUV segment with 1,010 sales and 18.8 per cent share.
Holden Executive Director of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales John Elsworth said Holden was happy with its May result and acknowledged the difficult circumstances many of the competitors were facing.
“After a slow start to the year and a challenging few months for the global and local car industry, May has been a positive result for Holden,” he said.
“Public reaction to our new and improved Series II range of models is pleasing, and we’re seeing strong enquiry and sales across a number of Holden carlines.
“It’s an exciting time for Holden. Series II Cruze sales are gaining momentum each month and the punchy 1.4-litre iTi powertrain and the new SRi and SRi-V sports models have exceeded our expectations.
“The work we’ve done to make Commodore even more family-friendly with clever multimedia technology and improved fuel economy has paid off and it continues to do well for Holden.”
“We’ve got a great product portfolio with the right mix to respond to customer requirements.”
According to official figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries today, Commodore was the number one selling vehicle in April with 3,075 units sold, accounting for 55.6 per cent of the large car segment.
The Holden Cruze star continued to rise in April as the first Australian-built Series II models were delivered to customers. Cruze complemented Commodore’s winning month with 2,582 sales, making it Australia’s fourth highest-selling vehicle and number two in the small car segment.
Customers have responded well to the combined benefits of fuel economy and punchy performance from the new 1.4 iTi Cruze, with strong demand expected to drive great results this year.
Increased supply of the new Series II Captiva range contributed to strong April sales of Captiva 7 (752 units), placing it third in the medium SUV segment.
Holden Executive Director of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales John Elsworth said Holden was well placed in the growing small car and compact SUV segments.
“We’ve responded to an extremely competitive market by broadening the appeal of core models like Commodore, Captiva and Cruze with a choice of fuel-efficient powertrains, a higher level of overall refinement and more clever features,” he said.
“Commodore remains the dominant force in the large car market and we’ve increased our share to 56.9 per cent year-to-date.
“Holden’s product renaissance over the coming 12 months is only going to strengthen the brand with the introduction of exciting new models like the next-generation Barina and all-new locally designed Cruze hatch just over the horizon.”
Australians purchased a total of 9,113 new Holden vehicles in April, giving Holden a 12.3 per cent market share and 38,628 year-to-date sales.
The figures show 45,956 Commodores were sold throughout 2010, cementing the vehicle’s status as the number one car in the country, a record unbroken since 1996.
Chairman and Managing Director Mike Devereux said Commodore was Holden’s longest-standing nameplate, and had become an Australian icon since the first vehicle rolled off the line more than 30 years ago.
“Commodore really resonates with Australians drivers, as it offers outstanding quality and value for money,” Mr Devereux said.
“It’s our intention for Commodore to be the country’s top-selling car for many years to come – we’ll do this by continually improving the vehicle to ensure it remains relevant for Australian motorists – as we did with VE Series II, when we added flex-fuel capability and the Holden-iQ system,” he said.
In addition to Commodore, the FCAI’s results showed strong sales across the rest of the Holden portfolio in December, with 10,444 vehicles sold, giving Holden a market share of 12.1 per cent for the month.
Across 2010, Holden sold 132,923 vehicles – an increase of 11.2 per cent from the previous year, and ahead of market growth at 10.5 per cent. This resulted in an overall annual market share of 12.8 per cent, second only to Toyota, with 20.7 per cent.
Mr Devereux said while Holden’s success during 2010 was spearheaded by strong Commodore sales, Cruze also performed well in its first full year in showrooms, selling 28,334 vehicles and cementing its place in the small car segment ahead of the launch of locally produced sedan and hatch versions this year.
“Our approach for 2011 and beyond is to have world-class, market-leading Holden vehicles competing in almost every segment, so customers can be assured of outstanding quality and value right across the entire Holden portfolio,” he said.