Chevrolet Confirms New, Australian-Made SS Performance Sedan

U.S. showrooms will get Chevy version of V-8, rear-drive Holden VF Commodore.

by on May.17, 2012

Chevy confirms it will add this new Australian-made, rear-drive sedan to its line-up as the SS in 2014.

Chevrolet’s performance portfolio is about to get a bit bigger.  General Motors’ largest brand has confirmed it will bring a version of the new Australian-made Holden VF Commodore to the States where it will be sold as the limited-edition Chevy SS.

The long-rumored rear-drive, V-8-powered SS will reach U.S. showrooms in 2014, Chevrolet officials confirm.  But potential buyers will get a good look at the new offering ahead of time, the new model debuting at the 2013 Daytona 500 in its role as the maker’s new NASCAR Sprint Cup racecar.

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“As a passionate race fan and performance enthusiast, I am thrilled that Chevrolet will deliver a true rear-wheel-drive NASCAR racecar in the SS that is closely linked to the performance sedan that will be available for sale,” said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America.  “The Chevrolet SS is a great example of how GM is able to leverage its global product portfolio to deliver a unique performance experience that extends beyond the track. I am personally looking forward to driving it.”

The Chevy SS badge was first used on a production model with the 1961 Impala.

It’s the latest effort by GM to find a way to use Australia as a source of production for other markets.  Leading up to its 2009 bankruptcy it had lackluster success importing a Holden model for sale in the States as the re-born Pontiac GTO.  After the GTO was dropped Holden picked up production of the Pontiac G8 which continued until the troubled brand was abandoned after GM emerged from Chapter 11 protection.

But GM is under even more pressure to expand outlets for Holden products considering the relatively small Australian market and the high cost of building vehicles there.  Compounding the situation, however, has been the sharp in the value of the Australian dollar, which has roughly doubled against the American greenback since the middle of the last decade.

That’s likely to mean a fairly steep price tag once GM announces full details – and one reason why the Chevrolet SS will be sold here in relatively low volume.

According to a report out of Australia’s Drive magazine, the U.S. version will get a lightweight aluminum hood and undergo some design tweaks – such as less aggressive wheel arches – to improve aerodynamics compared to the Holden VF Commodore.

In its new role, the Chevy SS is likely to have one or more of the brand’s biggest V-8s stuffed under the hood of its rear-drive chassis.  That could include the 580-horsepower, 6.2-liter package in the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

For its part, Reuss and GM wouldn’t say much else about the new Super Sport, other than to hint, “The much anticipated Australian-built car will benefit from significant technology advances which enhance overall performance.”

The SS badge dates back to 1957 when it was first applied to a prototype Corvette race car developed under the guidance of the Vette’s spiritual father, Zora Arkus-Duntov.  It reappeared on a production car in 1961, an optional package for the Impala, then America’s best-selling automobile.  A grand total of 453 were built – getting a variety of upgrades including unique wheels and tires, a modified suspension, power brakes and a steering column-mounted tachometer – making the ’61 Impala SS a much sought-after prize among collectors.

The most recent model to get the SS designation was the Camaro, which made its return to the Chevrolet line-up in 2010.

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