Chevrolet, together with officials from fellow GM subsidiary Holden, has confirmed today that the Australian designed and built Holden Commodore sedan will return to U.S. shores as the 2014 Chevrolet SS.
A racing version will compete in next year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup season as the replacement for the Impala.
It will make its official debut at the 2013 Daytona 500 next February.
The production Chevy SS will also make its debut in 2013 before going on sale by the end of that same year.
The car will be based on the facelifted VF Holden Commodore due out in the Australian market towards the end of this year. Some subtle changes are expected for the U.S. version in the same way that the current VE Commodore was tweaked for its role as the Pontiac G8. Importantly, the new SS will be rear-wheel drive, finally ending Chevrolet’s 17-year drought for rear-wheel drive sedans in the U.S.
Speaking at today’s announcement, GM’s North American chief and former Holden boss Mark Reuss said, “I am delighted to say that Chevrolet will deliver a true rear-wheel drive NASCAR race car in the SS that very closely links the performance sedan that will be available for sale.” He went on to add, “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 well beyond the track and I am personally looking forward to driving it.”
Few details are known about the new VF Holden Commodore, though it and the Chevy SS it will spawn will both benefit from significant technology advances including innovations in lightweight construction and fuel efficiency. This is expected to include increased use of aluminium in its construction as well as more aerodynamic styling than the current VE model. Underpinning the cars is GM’s rear-wheel drive Zeta platform, the same platform found in the Chevrolet Camaro muscle car and the Commodore’s long-wheelbase cousin, the Caprice, which is already on sale in the U.S. as the Chevrolet Caprice PPV police cruiser.
Serving as Chevrolet’s flagship, the SS will likely be available exclusively with one of GM’s LS V-8 engines, with output coming in at more than 400 horsepower. Both six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are expected and further down the line we could see smaller V-6 engines offered. There have been reports that production of the SS may eventually move to the U.S. if the car proves popular, paving the way for some of the Commodore’s other variants, such as the wagon and El Camino-esque ute, to also be offered. Currently, the high Australian dollar rules out importing these models.
As for the SS name, which is short for Super Sport, Chevrolet has a long history of using the particular designation on high-performance models of some of its most enduring nameplates. The SS designation first appeared in 1957 on a Corvette prototype race car built under the guidance of Zora Arkus-Duntov with the plan to enter it in the Le Mans 24-hour race.
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