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Holden VF adopts Euro-chic trim

Trim and terrific: Holden has given the interior trim of the VF Commodore a more European premium feel compared to that of the VE.

Calais V chases luxury buyers with fresh colours and materials inside and out

11 Feb 2013

BLACK is the base ‘canvas’ for all upscale VF Commodore interiors, with a greater mix of lighter contrasts and fresh approaches to more traditional materials such as chrome and wood, as Holden attempts to increase the desirability and appeal of its facelifted large car.

For the moment, Holden will only talk about the Calais V revealed on Sunday, but much of the same philosophy is expected to apply most of the other models in range – including the Sportwagon and flagship WN Caprice – to help create a more international look in ‘Australia’s Own’.

Whether the base/fleet-market models and Ute versions receive the same higher level of trim and finish will be revealed in the second quarter of this year, closer to the VF’s June on-sale date.

Holden promises the newcomer is a concerted step forward compared to the outgoing VE.

“We really wanted to create an interior that is much more luxurious, with a higher sense of sophistication, than where we’ve been,” said colour and trim design chief Sharon Gauci.

“All our interiors have grown up. From a materials and colours point of view, we have been able to embellish all the areas of the interior, particularly the instrument panel.

13 center imageLeft: Holden colour and trim design chief Sharon Gauci.

“We’ve worked to determine what proportions we start to break up materials, how we layer, how we fit, how we integrate materials and textures in the instrument panel, into the door trim and into the seats, so we’ve got a very cohesive harmony with all of the elements in the car.” The VF Calais V – which falls into Holden’s sport/luxury classification – will be offered with two basic colour schemes.

The first will be dark-on-light with more traditional materials, and the second dark-on-dark using metallic highlights to mirror the varying preferences customers have in this end of the market.

“Calais V interior number one is a lighter interior colour, which uses black as the canvas, but we’ve grown the light mid-section to create a very European interior look with the light grey and black combination,” said Ms Gauci.

Wood trim reappears in a new way for a Commodore.

“There was a lot of debate about using wood (accents), so we incorporated wood as a cross-car decoration and into the door trims.

“But the wood is quite recessive. It is modern in its colour work, and it is modern in its grain type and selection.”

The way Holden employs chrome has also evolved.

“There is a lot more opportunity for us to embellish this interior with our chrome decoration strategy.

“We have two types of chrome in the car – one is a dulled ‘Galvano’ chrome for larger areas of landscape – and there is a brighter use of chrome in smaller areas, just to catch light and increase that sense of opulence in the interior.”

The second Calais V interior hue has a more coolly modern appeal, using darker material and some lighter titanium trim with matching stitching in lieu of wood, for a sportier appearance and feel.

Other changes in Holden’s luxury interiors include softer leather on the seat facings, with finer perforations and detailing, while suede-like Alcantara is now used on the instrument panel, doors and seats.

As well as looking good, black is most resistant to reflection when used on the top of the dashboard.

“We went to a lot of colour exploration and (explored) some very unexpected colour opportunities,” said Ms Gauci.

“We had some clinics, we got some feedback from the Holden Dealer Council, and noted that there was still a strong trend, and a strong desire, for black interiors.

“But we’ve treated our black interiors very differently (to before) with a lot more detailing, a lot more sophistication, and lots of layering. So it’s not just a solid black.”

The VF will launch with three new and seven carryover VE colours.

The new hero colour for the Calais V will be Regal Peacock, a colour with plenty of ‘travel’ according to how and where it is being observed that was devised to complement the new light interior hues, and designed to appeal to buyers who might otherwise choose more traditional silvers and greys.

Emerald Green also joins the range, designed to show off the chrome highlights on higher-line VF models, while ‘Fantale’ – a deep orange – reconnects with classic Holdens such as the Sandman, Torana and Monaro.

“Orange never goes off trend,” said colour and trim designer Kirsty Lindsay. “It just keeps reinventing itself.”

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