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    William Maley

    ...the final curtain call for GM's Australian operations...

    Nearly three years after ending local production in Australia, General Motors announced this morning in Australia that Holden will cease to exist by the end of the year. The move will see 800 jobs going away and the closure of the Melbourne design studio and Lang Lang proving ground. In a statement, GM International Operations Senior Vice President Julian Blissett said the company made the difficult decision to close operations after varying attempts to try and rejuvenate the brand.
    “Over recent years, as the industry underwent significant change globally and locally, we implemented a number of alternative strategies to try to sustain and improve the business, together with the local team.”
    “After comprehensive assessment, we regret that we could not prioritize the investment required for Holden to be successful for the long term in Australia and New Zealand, over all other considerations we have globally. This decision is based on global priorities and does not reflect the hard work, talent and professionalism of the Holden team,” explained Blissett.
    A source tells CarAdvice that the decision to shutter Holden took place over the weekend, and also stressed that GM had "every intention of reviving the brand following the end of local manufacturing."
    "Our intention was to turn around the brand ... there is zero blame to the local team," said the high ranking General Motors official. "This decision (about Holden) is all about investment priorities."
    The decision to close down operations in Australia will also mark the end of right-hand drive vehicles which comprised of Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand. GM has been pulling out of RHD markets for the past three years with the United Kingdom and India being some of the big ones.
    Holden hasn't been doing so well in sales since the end of local production. The past couple of years has seen the brand hemorrhaging sales as buyers went towards SUVs and smaller vehicles. A key example of the bleeding, the ZB Commodore only sold 5,915 units last year - a decrease of 34.6 percent.
    There will still be a small remnant of GM in Australia throigh a new sub-brand that will sell a select models from the U.S., including the Camaro and Silverado.
    Source: CarAdvice, CarsGuide, GoAuto, Which Car, General Motors
    Press Release on Page 2

    Holden Vehicle Sales, Design, and Enginnering To Cease in Australia and New Zealand
    MELBOURNE – The Holden brand will be retired from sales in Australia and New Zealand and local design and engineering operations will wind down by 2021, General Motors (NYSE: GM) announced today. Maven and Holden Financial Services operations will also wind down in Australia.
    GM International Operations Senior Vice President Julian Blissett said GM had taken the difficult decision after implementing and considering numerous options to maintain and turn around Holden operations.
    “Through its proud 160-year history, Holden has not only made cars, it has been a powerful driver of the industrialization and advancement of Australia and New Zealand,” said Blissett.
    “Over recent years, as the industry underwent significant change globally and locally, we implemented a number of alternative strategies to try to sustain and improve the business, together with the local team.”
    GM undertook a detailed analysis of the investment required for Holden to be competitive beyond the current generation of products. Factors impacting the business case for further investment included the highly fragmented right-hand-drive markets, the economics to support growing the brand, and delivering an appropriate return on investment.
    “After comprehensive assessment, we regret that we could not prioritize the investment required for Holden to be successful for the long term in Australia and New Zealand, over all other considerations we have globally,” said Blissett.
    “This decision is based on global priorities and does not reflect the hard work, talent and professionalism of the Holden team.”
    GM intends to focus its growth strategy in Australia and New Zealand on the specialty vehicles business and plans to immediately work with its partner on developing these plans.
    GM Holden Interim Chairman and Managing Director Kristian Aquilina said that given the significance of Holden through its history, it was critical the company worked with all stakeholders to deliver a dignified and respectful wind-down.
    “Holden will always have a special place in the development of our countries. As Australia and New Zealand grew, Holden was a part of the engine room fuelling that development,” said Aquilina.
    “Today’s announcement will be felt deeply by the many people who love Holdens, drive Holdens and feel connected to our company which has been with us for 160 years and is almost ubiquitous in our lives.
    “Unfortunately, all the hard work and talent of the Holden family, the support of our parent company GM and the passion of our loyal supporters have not been enough to overcome our challenges.
    “We understand the impact of this decision on our people, our customers, our dealers and our partners – and will work closely with all stakeholders to deliver a dignified and respectful transition.”
    Holden customers can be assured that the company will honour all warranties and servicing offers made at time of sale. Holden will provide servicing and spare parts for at least 10 years, through national aftersales networks in Australia and New Zealand. As required, Holden and its aftersales network will also continue to handle any recalls or safety-related issues if they arise, working with the appropriate governmental agencies.
    Impacted Holden employees will be provided separation packages and employment transition support.
    Holden will work with its dealer network on appropriate transition arrangements, including offering dealers the opportunity to continue as authorized service outlets to support Holden customers.
    Holden Customer Care is available to answer customer inquiries and all warranties and service agreements. Holden customers in Australia can call 1800 46 465 336 or visit www.holden.com.au; Holden customers in New Zealand can call 0800 465 336 or visit www.holden.co.nz.

    William Maley

    Some more changes could be coming to Holden

    It hasn't been an easy go for Holden for almost the last decade. Sales have been declining for the past eight years and buyers haven't been wowed by either the new Commodore or their growing lineup of crossovers. This has reportedly brought the vultures out.
    The Australian Financial Review reported yesterday that Inchcape, one of the largest independent vehicle importers has started discussions with General Motors about possibly taking over the importation of Holden vehicles. According to sources, the talks are going very slowly and there are "extreme sensitivities on both sides of the negotiating table." The talks will not include the transfer of Holden's engineering and design offices, along with the Lang Lang Proving Grounds. Inchcape has also hired one of the largest accounting firms to perform due diligence and looking into various scenarios. 
    The likely reason Inchcape is looking into this possibility is due to GM's restructuring plans. Already, the company has pulled out certain markets and is planning to possibly shut down various plants in the U.S.
    Inchcape handles the import and retail duties for a number of automakers such as Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen, and more in 32 countries. In Australia, Inchcape handles Citroen, Peugeot, and Subaru.
    "Under the leadership of [GM Holden CEO] Dave Buttner, who was appointed in August last year, we are turning around the Holden business, growing sales, re-engaging and re-energizing our distribution network and launching exciting vehicles like the all-new Acadia. We are fully focused on supporting Dave in building a strong Holden for the future, as it remains an important part of GM's business," a spokesman for GM told the outlet.
    When reached by CarsGuide for a comment, a spokesperson for Inchcape said, "We are always assessing a range of opportunities and initiatives in support of our Ignite strategy and we do not comment on speculation."
    Source: Australian Financial Review (Subscription Required), CarAdvice, CarsGuide

    William Maley

    They have too many sitting around

    2018 has not been kind to Holden. Sales have been stagnant and the brand saw its worst monthly sales of 3,927 cars in July. Market share has also been dropping to below five percent during the year. Now, the brand has halted production of the Commodore and Equinox in an effort to reduce a massive stockpile of vehicles.
    According to Wheels, Holden ordered way too many vehicles before it ceased local manufacturing in late 2017. But the past year has proven to be difficult with sales dropping and causing vehicles to sit in paddocks and holding yards, gathering dust.
    “The sales were going like that,” said Holden chairman Dave Buttner, motioning to the ground. “… and the tap hadn’t been turned off, so the production’s still coming towards us - and that horrified me as an old [product] planner.”
    How bad is it? Holden has only sold 3,621 Equinoxes through the first nine months of 2018. Competitors sell a similar amount in a timeframe of six weeks.
    “You have to be able to turn production down, but the idea is that you don’t have to do that often. This is a fairly unique situation where we allowed the stock to keep coming towards us. Being an old manufacturing guy I’m fully cognoscente of the burden that puts on a manufacturing plant," said Buttner.
    “We’ve had good cooperation from the plants but it wouldn’t be something I’d like to repeat on a regular basis because from a credibility point of view you don’t build it by doing that.”
    Holden has asked the Opel factory in Germany (now owned by PSA Group) to not build anymore Commodores until next year. It is unclear if Holden asked the same for the timeframe to the GM factory that builds the Equinox.
    How is Holden planning to reduce the massive backlog of vehicles? Motoring.com.au says it will not be through a fire sale.
    “I’m confident we can finish the year strongly. There is not going to be any fire sale. Or any increase in demonstrators. If we do that then we’ll get what we deserve. We want to start next year with a clean slate, start rebuilding and get on with the job,” Buttner told the outlet.
    We wouldn't be surprised if Holden does provide some offers to help move models.
    Source: Wheels, Motoring

    William Maley

    The Rear-Drive Commodore was a dead man walking longer than we first thought

    It was a sad day when Holden announced that the next Commodore, the ZB, would switch from its rear-drive roots that it had since it was first launched back in the late 70's to front-wheel drive. We have been wondering if this decision was made back in 2013 when the news first came out or earlier. According to a report from Australian outlet Motoring, discussions about possibly using the next-generation Insignia date back to 2010 and the final decision would follow a year later.
    “It was really a case of how many architectures could General Motors afford to develop, and how many different people wanted to use Zeta versus something like this (E2)," said Brett Vivian, Holden's director of engineering.
    “I think we took some strategic decisions back then to do fewer architectures and put more into them and make them deeper, stronger architectures and spend our resources that way.”
    A key reason Holden made the switch to the FWD Commodore comes down to the declining sales of the big RWD sedans.
    “I think there is a place for V8s and big cars, but it is increasingly becoming a smaller and smaller slice of the pie and at the end of the day we have to pay our bills and to do that we need volume to do that," Vivian explained.
    “It just wasn’t the place to place your bets and invest your money.”
    Vivian also dropped an interesting tidbit about the ZB Commodore. There was the possibility of a long-wheelbase version that could serve as the replacement for the Caprice/Statesman. But when the decision came down to end Australian production in late 2013, this idea was scrapped.
    Source: Motoring.com.au

    William Maley

    This includes the Camaro and Silverado HD

    No one was quite sure what would happen to Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) after the end of the RWD Commodore. Rumors abounded from a modified Colorado to the importation of the Camaro. We finally have some concrete answers.
    Today in Australia, Holden and HSV made a joint announcement of a new agreement between the two companies. HSV will now use their engineering talents that created some mad Holdens into expanding Holden's range to new levels, along with importing various GM products.
    “This marks a whole new era for HSV and Holden and I hope our customers are as excited as we are. HSV is moving beyond simply ‘hotting up’ existing models, and customers will see two product streams from HSV over the next few years. This is ‘Game-On’ in a very big way,” said Tim Jackson, HSV's managing director in a statement.
    Colorado SportsCat by HSV
    The first product of this new era for HSV is the Colorado SportsCat. Taking a Z71 Colorado, HSV adds a strut brace, enlarged anti-roll bar, taller and stiffer springs, new dampers, and forged alloy 18-inch wheels wrapped in off-road rubber. The exterior is more aggressive with a front skid plate, new grille design, alloy sports bar, and tonneau cover. Stepping things up is the SportsCat+ that includes an AP Racing brake package, an electro-hydraulic anti-roll bar that can disconnect to improve wheel articulation, and a more aggressive exterior.
    You may have noticed that we haven't mentioned anything about the powertrain. That's because HSV didn't make any changes to the 2.8L Duramax turbodiesel. It will still produce the same 147kW and 500Nm (around 197 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque).
    “The cost/complexity for a relatively minor power increase didn’t make sense. We did a fair bit of consumer research. For our traditional customers, it was power, power, power, but for dual-cabs it was about the overall package," said Jackson to CarAdvice when asked about why there was no power upgrade.
    “If this were a Commodore product, I would be concerned about not offering extra power. We thought dynamics was an area we could improve. And I think we’ll have the benchmark in on-road driving [in the light-commercial segment].”
    The SportsCar goes on sale in February.
    Chevrolet Camaro and Silverado HD to be Imported and Converted to RHD
    There have been a number of rumors about the Camaro coming to Australia for the past year so. GM kept their mouth shut whenever asked about it. But the Camaro will be arriving in Australia come next July. HSV will convert the Camaro to right hand drive.
    The Australian Camaro will be the 2SS featuring the 6.2L V8 and eight-speed automatic. HSV is hoping offer a six-speed manual version sometime later. Standard equipment includes adaptive dampers, Brembo brakes, 20-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, heated and ventilated seats with power adjustments, and a Bose audio system.
    That isn't the only Chevrolet model to coming to Australia. HSV also announced they'll be doing the conversion for the Silverado 2500 and 3500HD. Five variants will be on offer from the 2500HD W/T to the 3500HD LTZ. The only engine on offer will be the 6.6L Duramax turbodiesel V8.
    The Silverado HD arrives in the second quarter of 2018, while the Camaro goes on sale in July.
    Both the Camaro and Silverado HD will be wearing bowtie emblem, not an HSV one.
    Source: Holden, CarAdvice
    Press Release is on Page 2
    In a joint announcement, GM Holden and HSV today released details of the new agreement struck between the two iconic Australian companies.
    The new partnership marks a pivotal moment in HSV’s 30-year history in Australia and begins an exciting chapter in bringing a whole new breed of vehicles to customers.  
    The focus of the new agreement is to utilise HSV’s famed design, engineering, manufacturing and marketing skills across a broader range of product, giving customers access to some of the very best vehicles from across the GM empire.  
    Tim Jackson, HSV Managing Director, said it was fantastic to see the new partnership cemented between the two brands.
    “This marks a whole new era for HSV and Holden and I hope our customers are as excited as we are. HSV is moving beyond simply ‘hotting up’ existing models, and customers will see two product streams from HSV over the next few years. This is ‘Game-On’ in a very big way.”
    Holden’s Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Bernhard, said the new agreement was a pivotal step for both companies.
    “For a number of years, we’ve been talking about bringing customers the best vehicles from around the GM world, and today we’re proud to announce the next step in that strategy. Our partnership with HSV, utilising their world-class engineering and design capabilities, means we’re able to work together to bring the iconic Chevrolet Camaro muscle-car and the best-selling Chevrolet Silverado pick-up, to customers in Australia and New Zealand, not to mention the imminent launch of the exciting Colorado SportsCat. Today is a great day for Holden and HSV, but even more importantly, for our customers”.
    The first product stream will be what customers have traditionally expected from HSV, being centred around vehicle enhancement and extending vehicle capability beyond the existing Holden offering.
    “It is important that we continue to play a key role in enhancing Holden’s image in the market place, and potential customers can expect to see us going to work on enhanced products which are a natural extension of the Holden range – the SportsCat is a great example of this approach”, said Jackson.
    “Some of our traditional customers will expect more power, and if the opportunities present themselves, we will look to develop powertrain enhancements where it makes sense. However, we see an opportunity to appeal to customers by investing in enhanced vehicle specification and capability that really delivers a great driving experience and a competitive advantage in various segments. SportsCat is a great example of how we can deliver improved on-road and off-road driving dynamics, and combine a great new look with improved vehicle capability and versatility. The segment is about much more than drag-strip times,” said Jackson.
    The second stream of product to be offered by HSV will be the introduction of world-class vehicles from across the GM global range that would not have otherwise been available through Australia and New Zealand.
    The new agreement has specifically been framed to allow the parties to pursue those programs that make the most sense with consideration for brand development, market-based opportunities, customer preferences, and, of course, commercial viability.
    The company was, however, quick to emphasise that their overall goal remains unchanged: to create exciting products for niche customers looking for unique vehicles.
    HSV also revealed its intention to introduce a freshened logo concurrent with the introduction of its 2018 range.
    The new visual identity offers a more contemporary interpretation of the ‘Lion & Helmet’ that has adorned HSV vehicles, and represented the company, since its inception in 1987.
    “The current logo has served us well over many years, but as the business transitions to encompass a far broader array of product offerings, this new logo represents a new and expanded brand promise,” said Jackson.
    “The Australian market is shifting and, like Holden, we’re shifting with it. This subtle logo change helps signify a new era of vehicle availability from HSV”, he said. “But make no mistake, while it’s a new logo, our customers can expect the same uncompromising attitude to introducing exciting vehicles that Australian’s love to drive”.
    In terms of vehicle branding, Jackson also confirmed that the two Chevrolet vehicle lines will be marketed as just that: Chevrolets. “Our engineering involvement starts and stops with the conversion of the vehicles from left to right-hand drive. These are iconic Chevys to the core and we’ll let the famed bow-tie speak for itself”, he said.
    In respect of Holden vehicles that have been enhanced for new segments like the 4x4 space, those products will be designated ‘by HSV’ and wear the ‘Lion & Helmet’ in selected environments like on the front grille. “If we then take some vehicles further up the food chain, and both Holden and HSV believe the best branding approach for the vehicle is to receive the full HSV designation, then we will make that call at the time”, said Jackson.
    Playing to HSV’s niche design and engineering capabilities, the Colorado SportsCat features a raft of styling and chassis enhancements that will position it as the most advanced sports 4x4 on the market.
    To be available in two variants – SportsCat and SportsCat+ – the styling enhancements begin with radically modified exteriors featuring all-new fascias and grilles that, with the addition of LED fog lamps and functional tow hooks, combine to deliver two distinctive and sporty front-end appearances.
    The SportsCat+ features a rugged “bonnet bulge” while at the side of the vehicle, prominent wheel arch fender flares, smooth-form on SportsCat and casselated on SportsCat+, frame bold 18” x 10” forged alloys wrapped in sports all-terrain Cooper tyres.
    A stylish hard tonneau, with load-rail provision and quick-release mechanism, combined with a unique sports-bar on SportsCat and sail plane on SportsCat+, enhance the vehicles’ sporty profile, while at the rear, a prominent “Colorado” tailgate applique’ makes a bold statement.
    The styling enhancements don’t end with the exteriors of the vehicles. The interior also comes in for a substantial make-over to deliver premium levels of comfort and style.
    SV Sports seats, the front heated, featuring uniquely designed seat foams for optimum support, are wrapped in Jasmine leather and Windsor suede, with this trim combination also adorning the instrument panel. Twin-needle red stitching provides an added highlight, also featuring on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, door trims and centre console cover. Branded floor mats complete the interior style and comfort make-over.  
    From a chassis perspective, the modifications are marked and deliver the SportsCat’s unique driving dynamics.
    Both SportsCat models feature HSV Sports Suspension with the front spring rate stiffened to 110 Newtons/mm. Its MTV dampers have been tuned around the revised spring rate, with both modifications contributing to a more performance-based handling characteristic.
    In addition to the increased spring rate, front ride height has been lifted by 25mm. This modification further improves the approach angle of the vehicle, increases ground clearance to the body and reduces the vehicle’s overall rake, delivering a more natural on-road stance.
    The chassis enhancements continue with the adoption of a Rear De-Coupling Anti-Roll Bar on the SportsCat+. Developed specifically for the vehicle by HSV’s chassis engineers, the de-coupling rear sway bar improves the higher speed road driving performance of the vehicle by controlling rear roll, and thereby improving overall vehicle balance and turn-in transient response. The de-coupling feature ensures the vehicle’s suspension settings can be optimised for off-road performance.
    SupaShock suspension, as introduced to the Australian market on HSV’s iconic GTSR W1, will also be available as a factory-fitted option on the SportsCat+, taking the vehicle’s suspension capabilities to another level yet again.
    SportsCat+ also adopts a unique braking package, further enhancing its sporting credentials. Front 4-piston forged AP Racing brake callipers are complemented by 362mm x 32mm diameter rotors and a large (25.4mm) diameter brake master cylinder, to deliver improved pedal feel through a reduction in pedal travel and softness.
    The functionality of the vehicle’s Traction Control System has also been adjusted to allow for less aggressive interventions, particularly on corner exit. These adjustments also help deliver a more performance-based vehicle response.
    SportsCat’s stylish 18” forged alloys are wrapped in Cooper (Zeon LTZ Pro) Sports All-Terrain tyres. These Cooper tyres are a hybrid between a sports-truck tyre and an all-terrain tyre and, in addition to their rugged off-road properties, were specially selected by HSV’s chassis engineers for their outstanding on-road performance characteristics, most notably on tarmac and dirt roads. The overall size of the tyres (285/60 R18), and their rolling radius, also delivers a further 20mm increase in vehicle ride height for a total (front) ride height increase of 45mm.
    In commenting on the engineering enhancements, HSV’s Engineering Director, Joel Stoddart, said “We set ourselves some pretty aggressive targets heading into the SportsCat program. We wanted to set the bench-mark for on-road performance without compromising the vehicle’s off-road capabilities. In fact, we’ve managed to improve the vehicle’s off-road performance, so I’m confident the team has delivered on both counts”.
    In addition to the styling and engineering enhancements developed by HSV on the new SportsCat range, the vehicle also carries over a raft of core vehicle features that help complete the premium offering.
    From a performance perspective, both SportsCat models are powered by a 2.8 litre double overhead cam Duramax Turbo Diesel engine that offers 147kW of power and up to 500Nm of torque when specified with the optional 6-speed automatic transmission with Active Select. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard fare.
    Braked towing capacity of 3,500kg and a maximum payload of approximately 1 tonne deliver impressive workhorse capabilities.
    The stylish HSV modifications to the interior also complement a breadth of already impressive driver and cabin comforts and technologies including an 8” colour touch screen, embedded Satellite Navigation, a premium 7-speaker audio, a rear-view camera and seven airbags.
    Said HSV’s Managing Director, Tim Jackson, “Most 4x4’s Pick-Ups are inherently capable off-road – essentially, it’s a category expectation, and we’ll certainly be amongst the best-in-class in this regard, especially with our added ride height and Cooper tyre package. But what we also wanted to do with the SportsCat program was dial up the vehicle’s on-road characteristics, given that’s where most people tend to spend the bulk of their time driving their vehicle. With our unique suspension packages and AP Racing brakes combined with the interior and exterior comfort and styling enhancements we’ve made, we’re confident we’ve developed Australia’s most stylish and advanced sports 4x4”.
    The SportsCat range is due to start production at HSV’s new facility in Clayton, Victoria, late January, with Recommended Retail Pricing to be confirmed closer to model availability.
    For over 100 years, Chevrolet has forged an enviable reputation for building strong and dependable “full-size” pick-up trucks, and HSV has committed to bringing their pinnacle model – the Silverado – to Australia and New Zealand.
    Power, payload and towing capability are what Silverado is famous for and all these attributes will be reflected in the five-model 4x4 Crew Cab line-up that HSV will offer:
    2500HD WT 2500HD LTZ 2500HD LTZ “Midnight” Edition 2500HD LTZ “Custom Sport” Edition 3500HD LTZ All five vehicles share the same impressive heavy-duty equipment including:
    Duramax 6.6L Turbo Diesel V8 engine ~332kW of power ~1,234 Nm of torque Allison 1000 6-speed automatic transmission Towing capacity of ~3.5 – ~6.1 tonne (model dependent) Payload capacity of ~1,140kg – ~1,848kg (model dependent) 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes Automatic locking rear differential Said HSV’s Managing Director, Tim Jackson, “The availability of the Chevrolet Silverado range opens up some wonderful new opportunities for our business in a market segment whose potential is relatively un-tapped, and we believe has high growth potential”.
    “Whether it be the farming or mining sectors, those who need to pull a large caravan or horse float or simply those who want awesome towing and load carrying capability, Silverado is the pinnacle of the GM range”, he said.
    Conversion of the Silverado range will commence at HSV’s new production facility in April 2018. The 3500HD LTZ model will be available late in Q2, 2018.
    Recommended Retail Pricing is still to be confirmed.
    The Chevrolet Camaro defines performance and this legendary nameplate, in the form of the Camaro 2SS Coupe, will also be imported and converted to right-hand-drive by HSV, and available in 2018.
    The driving force behind the Camaro 2SS is Chevrolet’s 6.2L Generation V LT1 Direct Injection V8 engine mated to an 8-speed, paddle-shift automatic transmission and generating up to 340kW of power and 615Nm of torque.
    The vehicle’s Performance suspension provides a dynamic connection to the road with stopping power delivered by 4-piston Brembo front & rear performance brakes with fixed callipers.
    High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps and LED Daytime Running Lamps deliver signature front-end appeal while stylish 20”, 5-split-spoke alloys (8.5” front & 9.5” rear) are wrapped in 245/40ZR20 (front) and 275/35ZR20 (rear) Goodyear Eagle tyres. A rear stanchion spoiler and dual-outlet exhaust with bright tips add aggression at the tail.
    The interior of the Camaro 2SS delivers the perfect marriage of form and function. It starts with power-adjustable heated and ventilated leather-trimmed front sports bucket seats for optimum comfort and support, complemented by a leather-wrapped, flat-bottom sports-profile steering wheel for ultimate grip.
    Dual zone automatic climate control, a 9-speaker Bose premium audio and 24 colour interior spectrum lighting enhance interior ambience while the Head-up Display, Drive Mode Selector and Enhanced Driver Information Centre blend exhilaration with innovation. 
    Conversion of the Camaro 2SS is due to commence at HSV in July 2018 with Recommended Retail Pricing still to be confirmed.

    William Maley

    Some believe this could have kept local manufacturing going

    The Zeta RWD platform had so much promise when it launched with 2006 Holden Commodore. Plans were drawn up for a number of models that would have included a number of the GM brands, including Cadillac. But the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent bankruptcy of GM saw many of those plans go into the trashbin and would ultimately mark the beginning of the end of Holden's local production. We have learned about one of those Zeta projects.
    Motoring reports that Holden was working on a Zeta-based SUV that would compete against the Ford Territory, a model that used the underpinnings of the Falcon.
    “There was an SUV and that was probably one of the defining moments around global Zeta and it was probably one of the defining moments around Holden’s success in Australia,” said Mark Sheridan, former head of Holden's advanced vehicle design chief and one the key people behind the development of Zeta.
    “Ford made a really good decision around Territory … We looked at cars exactly like that way back on Zeta and the GM leadership at the time said no. They said ‘we can do these better and more efficiently because they are the types of cars we do, off North American architectures rather than the Zeta architecture.”
    Sadly, General Motors would not build that SUV for Holden. Insiders at Holden believed that if the project was allowed to continue, it might have helped keep local manufacturing.
    “That (Zeta SUV) would have given us a portfolio that would have given us a much bigger stretch across the marketplace and that would have given people a choice,” Sheridan said.
    “If that had been allied with the Zeta architecture or something that we manufactured in Adelaide, then Adelaide wouldn’t have had the volume issues and the productivity issues and the cost issues it had.”
    This isn't the first story of a Holden project being canned. As we reported last year, there was a secret project for an electric supercar that could rival the Bugatti Veyron in terms of performance.
    Source: Motoring

    William Maley

    69 Years and 7,687,675 Vehicles Built

    At 10:45 AM this morning at Holden's Elizabeth plant in South Australia, the final Australian-built vehicle rolled down the assembly line - a VF II SS V Redline complete with six-speed manual. The vehicle marked the end of 69 years of Holden production in Australia with 7,687,675 vehicles built. It also marks the end of Australian car production with Ford ending theirs last year and Toyota wrapping up a few weeks ago.
    Holden held a private ceremony at the plant for the 945 workers where they saw the final Commodore and three other models; Caprice V, SS Ute, and a Commodore Calais V V6 (the only model fitted with an Australian-built engine). The final four will become part of Holden's heritage collection and be shown at a heritage display on the Elizabeth site.
    “The passion and dedication of the team here is second to none, it has been an honour to work alongside them. In the final years of production, we have been building categorically the best-quality cars to ever roll out of this plant, and our last car was our best. Together we achieved a string of productivity and quality awards in recent times, doing so during the closure period is testament to the skills, professionalism and dedication of the team,” said Holden’s Executive Director of Manufacturing, Richard Phillips in a statement.
    “Right after supporting our people comes ensuring we set Holden up for success for many years to come. The best way we can honour our people and our heritage is by building a successful future and that’s exactly what we’ll be focused on when Monday rolls around. Today, however, is about paying tribute to the generations of men and women across Holden and our supply network who have given so much to our company. Holden is the icon it is today only because of these passionate people. On behalf of everyone at Holden, I thank you for your service from the bottom of my heart,” said Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Bernhard.
    Holden will still maintain a major presence in the country with a design and engineering center in Port Melbourne, the Lang Lang Proving Grounds in Victoria, and a sales office. Holden is also planning a major product offensive with 24 new products to be launched by 2020, including a rumored Camaro. But there are concerns about the long-term ramifications of the loss of Australian manufacturing, along with whether or not Holden can make any inroads with this ambitious product plan.
    “It’s probably going to be an emotional day. It’s not the easiest thing, but life will go on,” said Kane Butterfield, a paint shop worker at the plant to Drive.com.au.
    “It’s pretty tragic really that we’ve let go one of the best cars around the world. It’s an absolute tragedy.”
    Author's Note: Wheels Magazine has a live blog chronicling the final day of production at Elizabeth which you can check out here. Also, you can see our review of the 2015 Chevrolet SS here.
    Source: CarAdvice, Drive.com.au, Motoring, News.com.au, Wheels Magazine, Holden
    Press Release is on Page 2
    Holden honours 69 years of local manufacturing, culminating in more than 7.6 million vehicles built for Australia and the world   Company pays tribute to the generations of people within Holden and the supply chain who helped build a legend Holden to honour that legacy by building a bright future in Australia; company retains 1000 direct staff plus 6000 people across 200-strong national dealer network Lion brand to retain world-class Design and Engineering teams working on local and global programs; retention of Lang Lang Vehicle Proving Ground ensures Holdens will always drive and feel like Holdens should New vehicle onslaught continues with ongoing commitment to launch 24 new products by 2020, completely transforming Holden showrooms  Holden’s world-class transition program has resulted in 85% of Holden workers to date successfully transitioning, setting a new benchmark in the industry  GM Holden today celebrated nearly 70 years of proud manufacturing heritage with the final Holden Commodore rolling off the Elizabeth line today at 10.45am (Adelaide time). A private ceremony for employees was held today to mark Holden’s proud manufacturing history and pay tribute to the generations of hard-working men and women who literally built the Holden legend.
    From the very first Holden 48-215 to roll off the Fishermans Bend production line on 29 November 1948, to the final VFII Commodore Redline to come out of the Elizabeth factory on 20 October 2017, Holden has been a part of the fabric of Australia and that’s an honoured position that the Lion brand is committed to keeping for many years to come.
    Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Bernhard, said: “Treating our people with dignity and respect was always our number one priority during this transition and we’re all proud we were able to achieve that, we see it as recognition of their dedicated service over the years. With 85 per cent of all workers to date successfully transitioning, we’ve worked closely with our people to support them.
    “Holden also appreciates the partnership and assistance of the state and federal governments, along with the unions, over many years.
    “Right after supporting our people comes ensuring we set Holden up for success for many years to come. The best way we can honour our people and our heritage is by building a successful future and that’s exactly what we’ll be focused on when Monday rolls around.
    “Today, however, is about paying tribute to the generations of men and women across Holden and our supply network who have given so much to our company. Holden is the icon it is today only because of these passionate people. On behalf of everyone at Holden, I thank you for your service from the bottom of my heart,” said Mr Bernhard.
    Holden’s award-winning employee transition centre will remain open on the Elizabeth site for at least two years’ post factory-closure to ensure all Holden and supply chain employees have the best possible chance to successfully transition.
    Holden’s Executive Director of Manufacturing, Richard Phillips, paid tribute to the people and achievements of the Elizabeth plant: “The passion and dedication of the team here is second to none, it has been an honour to work alongside them. In the final years of production, we have been building categorically the best-quality cars to ever roll out of this plant, and our last car was our best. Together we achieved a string of productivity and quality awards in recent times, doing so during the closure period is testament to the skills, professionalism and dedication of the team.”
    Looking to the future, Holden will remain a diversified business and a powerhouse of the Australian automotive industry for many years to come. Employing approximately 1000 direct employees in Melbourne and across national zone offices, Holden will also retain its highly-skilled Design and Engineering teams, working on local and global vehicle and transportation programs. This includes retention of Holden’s world-renowned Design Studios and the famous Lang Lang vehicle Proving Ground near Melbourne in Victoria.
    This is in addition to the nearly 6000 people employed across Holden’s 200-strong national dealer network, ensuring Holden’s customers are continued to be looked after and all warranty and spare parts needs continue to be met as they always have been.
    Over the past two years, Holden has outlined its future path and strategic priorities:
    Beyond October 20, Holden will continue to employ approximately 1000 direct staff and an additional nearly 6000 people across its 200-strong national dealer network. Holden will launch 24 major vehicles and 36 new drivetrain combinations by 2020. Holden will have a world-class and diverse SUV line-up, including the all-new Equinox hitting showrooms in November 2017 and the all-new Acadia SUV in 2018. The esteemed Commodore nameplate will live on in 2018. Holden will introduce a true V8, rear-drive sports car to Australia. We are building Holden’s biggest and best vehicle range ever: a true product onslaught. Holden is taking a leadership position with next-generation mobility technology through Maven and OnStar, and an ability to capitalise on GM’s leadership in electric vehicles and autonomous driving technology.    Holden will retain a Design and Engineering workforce of approximately 350 people beyond 2017, working on local and global programs.   Holden vehicles will continue to be tuned and tested for Australian conditions and customers with the retention of the famous Lang Lang Proving Ground in Victoria; Holden’s world-class Global Design Centre continues to contribute to, design and execute local and global product programs, such as the Buick Avenir and Opel GT. Home Ground Advantage, Holden’s $5 million / 10-year commitment to grass roots sporting clubs has been a huge success with more than 3000 entries to date.  

    William Maley

    End of the road for the SS nameplate, for the time being in Australia

    When the final Australian-built Holden Commodore rolls down the line next month, it will mark the end a number things including the end of the SS nameplate.
    “Calais stays, but SS doesn’t. Outside of that, we’ll let you know. We’re still six months away from launch,” said Holden director of communications Sean Poppitt to CarAdvice.
    “The only product that currently has it [the SS name] in Australia is the V8 Commodore. So when we stop making V8s, that’s when we stop the SS.
    That doesn't the SS name will never return on a Holden vehicle.
    “It’s a GM name, so it’s also used on Camaros and other performance vehicles. None of which I can comment on coming to Australia, but can I categorically say that you won’t see SS on a GM vehicle in Australia again? No,” said Poppitt.
    We also got some confirmation on a key piece of information pertaining to the Commodore and Buick Regal. Last year, we reported that the Insignia (the model on which the Commodore was based) couldn't take anything larger than a V6 engine due to the design of the platform. Speaking with Motoring, the lead development engineer for the Commodore David Johnson confirmed the tight confines of the platform.
    “We looked at it, in a lot of depth, but the architecture wasn’t designed for it. There’s just no where to put the turbos. It was a stretch to get a V6 in it at all,” said Johnson.
    Source: CarAdvice, Motoring

    William Maley

    V8's from America are possibly coming to Australia

    Those who crave a V8 model from Holden might not need to wait too long after the current Commodore finishes its run. Motoring has learned from sources that GM has given the go-ahead on sending the next-generation Corvette and current Camaro to Australia.
    The Corvette, which the report states will be the mid-engine model - will come as a right-hand drive model from the factory. The Camaro is a bit of a different story, however.
    According to Motoring, the Camaro will be converted to right-hand drive via conversion process done by Walkinshaw Group - the people behind Holden Special Vehicles (HSV). Walkinshaw Group boss Ryan Walkinshaw and HSV's Tim Jackson were lobbying GM to back this project for a bit and it seems their efforts may have paid off. Mark Reuss, Executive Vice President of GM's global development and former head of Holden is said to be a fan of this project.
    Why did Walkinshaw want GM's backing? This will give them discount pricing on Camaros they bring in. The report says Walkinshaw is aiming for sub-$90,000 AUD (about $71,000) pricetag for a high-spec SS version. 
    Holden and HSV Dealers have been allegedly told about this plan.
    HSV declined to comment on this report, but sources say an announcement is imminent. 
    This could be only for the current generation Camaro. As reported back in March, GM is working on a right-drive version of the next-generation Camaro - due in 2021.
    Source: Motoring.com.au

    William Maley

    A big change is possibly afoot at HSV

    Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) has been the creator of some of the maddest Holden performance vehicles like the GTSR W1 which features a 6.2L supercharged V8 with 636 horsepower. But the HSV name could be a thing of the past.
    CarAdvice has learned that HSV will be changing its name to Walkinshaw beginning next year. This information first was revealed by a source earlier in the year and was confirmed by three HSV dealers this week. This change means future HSV products will wear the Walkinshaw nameplate - possibly beginning with the Colorado pickup.
    HSV was established back in 1987 as a joint-venture between Holden and Tom Walkinshaw Racing. This replaced the Holden Dealer Team (HDT) special vehicle operation being run by famed Australian racing driver Peter Brock.
    The name change could also hint that the company could import other models from the GM portfolio such as the Camaro and Corvette.
    Source: CarAdvice

    William Maley

    Thanks Holden for letting us have the chance to experience the Commodore

    Today, Holden built the last Chevrolet SS that is currently en-route to the U.S. This marks the end of Holden's export program for the Commodore for the U.S.
    The model in question was finished in black and comes paired with a six-speed manual. A Holden spokesperson told Motor and Motoring that the buyer of the SS had a special request for the vehicle.
    “Just as the vehicle was being produced, the Holden manufacturing team received a request from a US customer, asking the manufacturing employees to sign their Chevrolet SS.”
    The employees at Holden's Elizabeth manufacturing plant were happy to oblige, putting their signatures under the hood and on the deck lid carpets.
    Since 2014, Holden exported 12,953 SS sedans to the U.S. under the export program. The Caprice PPV which has been available since 2011 only saw 7,305 models exported.
    Source: Motor, Motoring.com.au

    William Maley

    Pick a number, any number

    Holden is doing something quite special for buyers of the final Australian-built Commodore. CarAdvice got their hands on an email sent from a Holden dealer showing that customers will have the chance to pick a build number on a first come, first serve basis for the Commodore.
    Here is how the ordering process will work:
    On April 10th, eligible customers will get a test email from Holden to make sure they have the correct email. A week before May 3rd, customers will get access to a landing page along with login credentials On May 3rd at 12 PM, customers will be able to log in and a build number, 1-1200 for Motorsport 1-360 for Director 1-240 for Magnum All numbers will be on a first-come, first-served basis. This will last until May 10th. After this, the remaining numbers will be randomly allocated to owners who didn't pick a number. We haven't heard about an automaker doing something like this before. But it shows that Holden wants to end local manufacturing on a somewhat postive note.
    Source: CarAdvice

    William Maley

    Australia could soon be having a Mustang vs. Camaro fight

    The departure of the current Holden Commodore means Australians will not get their fill of V8 muscle. But it seems help could be on the way from America.
    A new report from Wheels says the Camaro will be heading down under to give the Ford Mustang some much needed competition. But don't expect to see the current Camaro make the trip. Wheels says it will be the next-generation model due in 2021 that will do battle. This is due to the engineering work needed to do a right-hand drive version. 
    We know that that the Camaro team has been watching the Australian marketplace since the Mustang went on sale to see how it would do. Since the Mustang was introduced in Australia last year, 6,000 models have been sold. This is likely one of the key reasons GM decided to go forward with these plans.
    It should be noted there is a fail-safe to these plans. If the Australian market loses interest in rear-drive, V8 muscle cars, GM can pull the plug on this project as late as 2019.
    Source: Wheels

    William Maley

    GM is standing behind Holden despite the sale of Opel

    Holden was relying on Opel to help supply its upcoming lineup with models such as the Astra and Insignia rebadged as the Commodore. But with the sale of Opel and Vauxhall to PSA Group, the future of Holden's lineup hangs in the balance. But GM is still committed to the Australian brand and the sale of Opel should not have any impact in the near future according to GM president Dan Ammann.
    “What I want to emphasise is we are 100 per cent committed to the business in Australia and New Zealand, and we have a lot of exciting things in the pipeline. It’s going to be a really good period of time for the business down there,” said Ammann.
    "As a lot of you know there are a lot of people in the business at General Motors that have a lot of history and linkage to Holden and there's nothing we want to see more than seeing the business prosper down there. So we're really committed to making the business work down there."
    For the time being, Holden will be getting the Astra and Commodore from Opel as part of the deal between GM and PSA. Ammann did admit that decisions concerning long-term product plans for Holden are up in the air. 

    "So no specific decisions have been taken on that front. We have, I'd say as a result of yesterday's announcement, more not less opportunities going forward," said Ammann.

    "Clearly the current models that are just launching will run through their full lifecycle and what we do after that is yet to be determined."
    Source: CarAdvice , Drive.com.au, Wheels

    William Maley

    How does Holden Special Vehicles say good-bye to the Zeta Commodore?

    Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) has been the home to where some of the maddest Holden V8 sedans and utes announced their swan song to the Zeta-based Commodore with the introduction of their 2017 lineup which includes one being powered by the ZR1's LS9 supercharged V8.
    Before we get to that, let us begin with the 'entry-level' HSV models. Dubbed the '30 Years' range (30 years of being in operation), the eight models will see noticeable improvements in terms of performance and a number of goodies from the HSV GTS. Most models will see a slight boost in power of 13 horsepower and 15 pound-feet of torque for the 6.2L Supercharged LSA V8 to produce a respectable 550 horsepower and 510 pound-feet. The GTS keeps its 577 horsepower and 546 pound-feet.
    All models will get torque-vectoring and a reworked bi-modal exhaust system to provide more noise. The GTS' optional AP Racing brake package becomes available on all of the '30 Years' models.
    Next up is the return of the GTSR. Last used on VL Commodore from 1996, the GTSR takes the 6.2L Supercharged LSA V8 found in the GTS and gets slightly massaged to boost power to 583 horsepower and 546 pound-feet of torque. Six-piston AP Racing brake calipers pair up with cross-drilled two-piece floating rotors. Exterior changes include a new front bumper, wider front fenders, new diffuser, and rear wing. The GTSR will be available in the sedan or ute. It should be noted the GTSR sedan will be the only way to get Magnetic Ride Control.
    You have waited long enough for us to get the the ZR1 powered model. Meet the HSV GTSR W1. Under the hood lies the 6.2L supercharged LS9 with 635 horsepower and 601 pound-feet of torque. This will come paired with a six-speed close-ratio manual transmission. HSV called in Australian-suspension specialist SupaShock to set up a special fixed-rated suspension for the W1. This is said to mimic the Commodore race car in the V8 Supercars series. Before you panic, HSV says the suspension has been tuned in such a way to be somewhat refined for daily driving. A set of wide and sticky Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires feature a set of forged alloy wheels. HSV plans only building 300 W1 models.
    Prices for the 2017 HSV range begin at $79,990 AUD (about $60,681.23) for the Maloo R8 LSA and climbs to $169,990 AUD (about $128,956.15) for the GTSR W1.
    Source: CarAdvice, Wheels

    William Maley

    Why you could be seeing more U.S. models arrive in Australia with Holden badging

    As Holden transitions from a local manufacturer to importer, this brings up the concern of what kind of vehicles will be available to brand. Previously, Holden had a limited choice of vehicles to choose from due to the requirement of being right-hand drive. But now, General Motors is promising a larger selection of vehicles for Holden to choose from. This could open the door for various models from the U.S. and other countries.
    This change comes down to GM's vehicle architectures becoming more flexible and used globally, along with a new way of thinking as GM's design boss Mike Simcoe explained,
    “Where we see there’s a need to have right-hand drive, yeah. We’ll have the ability to make a choice but the architecture will accommodate left- and right-hand drive”
    “The reality is as we reduce the total number of architectures they are going to be more global. We don’t design a vehicle specifically for North America anymore, because you always get caught out if you do. The numbers of those is reducing,” Simcoe went on to say.
    A key example is the GMC Acadia heading down to Australia as a Holden - due in 2018. 
    That doesn't mean Holden will be able to pick any model they want freely. They still have to make a business case as to why they need a particular model.
    "I think it is looking at what are the global applications because in certain vehicles, like Camaro, there would be markets outside Australia and New Zealand, and understanding looking through it a lens of; does this make business sense? Does this make customer sense? Is it the right thing to do from a competitive perspective? So it's really a mix of variables that we take into account," said Lowell Paddock, head of product planning for General Motors International.
    Source: Drive.com.au, Wheels

    William Maley

    We now know the date of when Holden will end production

    We have known for a couple of years that Holden will end Australian production in 2017. Today, Holden announced that October 20th, 2017 will be the final day of production at their Elizabeth plant. This will end over 60 years of production at the plant.
    “While this confirmation isn’t a surprise for anyone and we’ve been working toward this for nearly four years, we can now confirm the actual date for our people and our suppliers. Putting our people first and foremost has always been our highest priority,” said Richard Phillips, Holden's Executive Director of Manufacturing in a statement.
    Before that date arrives, Holden plans on building 30,000 Commodores, Utes and Caprices at the plant. These will include some rumored high-performance models of the Commodore. Workers at the plant and suppliers were notified of the date the day before.
    “This October may bring to a close more than 60 years of vehicle manufacturing by Holden at Elizabeth but I know it will be business as usual for our manufacturing workforce until then – we have tens of thousands of world-class cars to build in coming months and I know we all want to see Holden have great success in Australia for many years to come," said Philips.
    This leaves Toyota as the only automaker who hasn't announced when it will end production in Australia. A spokesman told CarAdvice that a date would be announced before the end of the first quarter. Ford already ended Australian production last October.
    Source: CarAdvice, Holden
    Press Release is on Page 2

    Holden manufacturing continues until October 20, 2017. More than 30,000 vehicles to be built before manufacturing ends. Nearly 70% of Holden’s Elizabeth employees have secured jobs within 12 months of leaving. Holden to retain more than 300 designers and engineers in addition to 10,000 employees at Melbourne headquarters, Proving ground, Design Studio and across 230-strong national Holden dealer network. Holden today has confirmed it will continue manufacturing in Australia until October 20, 2017, when the final car will be built at its Elizabeth plant and Holden becomes a national sales company and vehicle importer for the long-term in Australia.

    Today Holden’s manufacturing workforce in Adelaide were the first to be told the company will fulfill its 2013 commitment to manufacture vehicles at its Elizabeth plant until the final quarter of 2017.

    Holden Executive Director of Manufacturing, Richard Phillips, said that Holden’s overriding priority is giving employees and suppliers advance notice and providing certainty.

    “While this confirmation isn’t a surprise for anyone and we’ve been working toward this for nearly four years, we can now confirm the actual date for our people and our suppliers. Putting our people first and foremost has always been our highest priority,” Mr Phillips said.

    “This October may bring to a close more than 60 years of vehicle manufacturing by Holden at Elizabeth but I know it will be business as usual for our manufacturing workforce until then – we have tens of thousands of world-class cars to build in coming months and I know we all want to see Holden have great success in Australia for many years to come.

    “Every day our employees exhibit professionalism and passion for achieving quality. We are categorically building the best cars Holden has ever built and that is backed up by internal and external data. They simply are a fantastic team that will ensure our last locally-made car is also our best car ever.”

    Holden has assembled vehicles for domestic and export markets at the Elizabeth plant since 1963 and will continue to manufacture the world-class Holden Commodore range there until October 20, with nearly 1000 employees remaining at the Elizabeth plant in production, engineering and support roles until production ends. There are no plans for any further workforce reductions ahead of October 20.
    Of the nearly 700 people who have left Holden’s Elizabeth plant since 2015, 80 per cent have successfully transitioned within 12 months of leaving (69 per cent employed, 5 per cent in training, 3 per cent have retired and 3 per cent are volunteering).
    Holden’s Transition Support program will continue to prepare job seekers for new careers and support those opting for retirement until well after the factory closes.

    During 2016, the Elizabeth plant was recognised with two awards for safety and financial performance within General Motors International.

    All Holden employees leaving the business have access to a suite of transition services and up to $3000 in approved training and $500 for financial advice - all part of Holden’s $15 million contribution to the federal government-led Growth Fund for specific support of automotive manufacturing employees.

    Holden’s Transition Centre was opened at its Elizabeth plant in 2014 to provide a range of support services including information sessions, workshops, career counselling, employment expos, resume writing, interview skills preparation and more.

    Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Bernhard, said Holden’s manufacturing workforce had set new benchmarks for quality and performance in the past four years.

    “They have continually pushed to improve the quality of their work for the benefit of our customers – this commitment, continuous improvement attitude and passion have been exhibited in spades in challenging circumstances,” Mr Bernhard said.

    “It’s not surprising that their skills, work ethic and flexibility are highly sought after and they are leaving a legacy for Holden that deserves to be honoured by ensuring this company has a bright and successful future.

    “Holden continues to change but we are proud to retain a significant presence in Australia for the long-term that includes more than 300 people across our local design and engineering workforces, in addition to the approximately 700 corporate staff and 10,000 people employed across our dealer network. Holden remains committed to Australia and our customers for many, many years to come”.
    Holden Transition Support
    Holden acknowledges the impact the end of local manufacturing has on our people and their families, across the country and throughout the industry. We are doing everything in our power to allow our people to make considered choices and help them move onto their next opportunity. Every Holden worker leaving the business has access to a suite of transition services and up to $3000 in approved training; all part of Holden’s $15 million contribution to the federal government’s Growth Fund for specific support of our manufacturing and engineering employees. The Transition Centre established at Holden’s Elizabeth plant is open to employees, contractors and supplier employees. As a result of Holden’s world-class transition services, about 80 per cent of people who have left the business have gone on to find other work. This does not include those who chose to retire or made personal decisions not to seek work. Holden has proactively engaged with HR and business leaders in South Australia and interstate, who have toured the Elizabeth site and viewed the variety of skills and capabilities of our workforce. Employees who have secured another job have been able to access an early voluntary separation package, helping them to take up opportunities. Holden’s Transition Centre at Elizabeth opened in 2014, after significant research into global best practice and consultation with employees and partner organisations.
    Support and services for employees includes:
    Up to $3000 training funds Career counselling Financial advice and superannuation support Coaching sessions to develop individual tailored plans Information on career pathways, training providers and courses Industry information sessions Careers and training expos Computer training Jobs vacancy board Dedicated staff to help answer questions Resume and job application writing workshops Interview training Networking training Job search training Department of Human Services (representatives and self-service kiosks) Resume writing workshops NewAccess program (BeyondBlue/BeyondAuto)
    Future of Holden:
    Holden will launch 24 major vehicles and 36 new drivetrain combinations by the end of 2020 Holden vehicles will continue to be tuned and tested for Australian conditions and customers with the retention of the famous Lang Lang Proving Ground in Victoria, along with advanced engineering capabilities Holden’s Global Design centre continues to be based in Port Melbourne, contributing to local and global product programs Holden will retain more than 300 designers and engineers beyond 2017 This is in addition to approximately 700 corporate staff and 10,000 people employed across the 230-strong Holden dealer network More than one-third of Holden’s future product portfolio will be sourced from Europe; with vehicles also being sourced from North America and Asia The esteemed Commodore nameplate will live on from 2018 with Holden’s next-generation large car Home Ground Advantage, Holden’s $5 million, 10-year commitment to grassroots sporting clubs has been a huge success with more than 5000 entries since launch Holden has launched the biggest Capped Price Servicing Program in the country, covering every Holden ever built.

    William Maley

    Holden begins to talk about the next Commodore

    As we have known for a couple of years, the next Holden Commodore will not be a rear-wheel drive based model. Instead, it will be based on the next-generation Opel and Vauxhall Insignia. This model isn't due to come out till 2018, but Holden has surprised everyone by releasing key details about the next Commodore.
    Holden has been working with Opel and Vauxhall for the past five years on developing the Insignia for its duties as the Commodore in Australia. In terms of looks, Holden has not messed with or changed the Insignia's design. It will look the same as the European and North American models (Buick Regal). No sedan will be offered, only a five-door liftback and wagon.
    There will be two turbocharged four-cylinder engines on offer - gas and diesel. No displacement or power figures were given. We do know this engines will be paired with front-wheel drive. A 3.6L V6 producing 306 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque will power the flagship model - likely the Commodore SS. This will come paired with a nine-speed automatic and a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system. According to media reports, Holden pushed for the V6 and all-wheel drive combination for their requirements. There were rumors of the Commodore getting a twin-turbo V6 - possibly the twin-turbo 3.0L or 3.6L from Cadillac. But that isn't going to happen for a simple reason - it can't fit in the Insignia/Commodore's platform (E2XX). 
    Other key details about the next Commodore:
    The flagship Commodore model will feature adaptive dampers In most dimensions, the new Commodore is smaller than the current model Weight-wise, the new Commodore is 200 to 300 kg (about 441 to 661 pounds) lighter than the current model Holden will be doing their own ride and handling tuning program for the Commodore to better handle the roads and conditions that Australia offers Will the new Commodore be a success or tarnish a nameplate that has been around since 1978. That's a question that can only be answered in 2018. In the meantime, we have reports from various Australian outlets who were given the chance to drive two prototypes of the next Commodore. 
    Source: Holden
    First Drive Reports: CarAdvice, Drive.com.au, Motoring.com.au, Wheels
    Press Release is on Page 2
    Next-Generation Holden Commodore Is Coming
    First details of Holden’s next-generation Commodore revealed, redefining a four decade legacy First imported Commodore lives up to the legend; V6 flagship boasts 230kW and 370Nm, cutting-edge AWD system and 9-speed transmission   Packed with advanced technology: Active Fuel Management, adaptive suspension, torque-vectoring AWD, matrix lighting system, Apple CarPlay® and Android® Auto Extensive Holden Australian engineering development ensures next-generation Commodore lives up to the legendary nameplate with outstanding driving dynamics   Next-generation Holden Commodore on sale in 2018  Holden has today revealed first details of the all-new, next-generation Commodore ahead of its Australian launch in early 2018.
    Australia’s first look under the bonnet of the cutting-edge new Commodore reveals a car that will set new benchmarks in its segment for technology, style, practicality and driving dynamics.
    Headlined by the V6 flagship model, the first ever imported Commodore will honour the legendary nameplate by being the most technologically-advanced Holden ever. With a cutting-edge all-wheel-drive system channeling 230 kilowatts and 370 Newton metres to the road, combined with adaptive suspension technology, a company-first nine-speed automatic transmission and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, the next-generation Commodore is set to cement the iconic nameplate’s reputation for class-leading driving dynamics and on-road refinement.
    Based on General Motor’s new ‘E2’ global architecture, engineered in Germany and shared with the Opel Insignia, the new Commodore has also been co-developed under the expert and watchful eye of Holden’s Australian engineers to ensure the all-new Commodore continues a four-decade tradition of setting new benchmarks.  
    “Holden has been engaged in this program from the outset to ensure the next-generation Commodore lives up to its legendary nameplate,” said Jeremy Tassone, Holden’s Engineering Group Manager for Vehicle Development.
    “We know the first imported Commodore will come under a lot of scrutiny and we know we have a lot to live up to – this car delivers in spades”
    “Although we are remain in the early stages of the Holden development process, this is an absolutely world-class car. We’ve taken a precision-engineered German car and endowed it with Holden DNA. It drives like a Commodore should.
    “We’ve had our Holden engineers engaged in this global program from the outset and we’re continuing to do extensive tuning and development, racking up thousands of kilometers, at our Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria to ensure it’s got that Holden magic.
    “Of course, it helps that the underlying platform is absolutely world class! This global vehicle program, led by Opel in Germany, has produced a phenomenal base for us to work from. The genuinely cutting-edge all-wheel-drive system using active torque vectoring provides incredible traction and handling finesse. The key is what is dubbed the ‘Twinster’ rear drive module. Essentially, the traditional rear differential has been replaced with two individual clutches that not only save weight and improve packaging but provides virtually instantaneous active distribution of torque to the required wheel.
    “The overall system monitors inputs from vehicle sensors 100 times per second and constantly adjusts accordingly, it’s extraordinary.”
    The V6 engine with the all-wheel-drive system is a combination that the Holden team drove into the global vehicle program because we know our customers and this performance option is important to them. While it may not be built here, we’ll deliver a Commodore that our customers will love in 2018,” said Mr Tassone.    
    Commodore’s evolution reflects the transformation of the Holden brand and company as it moves to full-line importer of vehicles. But just like Commodore, Holden will remain a powerhouse of the industry and of the local motoring landscape. 
    “The next-generation Commodore will reset benchmarks in its class, as has every Commodore since 1978,” said Holden’s Executive Director of Sales, Peter Keley.
    “What Commodore will also continue to do is carry the family in space and comfort. Commodore will also race in Supercars from 2018 and continue to be on the road as police cars.
    “This next-generation vehicle is changing and bringing incredible technology and refinement with it but will continue to offer customers that quintessential Commodore experience they have loved for nearly four decades.  
    “With the first-ever imported Commodore, we’re delivering our customers an absolutely world-beating vehicle, with the space, practicality, technology and driving pleasure that Commodore has always provided. This is a different kind of Commodore to what has come before but lives up to the nameplate in every respect and will carry our heritage with pride.”
    Next-generation Commodore built in Germany on all-new, global E2 architecture shared with Opel Insignia Lightweight construction methods result in 200kg - 300kg weight savings compared to current Commodore Flagship model offers V6 AWD drivetrain with Holden-first 9-speed transmission V6 engine delivers 230kW / 370Nm while being incredibly efficient thanks to Stop-Start technology and Active Fuel Management 2.0T petrol and 2.0T diesel front-wheel drive models also coming to Australia Liftback and Sportwagon body-styles Cutting-edge, adaptive all-wheel-drive system with torque vectoring and twin-clutch (‘Twinster’) rear differential system Adaptive suspension Next-generation matrix lighting system Infotainment includes: Apple Car Play and Android Auto 8-inch configurable LCD instrument display, next-gen head-up display Pricing, specification, full details of driver, safety and additional infotainment technology to be confirmed closer to launch  

    William Maley

    The Acadia gets an Australian accent

    Please do not adjust your monitor. What you are seeing is a real vehicle. 
    Today, Holden announced five new and refreshed models that would be appearing within the next year. The big news is the GMC Acadia will be sold as a Holden starting with the 2018 model year. The model will be offered exclusively with the 3.6L V6 and the choice of either front or all-wheel drive. Why is Holden waiting till 2018 to start selling the Acadia? Holden will be doing a development program to ready the vehicle for Australian roads. The company recently did this with the updated Colorado and reviewers in Australia said it was an improvement over the old model.
    “SUVs are the fastest-growing segment of the market and we’re currently under-represented, but that’s changing, fastI ’m particularly excited, however, to reveal further details around our SUV strategy, headlined by the all-new, seven-seat Acadia. Alongside Trax, Trailblazer and another all-new global SUV that we’ll add to our portfolio soon, Holden will introduce four new SUVs by 2018. This puts us in a great position in the fastest-growing segment of the market,” said Holden managing director Mark Bernhard.
    The other four models are,
    Trailblazer (Updated and renamed Colorado7) Next-generation Astra Updated Berlina (Chevrolet Spark) Updated Trax Holden plans on launching each of the four models every month starting in October with the Trailblazer.
    Source: Holden

    Press Release is on Page 2

    Holden’s New Vehicle Onslaught Continues with Reveal Of Astra, Barina, Trailblazer, Trax and All-New Acadia SUV
    Holden reveals five new vehicles, including the seven-seat Acadia SUV and Astra small car at exclusive business briefing event in Melbourne overnight Acadia and Astra joined by Barina small car, Trax small SUV and Trailblazer SUV Acadia to launch in 2018, joins Trax and new Trailblazer, along with another all-new, yet-to-be-revealed global SUV in a complete overhaul of Holden’s SUV range From September 1, Holden to launch five new cars over the next five months  At an exclusive business briefing event held overnight at Holden’s GM Australia Design Studios in Melbourne, the company hosted the surprise premiere of five new vehicles, headlined by the reveal of the all-new, seven-seat Acadia SUV due in showrooms in 2018.
    Alongside the US-sourced Acadia, Holden revealed the all-new Astra hatch, Barina small car, Trax small SUV and Trailblazer full-size SUV to represent the next wave in Holden’s ongoing product revolution, with a particular focus on the critical and growing SUV segment.
    Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Bernhard, said Holden was now well underway in delivering on its 2015 commitment to deliver 24 new models by the end 2020.
    “From the September 1 launch of Colorado, Holden will launch five new vehicles over the next five months to accelerate our showroom revolution. This level of launch activity hasn’t happened at this company for nearly 15 years and signals our intent loud and clear.
    “We’ve already talked a lot about the all-new Astra hatch, the reigning 2016 European Car of the Year, joining our showrooms later this year and the new Barina is a beautiful offering to join the Spark in rejuvenating our small-car portfolio.
    “I’m particularly excited, however, to reveal further details around our SUV strategy, headlined by the all-new, seven-seat Acadia. Alongside Trax, Trailblazer and another all-new global SUV that we’ll add to our portfolio soon, Holden will introduce four new SUVs by 2018. This puts us in a great position in the fastest-growing segment of the market.
    “The vehicles we’ve revealed reinforce our commitment to introduce the finest global vehicles for Australian customers. The Acadia will be sourced from the US, the Astra from Europe, and the Barina, Trax and Trailblazer from Asia. Holden is in a unique position where we can provide our customers with the best of the best from around the GM world,” said Mr Bernhard.
    Pricing and specification of Holden’s new models will be released closer to launch.
    Trailblazer: on-sale October 2016 Astra: on-sale November 2016 Barina: on-sale November 2016 Trax: on-sale January 2017 Acadia: on-sale 2018 

    William Maley

    One of those great 'What if?' questions

    Automakers have a number of projects that never see the light of day. But sometimes, a shelved project will be revealed and cause many to wonder 'what if?'
    News.com.au reports a new book out next month says Holden was working on a top secret electric supercar that would have been faster than Bugatti Veyron. But this project was canned in 2008 as the global financial crisis began to take hold. The new book - Holden: Our Car - says Holden did the design and engineering work before presenting it to executives in Detroit.
    Images from a video touting GM's global design showed a Holden supercar with gullwing doors and profile similar to McLaren 570S. According to sources, the vehicle would pay homage to the Hurricane concept from the late 60s. The images made their way onto the web before being pulled down. Power would come from two electric motors and be paired with all-wheel drive system. The 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) time would have been 2.3 seconds.
    Holden is said to have produced a full-size concept in 2008 and presented it to a GM management conference in Florida a year later. The plan was to sell the vehicle globally as a Cadillac, Chevrolet, Holden, and Opel. Before the plug was pulled, Holden was talking with suppliers about batteries and other components.
    To this day, Holden has denied that such a car existed.
    Source: News.com.au

    William Maley

    Holden has a sports car to take the place of the Commodore V8 as their hero vehicle

    As the Holden Commodore and its variants ready for their final curtain call, there is the question of what would stand as the brand's hero car. Various GM executives have said the Australian brand would retain a V8 powered vehicle, most likely a sports car.
    The folks at CarAdvice were able to gleam a tiny bit of information about this new V8 vehicle. When asked if the sports car would compete with the Ford Mustang, Holden's executive director of sales, Peter Keley said it wouldn't.
    “No [when asked if the V8 sports car will be a Mustang competitor]. We’re not going to say anything specific about the vehicle. We are going to launch a V8 sports car and it will blow your socks off. We can’t talk specifics,” said Keley.
    'Blow your socks off". Big words for a vehicle that not much is known about. But Keley's answer has given us one big clue, it will not be a rebadged Camaro or be around the same size. There is talk about the Camaro coming to Australia if there is enough demand for it.
    We're going to put on our speculation hats for a moment and figure out what Holden has in store. Our guess is that Holden could do a successor to the Monaro coupe. Using the Alpha platform, the model would be slightly longer than the Camaro to have it stand-out from the Mustang. We would expect the 6.2L V8 from the Camaro with 455 horsepower and the choice of either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. We wouldn't be surprised if this coupe arrives in 2018 or sometime after.
    Source: CarAdvice

    William Maley

    A 600 horsepower, supercharged V8 in a Commodore?!

    The clocks tick down before the end of the rear-wheel drive Holden Commodore and Australian production. But Holden has plans to end it with a bang.
    News Corp Australia has learned that GM has given the go-ahead on Holden using the LS9 V8 from the last-generation Corvette ZR1 for special edition model. Producing 600 horsepower, this limited edition will be the fastest Commodore ever built. The sedan will only come with a six-speed manual as an automatic wouldn't be able to handle all of the power on tap. HSV will be tasked with building this fast Commodore. The total production amount is said to be less than 250 sedans.
    Holden declined to comment on this report.
    Source: news.com.au

    William Maley

    Holden Special Vehicles Looks To A Front-Wheel Drive Commodore Future

    With Holden transitioning the big Commodore from rear-wheel to front-wheel drive, there have been questions as to what will happen to Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) - the factory approved tuner that has created some of the widest performance vehicles in Australia - when this switch happens. Speaking with GoAuto, HSV's marketing and product planning general manager Damon Paull said they plan to continue working with Holden and the next Commodore.
    “We will certainly be looking to offer a Commodore-based product,” said Paull.
    “Holden has come out and said they are going to call it Commodore, whatever they end up importing. We'll certainly work closely with them to see if we can build a business case, which we are 100 per cent confident we can, that fits performance, design and innovation and fulfils customer expectation.”
    The next Commodore is expected to be a rebadged version of the next-generation Opel/Vauxhall Insignia and Buick Regal, and is expected to go on sale in 2018.
    If HSV is able to make a case, then we would expect something along the lines of the current Insignia OPC/VXR: twin-turbo V6 paired with an all-wheel drive system.
    Source: GoAuto

    William Maley

    The plan to save the Commodore and the Elizabeth plant is axed

    Back in December, we reported on the ambitious plan of Guido Dumarey, owner of the Punch International to buy General Motors' Elizabeth plant and the assets to the Commodore to build out a new range of rear and all-wheel drive vehicles in Australia.
    “Everything is planned. The next step is to inform all the parties with the right plan, and it happens next year. The announcement is that they will close in the end of 2017. In the first six months of next year we must work very hard to find solutions. Two thousand and sixteen is the key year. After ’16 we must not think about it, because all the programs have started to stop and it’s too late,” Dumarey told Motoring back in December.
    That ambitious plan has come to a halt. CarAdvice reports that General Motors and Punch International released a joint statement today stating that deal to keep producing vehicles at Elizabeth was “not possible in this case". The reasons are the same as to why Ford, GM, and Toyota are ending production in Australia; a lack of scale, high production costs, and a contraction in the supply base.
    Details of the plan and discussions cannot be discussed by either party due to a non-disclosure agreement.
    The joint statement is below.
    General Motors and Punch Corporation have undertaken and completed a detailed global evaluation of a proposal from Punch Corporation to continue manufacturing vehicles at Holden’s Elizabeth plant in South Australia.
    Both parties concluded that a viable business model was not possible for this case. Therefore the proposal will not be taken forward.
    GM and Punch have communicated on this decision.
    As discussions have been governed by a Non-Disclosure Agreement, neither party involved is able to discuss details of the proposal, nor the assessment.
    The challenges to domestic automotive manufacturing in Australia – lack of scale, high production costs, supply base contraction and increasing market fragmentation – persist and cannot be overcome for this business case.
    In particular, the wind down of the supply base following the manufacturing exit of the three existing car makers, and the critical production mass they represent, is insurmountable.
    GM thanks Punch Corporation for their proposal. GM will continue to consider Punch Corporation, along with other interested parties, to participate in the sale process of the Elizabeth plant and assets after GM ceases local manufacturing.
    Punch Corporation will continue to pursue other business opportunities in the Australian automotive sector.
    Source: CarAdvice

    William Maley

    The Plan to Save Holden's Elizabeth Plant and the Commodore (minus the name)

    The clock is ticking away before the end of the Holden Commodore and the Elizabeth in 2017. But Motoring.com.au says a Belgian Entrepreneur wants to buy GM's Elizabeth plant and the assets to the Commodore to build out a range of rear and all-wheel drive vehicles.
    In late November, Motoring first got wind of this plan. The person in question is Guido Dumarey, owner of the Punch Group (also known as Punch International). He has been working on a plan to buy the plant and all of the tooling since GM announced the end of Australian production and the Commodore.
    To understand why Dumarey wants to save the Elizabeth plant and all of the tooling, we need to set the stage. In the portfolio of Punch Group is a former GM transmission plant that was bought in 2013 and is now called Punch Powerglide Strasbourg. The plant produces the automatic transmission for the V6 Commodore. It is through this that Dumarey has developed an understanding of a number items and factors such the plant, the Zeta platform, and the support by the Australian government to keep automotive production going.
    The report says Dumarey began making inquiries about buying the plant and all of the tooling in 2013. In 2014, he began to meet with government officials to discuss his plans. It is believed that former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott wasn't interested in the plan. But with a new Prime Minster, Dumarey may get some interest.
    Now at the time of the first report, Dumarey decline to comment on the record about this plan. But as an aside, he said 'the project was at an early and delicate stage and bringing it to fruition would be a massive challenge.'
    General Motors said at the time they haven't been approached by Dumarey or his company, and any government officials.
    This brings us to December and Motoring's second report. They had a chance to speak with Dumarey and he confirmed his bid to buy the plant and the assets for the Commodore. He knows time is against him to buy up the assets.
    “Everything is planned. The next step is to inform all the parties with the right plan, and it happens next year. The announcement is that they will close in the end of 2017. In the first six months of next year we must work very hard to find solutions. Two thousand and sixteen is the key year. After ’16 we must not think about it, because all the programs have started to stop and it’s too late,” Dumarey said.
    Dumarey believes there is a lot of life in the Zeta platform for which a range of rear and all-wheel drive vehicles could be sold in Australia and elsewhere in the world. The name would be changed from Commodore as GM still holds the rights to it.
    “To me rear-wheel drive is premium," said Dumarey.
    “I think with the platform you have from Zeta… It’s the perfect platform.”
    Durmarey also revealed that he hasn't officially approached GM or Holden with a bid. Rather, he has been working with the government of Australia to gain support to help make his bid successful. This would explain why GM hasn't gotten a bid at the moment.
    But there a number of questions that still need to be answered. Would GM allow Durmarey to have the licensing rights for Zeta and the tools? How much is Durmarey offering? If he does get Elizabeth and the rights for Zeta, how long before we start seeing cars?
    We recommend reading both Motoring stories as we have only scratched the surface to this big and developing story.
    Source: Motoring.com.au, 2

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