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    Holden Cuts 500 Jobs Due To Strong Australian Dollar


    By William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    April 9, 2013

    Holden is cutting 500 jobs due to the strengthening Australian dollar, which has caused country's labor rates to be one of the highest in the world.

    “I can’t control what central banks do. The value of the Australian dollar, and importantly the currency plays being made by other countries, mean that we are not competing on a level playing field,” said Holden managing director, Mike Devereux yesterday.

    The Australian dollar has surged 83% when compared to the Japenese Yen since 2008. This has prompted an increase in Japenese imports into Australia. This is further compounded by the rise in costs of plants in Australia. Devereux said this makes the operation “one of the most expensive, if not the most expensive” in GM.

    The job cuts will take place in two facilities: Holden's Elizabeth plant, where the Commodore and Cruze are built, and Holden's Victorian product development facility.

    These new cuts come five months after Holden announced 170 jobs would be cut for similar reasons.

    Source: Bloomberg, Drive.com.au

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Sad to hear this as I hate to hear any person loosing a job especially before the holidays. Yet as GM and others have learned here in the US, Labor rates kill the ability to have manufacturing local.

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    There was a mis-configuration with the Holden forum where news articles from the front page weren't getting posted. I fixed it the other day, so now all the old articles got dumped into the Holden forum all at once. This was from April 9th

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      "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

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      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.
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      "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.

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    • By William Maley
      Previous Page Next Page It was a couple of months ago that Opel/Vauxhall/Holden unveiled the brand new Insignia Grand Sport/Commodore to the world. Today, the three automakers revealed the sister model, the Insignia Sports Tourer/Commodore Sportwagon.
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      Wellness: Comfort and connectivity for driver and passengers
      The attention to detail is also recognizable in the passenger compartment. Headroom has increased by 31 millimeters, shoulder-room by 25 millimeters and space for the hips by 27 millimeters. Additional luxury is provided by the optional 1,400 x 860 millimeters panorama sunroof that stretches back over the heads of rear-seat passengers. For the first time, both outer rear seats of the Insignia are also heated.
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      Elsewhere, the premium, AGR-certified ergonomic front seats in the Insignia offer a unique combination of electric side bolster settings, massage, memory and ventilation functions while the heated windshield guarantees good visibility quickly on cold winter days.
      Top technologies: IntelliLux LED®, 360° camera, active Lane Keep Assist
      One of the highlights in every sense of the word is the (already) second generation of Opel’s innovative and award-winning adaptive IntelliLux LED® matrix light, enabled by new generation LED technology and further developments from Opel engineers. The Opel LED®matrix light now has 16 LED segments integrated into each of the very slim headlamps of the Insignia. The increased number of LED segments enables the various light patterns to adapt to the prevailing traffic situation even more precisely and the transitions between the multiple lighting patterns are faster and more seamless. To improve visibility even further while driving through curves on full high beam, Opel engineers added an innovative active curve lighting function to the new Insignia’s IntelliLux LED® matrix headlights. According to the steering angle, the light intensity provided by the LED segments lighting the inner of the curve rises to better illuminate the line to follow. Last but not least, a further, dedicated LED spotlight located within the low beam module provides additional illumination at full high-beam for up to 400 meters.
      Additional driver assistance systems include:
      Head-up-Display: Information on speed, traffic signs, set speed of speed limiter or navigation direction is projected onto the windshield and in the driver’s direct line of sight ensuring that the eyes remain on the road. 360° camera, which consists of four individual cameras on each side of the car. It enables a 360-degree bird’s-eye view and thus facilitates every parking maneuver. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which measures the distance to the vehicle in front and adapts the speed accordingly. ACC will initiate automatic emergency braking if the distance decreases abruptly. Lane Keep Assist with automated steering correction and Lane Departure Warning (LDW). Provides gentle steering wheel movements (and LDW alerts if necessary) to help drivers avoid unintentionally drifting out of their lane. Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The system uses radar sensors in the rear bumper to detect objects coming from up to 20 meters at 90 degrees from the left or right side behind the vehicle, a very useful function when reversing out of a parking spot with limited visibility. Pure fun to drive: Torque vectoring all-wheel drive and broad range of powertrains

      Driving pleasure and safety no matter what the conditions are guaranteed thanks to the Insignia’s new intelligent all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring – the most sophisticated in class. Two electrically controlled multi-plate clutches in the all-wheel drive system replace the usual rear axle differential, providing a much more precise power transmission to each wheel individually, no matter whether the roads are graveled, wet, icy or snowy. When cornering, additional torque is transmitted to the outside rear wheel, sensibly reducing understeering and enabling more precise control. The system reacts within a split-second of the accelerator being pressed, ensuring that the car remains more stable and easier to steer in every situation. In addition, the further improved FlexRide chassis provides the basis for excellent, situation-based driving behavior. FlexRide adapts the dampers, steering, throttle response and shift points (on automatics) independently or based on the modes ‘Standard’, ‘Sport’ or ‘Tour’, which can be selected by the driver. The new central ‘Drive Mode Control’ software is the heart and soul of the adaptive chassis. It continuously analyzes the information provided by the sensors and settings and recognizes the individual driving style.
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      Previous Page Next Page
      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Previous Page Next Page It was a couple of months ago that Opel/Vauxhall/Holden unveiled the brand new Insignia Grand Sport/Commodore to the world. Today, the three automakers revealed the sister model, the Insignia Sports Tourer/Commodore Sportwagon.
      Basically, the Insignia Sports Tourer/Commodore Sportwagon follows the same the design as the Grand Sport/Commodore albeit with a longer roofline. This allows for an increase in cargo space with 520 liters (about 18.3 cubic feet) on offer behind the rear seats and 1,638 liters (about 57.8 cubic feet) when folded. 
      Like the new Grand Sport/Commodore, the Insignia Sports Tourer/Commodore Sportwagon uses a new architecture that cuts 200 kilograms (about 441 pounds) from the curb weight. The Sports Tourer/Sportswagon will also get the torque vectoring all-wheel drive system and adaptive suspension. Opel and Vauxhall are keeping quiet on the engine lineup, saying the Sports Tourer will be available with a range of gas and diesel engines. As for Holden, the Commodore Sportwagon will be offered with two turbocharged 2.0L engines - gas and diesel - and a 3.6L V6.
      Opel will be showing off both Insignias next month at the Geneva Motor Show with sales beginning sometime later. Holden plans on selling the Commodore Sportwagon next year. The big question is whether or not Buick will get this variant. There have been rumors flying around that it would get this, albeit something in the form like the Subaru Outback.
      Source: Opel, Holden
      Press Release is on Page 2
      Spacious and Sporty: The New Opel Insignia Sports Tourer
      Spacious: 100 liters more trunk space compared to predecessor, kicking motion opens power tailgate Fun: Convincing driving dynamics, all-wheel drive with torque vectoring Impressive: Consistent dynamic line following example of the Monza Concept Protective: With Lane Keep Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking and more Bright: Latest generation Opel IntelliLux LED® matrix light turn night into day Connected: IntelliLink infotainment on Opel OnStar with hotel booking and parking information Cozy: Heated windshield, heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats Coming soon: World premiere in Geneva this March, order books open in February Rüsselsheim.  The all-new Opel Insignia Sports Tourer is in extremely good shape. It follows the sporty example set by a large coupé, is uncompromisingly spacious and offers exemplary safety just like a true flagship should. The second generation Insignia impresses with its breathtaking lines, a trunk volume that has been increased to 1,640 liters – over 100 liters more than the outgoing model – and high-tech solutions ranging from the trendsetting Opel IntelliLux LED® matrix headlights and ultra-modern driver assistance systems to the cool head-up display. In addition, the Insignia comes with Opel-typical first-class connectivity with smartphone integration which now offers a new Opel OnStar feature – the Personal Assistant which allows Insignia occupants to book hotel rooms and search for parking via an OnStar Advisor. The new flagship is also the first car made in Rüsselsheim available with an eight-speed automatic transmission, a 360° camera and intelligent all-wheel drive with torque vectoring. The new Opel Insignia Sports Tourer will celebrate its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show on March 7 and order books will open in February.
      The new Opel Insignia Sports Tourer is up to 200 kilograms lighter than the outgoing model – depending on powertrain and trim. This was mainly made possible by the use of lightweight materials and efficient packaging. Combined with the lower seating position of the driver it results in a noticeable increase in driving dynamics – never before has a large station wagon from Rüsselsheim been so agile.
      “Our new flagship is packed with ‘high-tech’ for everyone, with affordable technologies that make driving safer and more comfortable. Then there is the interior space! Whether for business or recreation, the new Insignia Sports Tourer meets just about every kind of transport requirement. In other words, it is the spaceship from Rüsselsheim! Finally, the driving experience – really dynamic! The car is much leaner than before and features the newest generation FlexRide chassis,” said Opel CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann.
      High-tech assistance systems: For more comfort and safety
      The new Insignia Sports Tourer comes with the same leading technologies already announced for the Grand Sport sedan. Most notably that includes the next generation of the adaptive Opel IntelliLux LED® matrix light system, which is even quicker and more precise than before. Features such as Lane Keep Assist with automatic steering correction increase safety even further. Furthermore, the new Insignia is the first Opel with an active hood. In case of a collision, the hood lifts up in milliseconds, thus increasing the distance to the engine and offering pedestrians improved protection.
      Inside, the optional AGR-certified (Aktion Gesunder Rücken e. V.) premium ergonomic seats with massage, ventilation and memory function ensure an even more comfortable ride. Furthermore, the two outer rear seats are heated – just like the windshield. The large panorama sunroof enables an unhindered view towards heaven. Obviously, Opel thought about comfortable and clean loading. The tailgate of the new Insignia Sports Tourer can be opened and closed by making a kicking motion under the rear bumper.
      Emotional eye catcher: Insignia Sports Tourer in Monza Concept skin
      The new Insignia Grand Sport already takes many cues from the athletic Monza Concept but this is taken even further in the new generation Insignia Sports Tourer. Although the exterior dimensions have grown slightly to 4,986 millimeters, the newcomer looks much more athletic and agile. The 11 millimeters increased track, the prominent grille and the Monza Concept-inspired headlights all add to this perception. The car’s stance is also emphasized by the wheelbase, which has been extended by 92 millimeters to 2,829 millimeters, and a front overhang that has been reduced by 30 millimeters. The Opel blade starting in the front door and sweeping towards the rear helps carry the eye from front to back. The chrome window blade dynamically flows into the LED tail lamps and gives the ‘low’, only 1,483 millimeter tall Insignia Sports Tourer an even more athletic appearance. The silver roof rails (standard in all equipment levels) help stretch the car, make it look lower and emphasize the high-quality design.
      The Insignia Sports Tourer’s kinship with the Monza Concept is especially apparent at the rear: The shape looks much lighter than before with the newcomer defined by clear lines. Together with the slim, slightly protruding LED taillights in double-wing design, they help the rear end of the Opel flagship to make a strong impression. The high-tech look of the Monza Concept thus becomes reality.
      Easy loader: Tailgate with an extra kick
      The next generation Sports Tourer not only looks more elegant and sporty, it is also more practical. The overhang between bumper and trunk is reduced, thanks to the neatly designed tailgate, which also makes loading easier. In addition, the width between the wheel arches has increased, which makes it easier to install bulky items such as a dog kennel. The same applies to the length of the trunk, which has grown by 97 millimeters to 2,005 millimeters with the backs of the rear seats folded. The new Insignia Sports Tourer thus offers a maximum trunk volume of 1,640 liters, over 100 liters more than its predecessor.
      In order to make loading as easy as possible, the tailgate can be opened with a kick, without touching the car. In combination with “Keyless Open” a simple small kicking motion under the rear bumper is enough to open the tailgate (a vehicle silhouette projected onto the ground shows the correct area). A further kicking motion under the bumper will close the tailgate. The clever system can detect any obstruction and stops the mechanism in case of emergency. In addition, for practicability, the height of the opening can be programmed, in case the car is in a garage. Furthermore, the tailgate can still be opened by a switch on the driver’s side of the car, a button at the rear or via the key’s remote control.
      In order to increase loading space the new Insignia Sports Tourer comes with optional 40/20/40 foldable rear seats enabling even more flexible loading space configurations. The rear seat bank can be folded down by simply pushing a button located in the luggage compartment. Furthermore, the FlexOrganizer Pack with side rails, dividing nets and various fastening options is available as an option so that all loaded materials can be stored safely and tidily. The upward-opening trunk cover makes for even easier access to the trunk.
      Wellness: Comfort and connectivity for driver and passengers
      The attention to detail is also recognizable in the passenger compartment. Headroom has increased by 31 millimeters, shoulder-room by 25 millimeters and space for the hips by 27 millimeters. Additional luxury is provided by the optional 1,400 x 860 millimeters panorama sunroof that stretches back over the heads of rear-seat passengers. For the first time, both outer rear seats of the Insignia are also heated.
      The cockpit is adapted to the person sitting behind the steering wheel. The driver of the new Insignia Sports Tourer sits lower in the car than before and is surrounded by the instruments and center console, as if sitting in a command center. Clear lines and sculptural surfaces true to the Opel design philosophy contribute further to the elegant appearance. The frameless touchscreen of the IntelliLink system, which is oriented towards the driver, displays a high-class character. In addition to the touchscreen, the controls can be operated intuitively by three rows of buttons. The top row is reserved for the infotainment system, the middle row for heating, ventilation and air conditioning and the bottom row is for driver assistance systems.
      Great entertainment and outstanding connectivity are ensured by the latest Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible IntelliLink systems. And while the smartphone is seamlessly integrated into the vehicle’s infotainment it now can also be charged wirelessly without the use of a cable. Naturally, the groundbreaking connectivity and service assistant Opel OnStar is also on board, offering services ranging from Automatic Crash Response to Stolen Vehicle Assistance. A new Personal Assistant service will be launched together with the Insignia, enabling its occupants to ask OnStar advisors, for example, to select a hotel and proceed to room reservation as well as looking for available parking. Furthermore, the 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot featured in the OnStar system allows all Insignia occupants to connect their devices to the net.
      Elsewhere, the premium, AGR-certified ergonomic front seats in the Insignia offer a unique combination of electric side bolster settings, massage, memory and ventilation functions while the heated windshield guarantees good visibility quickly on cold winter days.
      Top technologies: IntelliLux LED®, 360° camera, active Lane Keep Assist
      One of the highlights in every sense of the word is the (already) second generation of Opel’s innovative and award-winning adaptive IntelliLux LED® matrix light, enabled by new generation LED technology and further developments from Opel engineers. The Opel LED®matrix light now has 16 LED segments integrated into each of the very slim headlamps of the Insignia. The increased number of LED segments enables the various light patterns to adapt to the prevailing traffic situation even more precisely and the transitions between the multiple lighting patterns are faster and more seamless. To improve visibility even further while driving through curves on full high beam, Opel engineers added an innovative active curve lighting function to the new Insignia’s IntelliLux LED® matrix headlights. According to the steering angle, the light intensity provided by the LED segments lighting the inner of the curve rises to better illuminate the line to follow. Last but not least, a further, dedicated LED spotlight located within the low beam module provides additional illumination at full high-beam for up to 400 meters.
      Additional driver assistance systems include:
      Head-up-Display: Information on speed, traffic signs, set speed of speed limiter or navigation direction is projected onto the windshield and in the driver’s direct line of sight ensuring that the eyes remain on the road. 360° camera, which consists of four individual cameras on each side of the car. It enables a 360-degree bird’s-eye view and thus facilitates every parking maneuver. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which measures the distance to the vehicle in front and adapts the speed accordingly. ACC will initiate automatic emergency braking if the distance decreases abruptly. Lane Keep Assist with automated steering correction and Lane Departure Warning (LDW). Provides gentle steering wheel movements (and LDW alerts if necessary) to help drivers avoid unintentionally drifting out of their lane. Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The system uses radar sensors in the rear bumper to detect objects coming from up to 20 meters at 90 degrees from the left or right side behind the vehicle, a very useful function when reversing out of a parking spot with limited visibility. Pure fun to drive: Torque vectoring all-wheel drive and broad range of powertrains

      Driving pleasure and safety no matter what the conditions are guaranteed thanks to the Insignia’s new intelligent all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring – the most sophisticated in class. Two electrically controlled multi-plate clutches in the all-wheel drive system replace the usual rear axle differential, providing a much more precise power transmission to each wheel individually, no matter whether the roads are graveled, wet, icy or snowy. When cornering, additional torque is transmitted to the outside rear wheel, sensibly reducing understeering and enabling more precise control. The system reacts within a split-second of the accelerator being pressed, ensuring that the car remains more stable and easier to steer in every situation. In addition, the further improved FlexRide chassis provides the basis for excellent, situation-based driving behavior. FlexRide adapts the dampers, steering, throttle response and shift points (on automatics) independently or based on the modes ‘Standard’, ‘Sport’ or ‘Tour’, which can be selected by the driver. The new central ‘Drive Mode Control’ software is the heart and soul of the adaptive chassis. It continuously analyzes the information provided by the sensors and settings and recognizes the individual driving style.
      When the order books open, the Insignia Sports Tourer will be available with a range of turbocharged gasoline and diesel engines along with latest generation transmissions. An absolute newcomer can be found in the highly efficient eight-speed automatic. It impresses with class-leading shifting comfort and will initially only be available in combination with all-wheel drive.
      Previous Page Next Page
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      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

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