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.