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Holden confirms it will build all-new small car from 2010

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New four-cylinder small car to be built alongside the Commodore within two years


GM HOLDEN has today confirmed it plans to manufacture an all-new small four-cylinder model in Australia from 2010.

Announced in a major press conference this morning at the company's Elizabeth assembly plant outside Adelaide, which was attended by prime minister Kevin Rudd and industry minister Kim Carr, the plan is estimated to require between 500 and 600 positions at Holden, plus a similar number of local supplier jobs.

Holden's small car plan, which was forecast by GoAuto in May, takes advantage of the Rudd federal government's $6.2 billion automotive industry package, without which the company said it would not have proceeded.

It is understood the federal government has committed $149 million to the project, with the South Australian state government contributing $30 million – all of which will be matched by Holden at staged levels over three years.

GM Holden chairman and managing director Mark Reuss, who was today given a spontaneous round of applause by Holden employees, many of whom attended the event with their families despite being on extended Christmas holidays during Holden's forced factory shutdown, finalised the deal with Holden's General Motors parent company in Detroit about a week ago. The South Australian government was told of the deal two days ago.

The all-new front-drive small car will be based on the GM global vehicle platform, dubbed Delta, that was developed at GM Opel's Russelsheim ‘homeroom' in Germany, which will also underpin the next-generation Astra, the Cruze (a replacement for GM Daewoo small car, sold here as the Viva) and the Volt - GM's ground-breaking new range-extending electric car due on sale here in 2012.

The car will be built in both sedan and hatch forms from the third quarter of 2010 at Elizabeth alongside the Commodore on Holden's previous Vectra production line, which was idled in 1998.

Apart from the Commodore large car and its derivatives, it will be GM Holden's first locally-produced car since, according to Holden, "the Asian economic crisis ended Vectra production in 1998".

Holden said the new model will be produced with direct-injection petrol and diesel engines, and that liquid petroleum gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG) and ethanol (E85) powertrain technologies, plus idle-stop (stopt/start) technology, are all being considered. The latter could also attract funding from the federal government's Green Car Innovation Fund.

The petrol engine was described as a low-displacement forced-induction four-cylinder, which Mr Reuss said could also be produced locally, potentially extending the life of the soon-to-close engine plant in Port Melbourne.

The small car plan is projected to cost between $70 and $80 million in wages and $30 million in research, development, design and engineering work at Holden's Port Melbourne headquarters.

As we reported earlier this month, Holden could also be in a position to produce the Volt here, given it is based on the same platform and that GM Vauxhall will produce the Volt under a plan currently being formulated in the UK.

"Together with government, we are extending the scope and consumer appeal of our local manufacturing efforts," Mr Reuss said.

"We have been building Holden cars to suit the needs of Australian motorists for 60 years. These plans build on that tradition.

"We recognise the needs and desires of motorists are evolving with growing concern around environmental factors and shifting consumer sentiment.

"Such evolution calls for an innovative approach to complement our current offering.

"Just as our leading Commodore range will continue to undergo technological development, this new vehicle will cater for growing demand for smaller cars focussed on economy.

"We are planning for the future to produce a wider range of cars in Australia to cater for a variety of driving needs," said Mr Reuss.

"The Rudd Government's Green Car Innovation Fund has provided opportunity to turn our plans into reality.

"This announcement complements the vision we share with the government of reducing Australia's dependence on foreign oil and making motoring better for the environment.

"It demonstrates commitment to an Australian automotive industry which extends beyond manufacturing at GM Holden to thousands of suppliers and dealers across the country.

"That demonstration was clearly seen by our parent company in its decision to support this program.

"The support of the Federal and South Australian governments in securing this program recognises the fundamental role which automotive manufacturing makes to national and state economies.

"By working together, we have ensured GM Holden will continue to make a major contribution to the nation's economy for many years to come."

GM group vice-president and Asia Pacific president, Nick Reilly, said today's announcement was proof of Holden's ability to play an innovative role within the Asia-Pacific region.

"This announcement recognises the ability of GM, GM Holden and the Australian automotive industry to see the future and move in the right direction," Mr Reilly said.

"This program simply would not have occurred without such partnerships. Producing this vehicle will continue Australia's proud history of innovation as part of the GM group's broader commitment to energy diversity.

"I thank the Australian federal government and government of South Australia for their commitment to manufacturing in the Asia Pacific region," said Mr Reilly.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) also welcomed Holden's announcement today.

"This is a breakthrough for Australia's vehicle manufacturing industry," said FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar.

"The announcement highlights just some of the possibilities that exist for Australia to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles and to introduce opportunities for the uptake of new technologies in locally-made cars.

"GM Holden's announcement represents an early dividend for the government's new car plan, announced only last month.

"It is clear that the new policy arrangements, in particular the Green Car Innovation Fund, have been critical in securing this investment decision.

"It is a tremendous confidence boost for the industry and for Australian manufacturing that we can secure this sort of investment in the current global economic context," Mr McKellar said.

According to Senator Carr's office, the new car will be around 20 per cent more fuel-efficient and produce 20 per cent less CO2 than current larger vehicles.

"Families travelling 20,000km a year will save almost $500 a year in fuel costs and produce around 1.7 tonnes less in carbon emissions," said the industry minister's press release.

The announcement is an undisputable coup within the Australian automotive industry as it confirms the production of a new small Holden model in the same year Toyota will manufacture a hybrid version of the next-generation Camry – and a year ahead of Ford Australia's widely publicised production of the next-generation Focus from 2011.

Announced during crucial bailout negotiations between its parent company and the US Administration, Holden's small car plan is expected to provide the company with vital sales volume as sales of its Commodore range fade and the future of valuable Pontiac-badged exports to the US remains under review.

Original article:


Edited by douglask

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They could have done small RWD, after all it's the government's money and they have plenty of it now. Too bad The higher-ups won't allow them to. :rolleyes:

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Given Holden's ingenuity, I actually think they could make this a cool little car that'll be able to take on the competition, regardless of what wheels power it.

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All-new small car, read: HOLDEN CRUZE.

Yeah, Cruze rebadge FTW

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They'll get this car around the same time you get the Cruze, a couple of years before any Alpha model is ready. It sounds like it will be slightly more than a Cruze rebadge, but judging from the sketch, not much more. Something along the lines of the current Buick Excelle v. Optra.

Edited by thegriffon

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It sounds like it will be slightly more than a Cruze rebadge, but judging from the sketch, not much more. Something along the lines of the current Buick Excelle v. Optra.

You can put it that way if you want, but it's still a re-badge. The basic bodyshell -- door skins, roofline and DLO, etc. -- will be the same. It's sort of like putting Carmen Electra's face on Rosie O'Donnell: in the end you just have a pig with a pretty face.

Don't get me wrong, the Cruze is mostly pleasant-looking car (I don't like the chrome strip on the decklid, that's a big gripe of mine with the design, although it's a little thing) and it's going to be a great product. I'm just disappointed because I feel as if this product has short-changed us out of something even better.

Edited by YellowJacket894

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This is the car Holden was always going to get. It will just be built in South Australia instead of Korea or Thailand. Alpha is a whole other issue and won't be ready or decided until a couple of years after this car. I.e. you won't hear production plans until 2010 and see production vehicles until 2012.

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Nevertheless what some of us were hoping for, this is good. Holden will be building their own car for their own market. Good for them.

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I look at this sketch and I remeber when I saw a sketch of the 94 Monte Carlo... I was so excited until I saw the real thing... :puke:

I think it'll get a new front bumper and grille, and that's it.

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