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HSV hints at go-fast Cruze

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HSV hints at go-fast Cruze

Toby Hagon

September 25, 2010

Hatching plans ... an artist’s impression of an HSV version of the Cruze.

A pocket rocket may join the fold at Holden's performance arm, writes Toby Hagon

Australia could have a home-grown hot hatch within two years, with Holden's performance-car arm, HSV, confirming it is considering a four-cylinder model.

The managing director of HSV, Phil Harding, confirmed the Cruze, which will be built in South Australia from next year, was the "best option" for the company to break its V8-led mould.

Speaking at the launch of the E3 range (the E-Series 3 line-up of Commodore-based V8s), Harding confirmed the brand was looking to expand beyond its large-car repertoire, giving a hint a small car could be in HSV's future.

"We're constantly on the lookout for that sort of stuff," he said when quizzed about vehicles other than V8-powered derivatives of the Commodore.

"The Cruze [small car] is probably our best option for showing progress [outside the Commodore-derived range]."

Stopping short of confirming HSV was working on a version of the Cruze - which will be produced at Holden's Elizabeth plant from March - Harding said small cars could reduce the brand's reliance on large V8s.

The Cruze will have the option of 1.8-litre four-cylinder or more-powerful 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engines, as well as a diesel. The sedan version of the car will be launched first, with a hatch expected to arrive towards the end of the year.

A HSV version of the Cruze isn't likely to happen soon, as HSV appears focused on its core business and ensuring the V8-powered large cars have a solid future. It added a raft of technology to its V8 range recently in the new E3 models.

HSV has barely touched the power outputs of its vehicles for four years and has, instead, been steadily adding features and technology, partly to appeal to more computer-literate and tech-savvy buyers, who include younger drivers.

However, many youngsters are bypassing the Australian large car in favour of a hot hatch or turbocharged four-cylinder. Volkswagen says about a quarter of its Golf sales are the performance-oriented GTI.

Four-cylinders are far from foreign to HSV. One of the first cars it built in the late 1980s was a tweaked version of the Astra, the SV1800.

More recently, HSV sold a turbocharged four-cylinder version of the Astra coupe, which it sold as the HSV VXR. The car was never a hot seller but opened the brand to new customers.

"When we did the Astra, we met a whole new customer base who would only buy a turbo small car because they thought that's what technology was," Harding said.

He said the VXR tended to appeal to younger buyers, something crucial for the future of the muscle-car brand.

Small cars account for about one in five new-vehicle sales in Australia and turbocharged pocket rockets continue to prove popular for those chasing performance in a compact, more frugal package.



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Report: Chevrolet Cruze could get the HSV treatment Down Under

by Steven J. Ewing (RSS feed) on Sep 27th 2010 at 11:29AM

General Motors is betting on the Chevrolet Cruze sedan to boost its small-car image and sales here in the United States. Overseas, however, GM will be offering the Cruze in an attractive five-door bodystyle, and a report from Australia's Drive.com states that Holden's in-house HSV tuning department is considering a high-powered Cruze.

HSV doesn't outright confirm that a performance Cruze is in the works, but the company has stated that it is strongly considering adding a four-cylinder model to its lineup and that the Cruze would be the "best option for showing progress." If the HSV Cruze were to be produced, our bet is that it will be based on the new five-door hatch body style that we won't get here in the States. This means the Volkswagen GTI and upcoming Ford Focus ST could have some seriously stiff competition from the likes of General Motors.

As for timing, don't expect to see a HSV Cruze anytime soon – the tuning company's current focus is making sure that its V8-powered cars have a solid, sustainable future. Still, news of a tuned-up Cruze certainly piques our interest, if only to be a lusted after piece of forbidden fruit.



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Talk about making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. I'm all for putting Holden in charge of GM Global Design.

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Looks like a regular Cruze owned by a 18 year-old with access to a J.C. Whitney catalog. *Yawn* Aside from it being the 5 door, I'm not seeing anything special here.

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Let just see what the GMPD group is doing the Cruze.

Also do not count out the Hatch as GM noticed the reaction here. We still may not get it but you can never rule it totally out as they have changed their minds before.

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Future Models - HSV 2012 Cruze

HSV mulls alternative engines for hot Cruze

Hot stuff: A digital image of how the HSV version of Holden's Cruze might look.

Opel’s 213kW Focus fighter might provide engine option for HSV’s crazy Cruze

28 September 2010


HOLDEN Special Vehicles is examining “a couple” of powertrain options for its proposed hot Cruze, one of which might be a blazing 213kW turbocharged four-cylinder from the Opel stable that would take the fight up to Ford’s potent Focus RS and Subaru WRX.

The new locally developed car, based on the Australian-designed Holden Cruze hatch that is set to roll off the Adelaide production line in the second half of next year, might also find fresh export customers for HSV, which is set to expand exports of its Commodore-based E Series V8 range later this year to markets such as Singapore.

HSV previously sold a rebadged version of the imported Opel/Vauxhall Astra VRX, which packed 177kW of power and 320Nm of torque, driving through the front wheels.

But with Opel likely to sell its own range of products in Australia under Holden’s GM Premium Brands division in the future, HSV is looking to widen its reach and export potential with its own hot hatch in league with GM Holden.

Speaking with GoAuto at last week’s E Series 3 launch in Victoria, HSV managing director Phil Harding reconfirmed that HSV was looking at developing a performance Cruze to give it a second string to its bow under the E Series.

“I am not saying we are doing it, but we are looking at it,” he said. “We would be silly if we didn’t.”

Mr Harding said the proposed model would have to fit with HSV’s brand and its three pillars – performance, driving pleasure and style.

“I am not going to screw with the brand by getting it wrong,” he said.

Asked if HSV would consider an Opel OPC powertrain for the car, Mr Harding said: “We are looking at a couple of options.”

Opel this week revealed that its Paris motor show concept, called the GTC Paris, is powered by a “state of the art” 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder engine with direct injection producing 213kW.

The engine uses double camshaft phasing and twin balance shafts, and drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox and a sophisticated limited-slip differential that Opel says controls traction without limiting the torque.

This turbo engine is set to go head-to-head in Europe with the Focus RS that has just been launched in Australia with a Volvo-sourced 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo engine producing 224kW and 440Nm.

The Opel GTC Paris three-door hatch is expected to morph into the next Opel Astra OPC/Vauxhall VRX for launch in late 2011.

As the Astra and Cruze both share General Motors’ Delta II platform, transplanting such an engine into the Holden-made Cruze should not be too difficult.

However, bigger question marks remain over the ability of the Cruze to cope with such high power outputs, especially if the local hatch retains the relatively basic torsion beam rear suspension.

By contrast, the Ford Focus RS uses Ford’s ‘Control Blade’ independent rear suspension.

Like the Cruze, the Focus RS puts its power to the road only through the front wheels. And, like Ford, HSV (and Opel) will need to come up with a front-end design to neutralise torque-steer.

Ford’s solution is a patented two-piece steering knuckle – called RevoKnuckle – working in tandem with a sophisticated front differential.

According to European reports, Opel looked at fitting a V6 engine – probably a version of the Holden-made 2.8-litre turbo V6 that powers both the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia and Saab 9-5 – in the next Astra flagship before deciding to go with the lighter four-cylinder option.

If Opel has dispensed with that idea, it is unlikely that HSV would press ahead with a V6 option, although it would save logistics by sourcing the engine locally from Holden’s Port Melbourne factory.

Other options might include an engine development partnership with Chevrolet, which is just launching Cruze in the United States.

Such a development might open doors for HSV to share the development of the sports body treatment and suspension modifications for the Cruze, which is Chevrolet’s global small car across Asia, North America and Europe, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

In Australia, Holden was the ‘home room’ for the development of the hatch version, which will follow the sedan into production at Elizabeth, north of Adelaide. A wagon is also expected.

GM is saying it has no plans to introduce the Cruze hatch to the US market, but with the new-generation Focus set to come on stream in North America in a little over 12 months, the Aussie five-door Cruze with a hot hero model could be just the tonic to give the Cruze new legs.



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If GM is looking to use a 213kW turbocharged four-cylinder from Opel in a Holden...it would also fit in a Buick GS too... Just a thought.

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