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GM Holden To Build New Small Car Alongside Commodore

Concept sketch of the new Holden small car. Click to enlarge.

GM Holden will build an all-new small car in Australia alongside the Commodore range. The second carline will start in the third quarter of 2010 with support from the Federal and South Australian Governments. It will be GM Holden’s first locally produced car beyond its current range of larger vehicles since the Asian economic crisis ended Vectra production in 1998.

The vehicle will be based on GM’s global Delta small car platform and feature new technologies to increase fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse emissions. Other applications of the Delta platform will include the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze and Opel, Vauxhall and Saturn Astra.

The new front-wheel-drive vehicle will be built as a sedan and hatch at GM Holden’s Elizabeth manufacturing facility in South Australia. Design and engineering work will take place at the company’s headquarters in Port Melbourne, Victoria.

Direct injected gasoline and diesel variants of the vehicle will be produced, with GM Holden considering a range of alternative fuel or fuel saving technologies including E85, LPG, CNG and start-stop hybrid capability.

GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Reuss said the announcement provided opportunity to take a leading role in developing alternative fuel and fuel saving technologies in Australia for Australians.

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.

—Mark Reuss

Flexible manufacturing infrastructure will be introduced to the Elizabeth plant to make it capable of producing a series of GM global vehicles in years to come. It also provides opportunity to develop an export program for the vehicle, particularly to other right hand drive markets around the world.

The GM Delta small car architecture was primarily developed by GM Europe in Russelsheim, Germany for GM markets around the world. Local design and engineering work on the Australian vehicle will take place at GM Holden’s Port Melbourne headquarters in Victoria.

Further details about the vehicle including its nameplate, design specifications and pricing will be determined closer to the time of production.

The vehicle will be built in the south bodyshop of the Elizabeth facility, which was previously used for the Vectra assembly in the late 1990s.

Australia will contribute A$149 million (US$102 million) over three years starting in 2009-10 to this project. This co-investment deal is the first grant of funds since the launch of the Government’s $6.2 billion New Car Plan for a Green Future, which is designed to transform the Australian automotive industry to produce fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles and create high-skill, high-wage jobs.

Only local subsidiaries of Ford, Toyota, and GM now manufacture vehicles in Australia.


Bob from ALAMN

Word from Down Under is the new small car from Holden will be built as a flexible fuel vehicle (E85 or regular unleaded). Of course, it's just on the drawing boards right now...

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