News - Holden
Geneva show: GM remains committed to Holden
Safe for now: Holden has just launched the Astra Down Under, but the model’s future is unclear beyond this generation.
Holden product rollout to continue but questions remain about next-gen models
8 March 2017
GENERAL Motors has reaffirmed its commitment to the Holden brand and insists
the Australian company’s mid-term product plans would not change following
confirmation this week that France’s PSA Group will purchase GM’s struggling
European brands, Opel and Vauxhall.
Questions were raised after the announcement about Holden’s product line-up
going forward, particularly with the company’s commitment to sourcing about a
third of its forthcoming 24 new models from Europe by 2020.
Speaking with Australian journalists at the Geneva motor show overnight, GM
president Dan Ammann said it was too soon after the announcement to discuss
specifics of the deal, but highlighted the respect many high-ranking GM
executives have for Holden.
These include former heads of Holden Mark Reuss (now executive vice-president
of global product development, purchasing and supply chain) and Alan Batey (now
GM North America president), and global design chief Mike Simcoe.
Left: GM president Dan Ammann
“What I want to emphasise is we are 100 per cent committed to the business in
Australia and New Zealand,” he said. “We have a lot of exciting things in the
pipeline and it is going to be a really good period of time for the business
“There are a lot of people inside GM that have a lot of history with Holden.
There is nothing we want more than to see the business be successful and
prosper down there and we are totally committed to that happening.
“We have made various decisions in different parts of world for various reasons
… but we are absolutely committed to filling the pipeline of product in the way
that we are doing right now and the way we are going to do it going forward for
business down there.”
Mr Ammann said that “no specific decisions” had been made about whether Holden
would source its next generation of product next decade from PSA-Opel or if it
would pick up more product from Chevrolet in the US.
“I’d say as a result of yesterday’s announcement, there is more opportunity not
less going forward,” he said.
Mr Ammann would not be drawn on what Holden’s product line-up would look like
once the latest-generation models – including the Astra hatch and forthcoming
Opel Insignia-based Commodore – are replaced.
“Clearly the current models that are just launching we will run through their
full lifecycle and what we do beyond that is yet to be determined,” he said.
Mr Ammann added that future Opel product that has already been announced – such
as the yet-to-be-announced Opel SUV to be built at Russelsheim, Germany, later
this decade – is unlikely to be affected.
“I’d say for the overall Opel-Vauxhall product plan, it will either stay in
tact or actually expand,” he said.
GM’s recent focus on engineering new models for both left- and right-hand-drive
markets would mean that the loss of the UK-market Vauxhall brand from GM would
not impact RHD model development, Mr Ammann said.
“As we have been developing the next generation of all of our architectures
globally, we have increased, not decreased, the flexibility for right-hand
drive and made it a much easier thing to do so we remain totally committed to
that,” he said.
The New Zealand native said Opel, and therefore Holden, would continue to use
the Astra nameplate into the future.
When asked by GoAuto whether GM was giving any consideration to ditching the
Holden brand in Australia and replacing it with the more global Chevrolet name,
Mr Amman responded simply: “No.”
He said GM would continue to work with the new, expanded PSA Group on projects,
including looking at more electrification for the all-important Chinese market,
and for the American company to produce PSA-branded models in Korea.
Mr Ammann also said that increasing production volume in Europe from just over
one million units with Opel to more than three million when combined with the
PSA Group would make it easier to address the various regulatory issues, such
as emissions, that are common in Europe.
PSA Group earlier this week PSA Group agreed to purchase Opel and Vauxhall for
€1.3 billion ($A1.8b) and €0.9 billion ($A1.3b) respectively in the final
quarter of this year.