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MY19 Camaro conversion not easy but possible: HSV

Facelifted Chevrolet Camaro a chance via HSV program but not without challenges

28 Sep 2018

HOLDEN Special Vehicles (HSV) has stressed that the model year 2019 Chevrolet Camaro sportscar is no sure thing for Australia via its right-hand-drive conversion program, with the facelifted model requiring a larger financial investment.


Speaking to journalists last week at the Camaro 2SS national media in Victoria, HSV managing director Tim Jackson revealed that not all of the company’s $10 million-plus MY18 investment (excluding equipment purchases) would carry over to MY19.


“This (MY18) car’s auto only, and they’ve all got sunroofs,” he said. “The reason for that is the core vehicle we selected out of the US was originally created as an Argentinian-spec vehicle, and that has a lot of the European-compliant components on it.


“As we move through … and look at MY19, does that still exist? What has changed? What other things do we need to do? It might be in the future that we need to do emissions tests and a whole bunch of other things.


“While MY19 might seem a simple ‘you’ll just be rolling over into that’, that’s not the case. There’s a whole raft of other activities we need to do if we’re going to bring MY19 to market.”


If the Argentinian-spec Camaro was no longer available in MY19, HSV could either look towards another European market or source the US model that would require Euro emissions certification to be completed before it could be sold Down Under with Australian Design Rules (ADR) approval.


As such, MY19 would likely involve another multi-million-dollar investment from HSV to cover the additional man-hours and resource requirements for its would-be first emissions program.


A similar situation played out when HSV was required to complete full crash testing on its re-manufactured MY18 Camaro 2SS in order to receive its necessary ADR certification (see separate story).


When questioned if MY19 is dependent on MY18 selling its entire 550-unit allocation, of which about 70 per cent is already spoken for, Mr Jackson explained that HSV’s versatility allowed it to create a viable business case for low-volume models.


“We’re really confident around that,” he said. “One of the things that is different about our business model, than say one of the big local OEs, is that we can find ways to make niche solutions come to life. We don’t need to do 7000 (annual) units. We’re quite comfortable if we do 1000 units on Camaro.”


Revealed in April, the MY19 Camaro ushers in a new 10-speed automatic transmission, launch control and line-lock burnout functions, revised exterior styling and increased equipment levels.


This same low-volume approach applies to other Camaro variants, such as the ZL1 flagship, that may be added to the re-manufactured line-up in its coming model years, according to Mr Jackson.


“There’s a whole bunch of emissions work (involved), potentially more crash, (and) those sorts of things, but … we can bring something like (ZL1) to market,” he said.


“It might only be 300 or 400 vehicles a year … whereas a big global OE is going to say ‘I just can’t make that work’.”


As reported, the ZL1 produces 485kW of power and 881Nm of torque from its supercharged 6.2-litre V8 engine, making it a worthy successor to the 474kW/815Nm GTSR W1 that served as the swansong of HSV’s Commodore-based model line-up.

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