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Holden goes to Rio with Tracker

On Trax: This Chevrolet Tracker engineering test mule spotted in Melbourne might look familiar – it is the Brazilian version of the Chevrolet/Holden Trax.

Brazil’s Chevrolet Tracker gets some automatic TLC courtesy of Holden Engineering


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30 Jan 2015

HOLDEN’S global engineering role within General Motors is again in evidence on the streets of Melbourne, with a left-hand-drive Chevrolet Tracker compact SUV – aka Trax – snapped in a parking lot.

The Australian branch of GM has confirmed that the test car seen here is GM do Brasil’s version of the Trax, in this case manufactured in Mexico and shipped to Brazil under Chevrolet Tracker badges.

The sighting comes little more than a week after GoAuto caught several development models – including a disguised Opel Karl/Vauxhall Viva that is scheduled to be formally launched at the Geneva motor show in March – coming and going from Holden’s Port Melbourne engineering centre.

Many of the vehicles have one thing in common – GM’s Gamma II small car platform that underpins a raft of vehicles including the Opel Corsa, Holden Barina, Chevrolet Spark and Chevrolet Aveo, as well as Trax.

According to GM's local arm, the Tracker in in Australia for testing due to Holden’s experience with its six-speed transmission.

Holden engineers were responsible for global powertrain and transmission calibration for the Trax and its Opel/Vauxhall variant, the Mokka, in 2012.

Brazil is one of only two markets to have adopted the Tracker name instead of Trax, with Russia also in line to choose the Tracker moniker when it launches GM’s smallest SUV this year.

The test car pictured here is a high-end LTZ variant, matching the only Tracker specification sold in South America’s biggest nation where the badge draws on a local heritage of Tracker models. One of them was a rebadged Suzuki Vitara.

GM has confirmed Trax will be called Tracker in the former Soviet Union states too, reportedly due to a cultural hiccup with the Trax name that sounds somewhat pornographic in the local lingo.

A second badge on the test car’s derriere proclaims the powertrain as “Ecotec – 6-speed”, which is identical to the badge carried by the Brazilian Tracker and some other Chevrolet cars there, such as Cruze.

The “6-speed” refers to GM’s adaptive six-speed automatic transmission.

The Trax/Tracker has been slowly rolled out in numerous markets under Chevrolet and – in Australasia’s case – Holden badges, with the United States and China getting the car only recently.

The appearance of the Tracker test vehicle on Australia roads indicates that the Holden engineering involvement continues, despite the rollout of the 2015 specification in Brazil and a number of other markets.

They might be doing long-term durability testing, or perhaps working on modifications for under-the-skin mechanical changes for the mid-life facelift due in a year or so.

In Australia, Holden last year revved up Trax by adding the 1.4-litre turbocharged engine to its line-up.

Trax was one of Holden’s few four-cylinder bright spots last year, racking up 5979 sales for a 7.4 per cent share of the burgeoning small SUV segment.

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