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New York Show: Cruze gets new face

Minor make-over: Stylistic changes to the re-jigged Cruze are minor, especially from the rear. This car will be produced in localised form in Australia until 2017, according to Holden.

Final Australian-made Holden Cruze previewed in Chevy guise before NY premiere


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14 Apr 2014

HOLDEN says it plans to build an updated version of the current-generation Cruze in Australia until its Elizabeth factory closes in 2017, even though an all-new version of the nameplate should be well into its life-cycle overseas by then.

General Motors stablemate Chevrolet revealed this late-life Cruze update, on its sedan version, over the weekend ahead of its world debut at this week’s New York Motor show.

Chief among the changes are the redesigned ‘double-decker’ grille — reminiscent of the Malibu and Impala, and destined to appear on Australian versions with Holden’s Lion Badge — plus some new switchgear and multimedia options.

Australian versions of the car are expected to enter production in Elizabeth — where the local Cruze has been made since 2011 — later this year, and carry on until the factory closes, provided sales of the small-car and its VF Commodore sibling remain at a viable level.

Holden national manager of product communications Kate Lonsdale told GoAuto the brand was committed to building the Cruze and the Commodore until 2017, but said the company had no announcement yet regarding the updated Cruze you see here.

“We’re not announcing anything to do with our local Holden Cruze,” she said.

“We don’t talk about future product plans.”

By the time the Elizabeth plant closes in 2017, an all-new MY16 Cruze based on a new Delta 2 platform that will also house the next Opel Astra, will be on roads around the globe.

This design has been spied testing for some time, and a Chinese-market version was leaked several weeks ago ahead of its premiere in Beijing this week. US production will reportedly begin by the end of 2015, at the latest.

While the exact details are unclear, it appears that Holden dealers will be asked to soldier on with the current-shape (in updated guise) Cruze for 12-months or more, until the all-new version comes on stream. Holden could also opt to sell the two concurrently, as it did with new and old Barina and Astra models in years past.

GoAuto also understands Holden is a strong chance to sell the next Astra here with its Lion badge affixed, potentially as a premium alternative to the more volume Cruze.

Alternately, the Astra could serve as Holden’s small hatch option, with the next Cruze potentially to be limited to a sedan body-style in light of Chevrolet’s removal from Europe.

As we reported last week, the next-generation Cruze could be sourced from Thailand, with the South East Asian Nation continuing to incentivise big automotive players to build more vehicles there, most notably with super-frugal next-generation engines.

In addition, GM Thailand last month announced plans to build a new Chevrolet model in a major investment to turn its Thai operation into a “strategic hub for global exports”.

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