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First look: Holden heads into SUV territory

Debut: The C-100 will make its international debut as the Chevrolet S3X concept this week at the Paris motor show.

This Daewoo under a Chevrolet badge is Holden's latest SUV entrant

22 Sep 2004


THE badges might say this is a Chevrolet, but don’t be fooled. This is GM Daewoo’s brand new C-100 compact SUV, which will be sold in Australia as a Holden from the second half of 2006.

And it will be powered here by a Port Melbourne-built transverse-mounted 3.6-litre Alloytec V6 engine.

The C-100 – not the car’s production name – could also be sold here with 2.4-litre Ecotec four-cylinder and even a new turbo-diesel engine being developed by Daewoo with Italy’s VM Motori, although the latter option is a low possibility for Holden.

An internal debate over which diesel engine to use is why the C-100 has been delayed around six months from its original South Korean on-sale date in the second half of 2005.

Instead, it will debut in its home market around March-April 2006, before rolling out by the end of 2006 under a variety of nameplates to most of the 140 markets the South Korean company supplies.

The C-100’s Australian connection doesn’t end under the bonnet. Former Holden design boss Mike Simcoe arrived in South Korea in time to put the finishing touches to the SUV, as well as to make sure the Holden version was themed to work with the new look the company will debut with the 2006 VE Commodore range.

The C-100 will make its world debut as the Chevrolet S3X concept this week at the Paris motor show. It is badged that way because the bow tie brand will have taken over many Daewoo markets by January 2005.

But replace the hybrid powertrain of the concept, take away the panorama roof and big wheels, and you get an accurate rendition of the production vehicle.

In line with GM’s architecture integration strategy, C-100 is based on the company’s Theta compact SUV monocoque underpinnings, already seen in left-hand drive vehicles such as the Chevy Equinox and Saturn Vue.

13 center image However, Daewoo has substantially reworked the Theta architecture, including right-hand drive conversion as well as developing a unique skin. It will be built exclusively in South Korea in both front and all-wheel drive.

With its choice of four-cylinder and V6 engines and five and seven-seat layouts, the C-100 offers Holden the prospect of being able to offer a $30K compact class fighter as well as a high-performance version to take on mid-size SUVs.

And, as previously reported in GoAuto, Holden also has the option of adding the smaller five-seat-only C-105 to its line-up.

Then there’s the possibility of a back-to-basics Isuzu separate chassis wagon, Holden’s domestically developed Adventra replacement based on the Zeta architecture, a large GMT361 US wagon to take on the Toyota LandCruiser and even the Cadillac SRX luxury cross-over to fight the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz ML at the very top end of the market.

It all can’t come soon enough for Holden, which languishes with just three per cent of SUV sales in Australia, compared to dominant Toyota’s 30 per cent.

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