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Holden Cruze wagon will not be built in Oz

Wagon the tail: Holden’s Cruze wagon will arrive in Australian showrooms in January next year.

Tweaks to locally built Holden Cruze will be lost on Korean-sourced wagon variant

15 Jun 2012

HOLDEN will offer the Cruze wagon in Australia from January next year, filling a gap in the market vacated by the Hyundai i30cw, but the Lion brand has ruled out Australian production for now.

As a result, the 1.4-litre ‘iTi’ engine, Watts link rear suspension and electric power steering (EPS) set-up built into the Australian-made Cruze sedan and hatch are unlikely to be available, and some of the Australia-specific styling updates and colours may also be lost in translation.

At the recent Colorado ute launch, Holden chairman and CEO Mike Devereux confirmed to GoAuto the Cruze wagon will have “a few differences” compared with the models built in Adelaide.

However, he added that the wagon – which debuted at the Geneva show in March and received styling input from Holden designer Lee Mitchell – will also gain “quite a few new features” that will be announced closer to launch.

On the question of local production of the wagon, Mr Devereux said: “We are not going to attempt to do three of those body styles at the plant.

“Until you figure out what the volumes are going to be, it doesn’t make sense to try to localise it at this point in time.”

13 center imageFrom top: Holden Trax Chevrolet Malibu Chevrolet Trailblazer Holden Volt.

Holden executive director of sales and marketing John Elsworth said take-up of the Cruze hatch had been lower than expected, with more customers still opting for the sedan.

Now that Hyundai has stopped importing the i30cw, which started from $22,090 plus on-road costs, the Cruze wagon will have little in the way of competition in the segment apart from the Volkswagen Golf (from $26,990) and Peugeot 308 (from $31,990).

The Skoda Octavia wagon (from $26,990) officially occupies the medium segment, but at 4569mm long it is 106mm shorter than the Cruze.

Hyundai’s i30cw accounted for 20 per cent of Australian i30 sales, supporting a comment made by Mr Devereux that the wagon format is “not a dead segment” here.

“We do very, very well at some extremely nice price and content points with Sportwagon,” he said.

“It’s a great product that will appeal to folks who don’t want a large wagon but don’t really have much choice in a small wagon.

“I think it might be the best looking of the (Cruze) trio it’s a great-looking wagon.

“We think the Cruze wagon will do extremely well … I think, as a four-cylinder small wagon, this will be a good vehicle.”

The Cruze wagon will provide useful extra cargo capacity for families and fleet buyers, providing 500 litres of space – 55 litres more than the sedan and 87 litres more than the hatch – with up to 1500 litres on offer with the rear seats folded.

It is 4675mm long – 165mm longer than the Cruze hatch and 74mm longer than the sedan.

Also on the launch pad for Holden is the Volt range-extender EV (due in October), the Colorado 7 full-size SUV (December or January), the Malibu mid-size sedan and the Barina-based Trax compact SUV.

The long-awaited next-generation VF Commodore will also emerge next year, in the fourth quarter.

Apart from the Volt and Commodore, the new products are all volume-boosting models that will fill yawning gaps in Holden’s line-up.

Mr Devereux described Holden’s narrow range of SUV entrants as the company’s “Achilles heel from a market share standpoint”.

He said the Colorado 7 “will go very well in very different areas of the country that we currently don’t really sell SUVs into”, and that the Trax is “a great little SUV for the times”.

The Trax will join a booming segment, which is up 53.7 per cent year to date, while large SUV sales are also up, by 26.6 per cent.

Mr Devereux described the Malibu as the first real competitor Holden has had to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord in more than 10 years.

“It will be a true mid-sized car with an appropriate four-cylinder engine to go head-to-head with the Accord and Camry,” he said.

“It is all about the hardware. We know this vehicle is going to deliver on those things that we know it needs to deliver on.”

The medium-car segment has also shown strong growth so far this year, with sales up 16.6 per cent.

Although Mr Devereux would not be drawn on more details about the VF Commodore – which will be revealed at the Daytona 500 NASCAR season-opener in February – he confirmed the car will receive a boost in on-board technology.

“I think the vehicle will have a lot of (new) features, since the current VE was designed a long time ago … it will have the features that you would expect a car in 2013 to have.”
What’s coming from Holden:
VoltOctober/November (Sydney show)
Cruze wagonDecember/January (Sydney show)
Colorado 7December/January (Sydney show)
MalibuQ2 2013
TraxQ3 2013
VF CommdoreQ4 2013

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