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Holden-built SUV potential ‘very possible’

Potential: Were Holden to built a Cruze-based SUV in Australia, it would likely replace the current Captiva.

Prospects firm for Holden-built SUV while rear-drive large-car platform to live on

12 Apr 2013

GENERAL Motors has highlighted the potential for Holden to build an SUV in Australia based on the next-generation Cruze small-car platform.

Asked whether an SUV based on the D2XX underpinnings that will form a basis for the next Cruze could be produced in Australia, GM executive chief engineer for luxury and rear-wheel-drive cars David Leone told GoAuto: “I don’t think that we’ve announced anything but that could be very possible.”

The Cruze-based SUV could replace the imported Captiva and an Australian-built SUV has been speculated ever since Holden announced it would continue producing cars in Australia until at least 2022, with two next-generation vehicles built on global platforms.

Holden has confirmed that these will be a fully redesigned Cruze and a new-generation Commodore.

It is still to be revealed whether the so-called ‘VJ’ Holden Commodore due around 2017 will remain rear-wheel drive or move to a front-drive platform.

However, Mr Leone left open the prospect of the new large car being built on a development of the current Australian-engineered Zeta platform, which is the basis of the Holden Ute, Sportswagon, long-wheelbase Caprice sedan other models throughout the GM world including the Chevrolet Camaro and Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle.

 center imageLeft: GM executive chief engineer for luxury and rear-wheel-drive cars David Leone.

As reported, GM has not set an official end date to production of Zeta-based vehicles, some of which could potentially remain in service for years to come.

“We plan to produce Zeta for the next several years we have a product plan there … we still have several years of product to sell there,” he said.

“We have also announced that there will be the next-gen Commodore. An exciting product we expect to do very well in the local market but I can’t go much beyond that.

“Conceivably you could see a convergence (of Zeta and other rear-drive platforms) but we haven’t announced anything formal about a converging of architectures so it would be premature to state that.”

Mr Leone ruled out the potential for keeping the Zeta architecture alive by moving production to North America, for example to maintain production of the Caprice PPV.

“The issue is the volume, it takes significant volume to be able to pay for the tools to be able to do that and the volume with the Chevy SS is indicatively relatively low, the number of police cars we sell is relatively low,” he said.

“If the total of those two is 10-15,000 units a year we could never make a business case out of transferring the tools from Australia to North America to do so.

“The break-even for that is probably four to five times that number before it would make business sense... we’d need a lot of criminals.”

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