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Holden Acadia production slated for September

Spring into action: GM’s Spring Hill plant in Tennessee is set to get 700 new workers, partly to help cover extra volume of the GMC Acadia large SUV for Holden in Australia and New Zealand.

GM to add third shift to GMC plant in time for Holden Acadia launch in Q4

GMC logo26 Apr 2018

By RON HAMMERTON

GENERAL Motors has announced plans to restore a third shift to its Spring Hill manufacturing plant in Tennessee to ramp up production of its GMC Acadia, partly to meet expected demand from Australia and New Zealand where the vehicle is due to replace the Holden Captiva in the fourth quarter of this year.

About 700 new workers will be employed at the factory to staff the new shift from September, around the time right-hand-drive Holden-badged Acadias are due to roll from the production line for shipping to Australia.

The vehicle is expected to be launched by Holden in late October before being rolled into showrooms about November when it will join the new mid-sized Equinox, small Trax and Colorado-based Trailblazer to complete Holden’s new-look SUV line-up.

Acadia engineering vehicles have been out and about on Australian roads in recent months as Holden engineers complete their usual local chassis tuning and testing.

In the United States, similar Acadia mules with partial disguises have been photographed, with American publications suggesting the vehicle is in for a facelift for the 2019 model year.

Holden has confirmed that the ageing, South Korean-built Captiva will go into run-out as the Acadia rolls into Australia and New Zealand, ending the nameplate’s 12-year run in these markets.

The current, second-generation Acadia was launched in North America in May 2016, powered by a choice of two petrol engines – a 3.6-litre V6 and 2.5-litre four-cylinder – hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission. No diesel is available.

Acadia – the first GMC product to be rebadged as a Holden – has five-, six- and seven-seat configurations. The seven-seat Acadia is a lock for Australia, but other specifications and pricing is being kept under wraps until closer to launch when it will take on the likes of the top-selling Toyota Kluger, Nissan Pathfinder, Mazda CX-9, Kia Sorrento, Hyundai Santa Fe and upcoming Ford Endura.

The Acadia is built on the same GM C1XX platform as the Cadillac XT5, with which it shares the Tennessee production lineSales of the Acadia and XT5 are both up in the US this year, with Acadia growing 3.0 per cent and XT5 adding 10 per cent.

Along with the start of RHD production, this growth helped to seal the deal for the third shift – the first three-shift arrangement at the plant since November.

In the first quarter of this year, Holden SUV sales in Australia have fallen 17.6 per cent in a segment up 10.9 per cent.

Despite its age and a 43 per cent plunge in volume this year, the Captiva remains the top-selling Holden SUV, with 1661 sales, ahead of the Trax (1420, -33.6%), Equinox (1075) and Trailblazer (632, -16.3%).

When the Acadia arrives, Holden will source each of its SUVs from a different country – Trax from South Korea, Trailblazer from Thailand, Equinox from Mexico and Acadia from the US.

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