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Cruze exports not on agenda – for now

Exports: Holden has no current plans to send the Cruze to right-hand drive markets overseas.

Holden is not dependent on Cruze exports, but will not rule it out

1 Mar 2011

GM HOLDEN has reiterated it has no current plans to export the Australian-built Cruze sedan or its upcoming five-door hatchback sibling, and that the car’s business case is not dependent on exports.

However, the company has revealed that potential export opportunities may exist in the future, with right-hand drive markets such as South Africa and even the United Kingdom likely to be investigated as potential export destinations within the lifecycle of the current model.

GM Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux said the company had simply not had the time to seriously consider exporting the small car from Adelaide, citing the breakneck schedule of getting the car ready for manufacture at its Elizabeth plant following the plan’s official announcement in December 2008.

Mr Devereux said the ‘Australianisation’ of the Cruze – in terms of local tuning, restyling and engineering – has been a priority, while amassing some 30 Australian suppliers and then locking them in during 2009 had put any export thoughts on the backburner for now.

“There’s certainly potential for export, but we don’t have a plan right now for that to be in the current car,” he said.

13 center imageFrom top: GM Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux, the Chevrolet Cruze hatch, and the locally-made Cruze sedan.

“(But) it would seem logical for us – perhaps in this generation or perhaps in a future generation for this type of vehicle – for us to look at other right-hand drive markets for export, such as South Africa or the United Kingdom. So we would certainly be looking at that.

“But (the Holden team) is concentrating on stabilising and localising this car. Right now we are building just a few cars each day for the month of March. And we will start to ramp that up.

“You have to realise that this has been an extremely short timeframe, and at some point of time you have to lock down your supply base. GM’s manufacturing footprint was already set when we launched into plans to move Holden production (of Cruze) from GM Korea operations to Australia, and we certainly will be smart about looking at export opportunities.”

However, Mr Devereux emphasised that Holden will not pin its future on overseas sales again after the disastrously timed axing of Holden’s VE Commodore export program to the US as the Pontiac G8 – just as the global financial crisis bit – and the painful downsizing at Elizabeth to less than 70,000 vehicles annually as a result.

“I’ve said it before Holden’s business plan is not based on exporting cars like it was several years ago when we would have had about 50 per cent as exports.

“With the fluctuations in currency and the fluctuations in demand in export markets, we have to be able to live on our own volume in this country, and exports – whether they be police cars, Commodores, Caprices or Cruzes – have to be the icing on the cake, not the ingredients in a cake.”

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