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Detroit show: Holden design takes centre stage

Going global: GM Holden’s design studio designed the Adra concept – revealed at the Delhi motor show this year – in collaboration with GM India.

Holden’s design studio involved in mystery Detroit show car

19 Dec 2014

AUSTRALIAN automotive design is set to take centre stage at the Detroit motor show in January with the debut of an as-yet-unidentified vehicle penned at GM Holden’s design studio.

GoAuto understands that General Motors Design Australia has had a hand in the vehicle, but it is unclear if it was a solo effort or if one of GM’s other studios was involved.

While Cadillac and Chevrolet are the only two GM brands confirmed for the massive American auto show, the mystery car is likely to be carrying Chevy badges when the covers come off next month.

The only model that Chevrolet has confirmed for its Detroit stand in January is the second-generation Volt range-extender hybrid.

However, GM executives have hinted that the 2016 Malibu mid-sizer could surface there.

The Malibu has been spotted testing in Germany, and is expected to go into production within a year in at least two locations, North America and South Korea.

As GoAuto has reported, Holden has also helped out on a facelift of the current Malibu for the Chinese market, with disguised cars spotted testing in Melbourne this year.

If the Detroit show car points to a production vehicle, it could potentially be a global model, given that vehicles built for emerging markets are generally more likely to appear at auto shows in those particular markets, such as China, India or Brazil.

GoAuto reported in January this year that GM Design Australia was working on two concept cars for international motor shows, but the vehicle that was mooted for a New York show debut in April never surfaced.

Whether the Detroit show car is the one pulled from New York’s schedule remains to be seen.

As one of only three GM design studios capable of taking a design from sketch to completed product, Holden’s design team has had a hand in numerous concepts, with the most recent example being the rugged Chevrolet Niva compact SUV from the Moscow motor show.

The Niva was fabricated at the Melbourne design studio on a design penned by former Holden designer Ondrej Koromhaz. Mr Koromhaz was also responsible for the design of the current-generation Holden Barina/Chevrolet Aveo light car during his tenure at GM Korea.

As well, Chevrolet ripped the covers off the Adra crossover concept at the Delhi motor show in February, revealing a collaboration between GM Holden and GM India.

Apart from specific projects for GM, Holden’s design centre – one of 10 in GM’s network – also contributes design themes for all GM brands around the world.

The Victorian design centre was spared the axe after GM Holden announced it would shut its local manufacturing operation in 2017 and become a full-line importer.

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