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Holden can build Camry rival in Oz

Mid-heir: Buick LaCrosse unveiled at this week's Detroit show.

GM flexibility means coming mid-sizer could be built alongside new Holden small car

Holden logo14 Jan 2009

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in DETROIT

HOLDEN has revealed that it will soon have the capability to build the next-generation medium-sized vehicle in Australia if it chooses to.

GM Holden chairman and managing director Mark Reuss told GoAuto at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that a high level of platform flexibility had been engineered in all future GM products to facilitate changes and additions with minimal expense and delay.

“What we’re doing with Epsilon is the same as with Delta (GM's compact front-drive platform),” Mr Reuss said.

“If you look at the Buick LaCrosse (GM’s new mid-sized sedan designed primarily for Asia), it is uniquely Buick. And if you look at it next to the Opel Insignia, you will think: ‘what a marvellous suite of alternatives to create different entries for different markets’ and that’s what it is (with the upcoming Epica replacement) as well.

“When we tooled our small-car for Australia in Elizabeth, we provided for what’s called a ‘layer build’, which is quite different from the ‘modular build’ on VE.

 center imageLeft: Opel Insignia.



“So we are now capable of building any of these layer build architectures in Australia, in Elizabeth, when we want to.

“We can do that with reasonably low cost, so when we tool something and we make the conversion in the body shop for the layer build, it brings up all kinds of alternatives.” Mr Reuss emphasised that the new breed of smaller vehicles being developed in Australia did not impact the Zeta-platform VE or WM vehicles that share the same South Australian facility.

“We are capable of building Epsilon cars and other kinds of layer build products in the global portfolio of GM. Alongside the VE, by the way, and not replacing it in the plant,” he said.

The Holden boss was also keen to assure sceptics of the recently-announced small-car strategy at Elizabeth that, once they see the big picture, the decision to go with the smaller vehicles would be clear.

“I can’t disclose all our future model plans, obviously,” he said.

“But people who doubt whether it is a good thing for us to be building a small car in Elizabeth, and the government assistance we received with the Green Car Innovation Fund, don’t know the extent possible that we can really dial in fuel economy, alternative fuel cars, hybrids and everything else, because they don’t know our future product plans.

“The runway that we can create in that plant should not be underestimated.”

Read more:

Holden to build all-new small car from 2010

Detroit show: Buick fronts up with LaCrosse

Insignia set for Oz


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