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Holden design chief ‘excited’ about the future

Cruising: Holden Design has been working on a future model based on the same Delta platform as the new Cruze.

Holden Design will continue to play a key role in local and global vehicles: Stolfo

2 Mar 2009

GM HOLDEN will continue to play a fundamental role in the design of vehicles for the Australian and global markets, despite major restructuring in General Motors.

Speaking to GoAuto at the Melbourne International Motor Show last week, GM Holden design director Tony Stolfo said there was a focus on making Holden sustainable in Australia with models such as the forthcoming 2010 Cruze-based small car, with which the design team has had some influence, but emphasised that his team also remained involved in a range of international programs.

This is despite the cancellation of programs such as the Australian-based Pontiac ute, and downsizing at the Port Melbourne-based design centre.

“We’ve had very strong messages from our leadership up through North America that Holden is a viable operation going forward and that Holden design is a creative design organisation that is of value and is relative to GM global design – and will feed not only the local region here but will feed the Asia-Pacific region and the global region,” Mr Stolfo said.

 center image Left: Holden Design Director Tony Stolfo, and below Pontiac G8 ST ute.

“You’ve got to look ahead. There are some fantastic things that I know are happening within the studios in terms of making the products relevant going forward. Where we are (now) – this is really a rebuild of the organisation, and it’s a great opportunity, an exciting time, and in the studios there is a feeling of optimism about the future.

“We’re working on programs for Brazil, Korea, China, even Opel, and obviously North America as well. We’ve all got our own finger in the pie. And it’s critical, because we really need to make sure that whatever cars are being designed in Korea are relevant for here, relevant for North American markets, and so on.”

Mr Stolfo described the difficulty of working on export programs, given the volatile economic conditions. However, he also mentioned that there were a number of programs running in the design studio – which will be neither engineered nor built in Australia – that showed Holden was still involved in the global creative process.

“It’s more a case of bringing programs home and making sure they’re relevant to where we want to go as an organisation,” he said.

“In fact, we’re buzzing in the studio. We’ve got a strong sense of optimism. Sure, we’ve got some hard challenges ahead of us through this year and potentially into next. No one’s walking away from those challenges. But in terms of optimism about our future, yeah absolutely, we’re excited about it.”

Read more:

Melbourne show: Holden comes clean on Cruze

The Road to Recovery podcast series

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