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Forging forward: As the Pontiac GTO, the Monaro has cultivated a cult following in America.

Reborn Monaro could receive a new lease of life as Holden expands global design role

9 Dec 2005

AN ALL-NEW Monaro coupe could be designed in Australia after Holden’s design director Tony Stolfo yesterday confirmed that a future performance vehicle for North America was on the agenda of an expanded Port Melbourne design studio.

Speaking at a news conference announcing that Holden’s design centre would assume key global roles in designing and engineering General Motors vehicles outside Australia, Mr Stolfo also said the company could be involved in designing a new hatchback for the Asia-Pacific region.

"We’ve certainly done some non-Holden design before now, but it’s always been ad hoc – from today, that capability becomes part of GM Design’s DNA," he said.

"It means that we can potentially apply our skills to any GM brand in the world – (and) it means a future performance vehicle for North America or a hatchback for Asia-Pacific could be partly or wholly designed right here in Port Melbourne." Holden currently ships the VZ Commodore-based Monaro to the United States as a Pontiac GTO and will continue to do so for an indefinite period. No decision has been made on whether a new-generation Monaro, which would most likely be built upon the forthcoming VE Commodore’s Zeta architecture, will be produced either in Australia or the United States.

To accelerate the growing importance of the Holden design group, GM Holden will add another 69 designers to its team, lifting numbers from 107 to 176. In doing so, it will become the third-largest design facility in GM’s global empire behind its Detroit (US) and Russelsheim (Germany) centres.

GM vice-president global design, Ed Welburn, was also in Melbourne yesterday.

13 center image"This decision means the coming of age for GM Holden Design, its place in the GM design world and frankly, the world of design in general," he said.

"Holden has earned its place at the table through delivering internationally successful production cars as well as breathtaking concept cars over the past few years." Mr Welburn said Holden offered strategic benefits as it would work with the other key centres in the US and Europe to deliver around-the-clock design potential.

Mr Stolfo (left) said Holden would seek to recruit technical experts in each of seven key disciplines – technical design, colour and trim, creative design, digital sculpting, modelling and fabrication, design quality and visualisation.

"This takes GM Holden Design to a new level. We’re no longer just a GM Holden design team, we’re part of a global design team," he said.

"It’s just amazing to think about what that says about this country’s creativity. From today, it says we can create cars for just about anyone, anywhere."

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