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No merging of Holden, Chevy brands: Devereux

On the nose: Despite the obvious Chevrolet bow tie emerging from the edges of the Holden badge on the new Volt, General Motors is keen to keep the Holden and Chevy brands separate.

GM committed to Holden brand, seeking ‘smart’ ways to avoid convergence with Chevy

Holden logo15 Jun 2012

HOLDEN is releasing three models that feature a Chevrolet style dual-port grille this year, but the company’s chairman and CEO Mike Devereux suggests this is not indicative of a convergence between the brands said that Holden and Chevrolet will maintain their own brand identities.

He added that there is no way General Motors will walk away from the Holden brand in favour of the now global Chevrolet, despite the “obvious marketing efficiencies that lend themselves to having one brand”.

The just-launched Colorado one-tonne ute, the related Colorado 7 SUV that will arrive in December and Volt range-extender EV all feature the Chevy grille design, with the iconic US brand’s bow tie emerging from the edges of the Holden badge on the latter.

Holden says re-tooling for a separate Volt grille design is not cost-effective as it will be a low-volume niche product, but this argument does not stand for the Colorado, which is expected to become the brand’s third best selling product.

Things look set to return to normal in 2013 when the Trax compact SUV arrives with a specific Holden grille design and Mr Devereux also confirmed next year’s Malibu mid-size sedan will also have a “Holden face”.

In an exclusive interview with GoAuto at the Colorado launch, Mr Devereux reasoned that the dual-port grille “looks great” on the Colorado due to the sheer size of the opening.

“From a Colorado standpoint, I think it looks better with this face on the truck. It is a pretty big front-end, so having one huge front grille on a truck this big, I am not sure it works.”

 center imageFrom top: Holden CEO Mike Devereux Holden Colorado Chevrolet Trailblazer.

The global nature of the Chevrolet product line-up that Holden cherry-picks from for Australia and New Zealand means compromises must be made, but Mr Devereux suggested that “smart” solutions are in the works.

“Chevrolet is obviously going to dominate the styling exercise,” he said. “I think there are smart ways – which I can’t tell you right now – that we are solving that conundrum going forward.”

Mr Devereux could be referring to the development of an in-built ability to apply unique front and rear styling – as Fiat-Chrysler has done with the Dodge Dart, which is transformed into the Fiat Viaggio with just the addition of new bumpers and lights at each end.

“I think going forwards we will see those looks complement each other in a way that we can easily have a Holden-looking vehicle… the way to approach this from a global design standpoint is to have an efficient way of giving us what we need from a Holden.”

Mr Devereux said this would result in future vehicles “that absolutely look like Holdens”, while the same would be true of Chevrolets.

“Those things probably won’t converge over time – it’s a complex equation but the right thing is that both brands need their own space.

“We definitely want them to look and feel like a Holden, and over time we will probably become come very, very smart about how we do that.”

Mr Devereux said the power and value of Holden’s brand in Australia is such that there “is no reason we would ever want to walk away from that”, ruling out the increasingly global Chevrolet brand for this country.

“There are obvious marketing efficiencies that lend themselves to having one (Chevrolet) brand globally, but frankly we have a stronger brand with Holden in this market than Chevrolet has in many Asian markets.

“Frankly when you look at the value of our brand, I think that our announcement to make a billion dollar investment in making things in Australia speaks to GM’s commitment to the value of that brand because you need to be making things in this country if you are going to have a local brand.

“The credibility of that is on the back of an industry of 50,000 employees that makes things, so we need to be a huge part of the economy in order to justify having a local brand.”

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