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Small car just speculation

Redesigned: Chev Cruze is expected to replace Holden's Viva.

Holden boss dismisses as speculation our report it could build the Cruze small-car

Holden logo14 Oct 2008

By MARTON PETTENDY

HOLDEN has described as “speculation” a GoAuto report that last week revealed as little more than embryonic its plans to manufacture a second car line in Adelaide.

As we reported last week, AMWU sources have revealed Holden is in the early stages of a plan to produce a smaller model at its Elizabeth assembly plant, which we understand will be a small car based on the Chevrolet Cruze, which will replace the current Daewoo-sourced Viva.

GM Holden chairman and managing director Mark Reuss confirmed it was technically possible for Elizabeth to manufacture a second model line and, when questioned on the matter at last week’s Sydney motor show, said his company was actively seeking additional production business.

“We could build a lot of different cars in a plant as flexible as Adelaide, yes,” he said. “We always look at adding variants to our production facility. We look at export programs. We look at new products. We do that every day.”

Asked if he expected the factory’s production, which is currently running at near capacity, to decline, Mr Reuss said: “No, not at all. We’ve got a good exchange rate right now.

“(But) You’ve always got to look to the future, you know. I never want to make any kind of capacity or engineering decision based on today. You’ve got to look to tomorrow – that’s what we try and do.”

Mr Reuss’ comments echo those he made in June, when he said Holden was always looking for additional product opportunities to build and manufacture locally.

“While right now we make a large rear-wheel drive sedan, we have a lot of opportunity to do other different product offerings if we choose to do that in Australia.

 center imageLeft: Chevrolet Orlando



“We have to be competitive here to do it. We are, so those discussions are part of our future product planning activity,” he said in June, following surprise revelations the previous month from GM Asia Pacific president boss Nick Reilly, who said small-car production was feasible in Adelaide in the long-term.

“I think the first thing we would do is look to see what would be good volume down here, what possibly we might be able to export from here as well, and we would make a choice on what we were going to do here based on what the market wants,” said Mr Reilly in May.

“And so if that happened to be something that was produced in Korea or elsewhere then we’d stop producing it up there and make it down here.

“It could be though something that is not already produced there. (But) the fact that it could be coming in from Korea today would not stop us from producing it here.”

Holden announced last week that its technical centre at Port Melbourne produced the compact Chevrolet Orlando SUV-MPV concept, which made its world debut at the Paris motor show opening on October 2.

The Orlando show car was designed by GM Daewoo’s styling centre at Bupyeong in South Korea, but shares its small GM Delta platform with both the new Chevrolet Cruze and the next-generation Opel/Vauxhall/Holden Astra.

If the plan reaches fruition, Holden would build the Cruze in Adelaide as a direct rival for Ford’s Focus, the next generation of which will be built at Broadmeadows from 2011, but Mr Reuss was guarded in his comments at Darling Harbour.

“The Cruze is (on) a global platform. You’ve seen that from the Delta global homeroom. The development was done in our global homeroom at Russelsheim for the Cruze.

“The Cruze is a model off a global platform, so I guess I won’t comment on models that haven’t been confirmed to be coming into Australia like the Cruze.”

Read more:

Second car for Holden plant?

‘Aussie’ Orlando

Small car could Join Commodore at Elizabeth


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