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HSV heads to Singapore

Going to the island: HSV's export deal has been 18 months in the making.

Singapore export deal announced as HSV recommences overseas vehicle shipments

26 Nov 2010

HOLDEN Special Vehicles (HSV) has announced its first export program since UK shipments of the superseded E2 range ceased almost a year ago, confirming GoAuto’s exclusive report in September that it has signed an export deal with Singapore.

The official Holden hot-shop’s new VEII Commodore-based E3 range will go on display in the heart of the island nation’s premium automotive trade from Monday (November 29), in a new “world-class” showroom established by importer Harvest Automobiles of Singapore at 3 Leng Kee Rd.

The release of HSV’s model range in Singapore will be marked by a gala launch event at Singapore’s Changi Exhibition Centre, adjacent to Changi Airport, attended by Australia’s high commissioner to Singapore, Doug Chester.

HSV will then enlist the services of V8 Supercar stars Garth Tander and Greg Murphy, who will hold driver training exercises and passenger rides at a purpose-built track at the Changi Exhibition Centre the following day.

20 center imageFrom top: HSV GTS, HSV Tourer, HSV Maloo, HSV Senator, HSV managing director Phil Harding.

“We have taken the opportunity to launch the brand properly in the Singaporean market and we are excited by the support from the Australian high commissioner and his staff, as well as the world class facility that the Changi Exhibition Centre represents,” said HSV general manager of sales Darren Bowler, who established HSV’s relationship with Harvest.

Neither HSV nor Harvest has revealed how many vehicles will be involved in the export deal, which has been 18 months in the making and follows a visit by senior HSV executives and top HSV dealers to Harvest’s facilities around the time of the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on September 25 - just days after the E3’s Australian launch.

However, Harvest Automobiles managing director Daniel Au said the first shipment of Singapore-bounds HSVs was already a sell-out and GoAuto understands HSV expects up to 50 sales a year, despite prohibitive taxes on car sales.

“I have long been familiar with Holden Special Vehicles and when we were looking at expanding our line-up of brands I felt it was a great opportunity,” said Mr Au.

“I am very confident that the car culture of Singapore will be very excited about this niche offering and I have already sold my first allocation of vehicles.

“For the first 12 months it will be all about getting the brand established and delivering great service. We believe there is significant scope to grow as long as we deliver a premium sales and service experience.

“Our clients know HSV is a niche vehicle and expect the special attention that comes with this type of purchase. We are gearing ourselves up to deliver.”

HSV managing director Phil Harding said Singaporeans would be given access only the most highly specified E3 models in a deal that marked a new beginning for HSV exports.

“This is really exciting for a couple of reasons,” he said. “Firstly, it shows that we are beginning to overcome the export challenges that came about as a result of the GFC – people are becoming more confident around starting new business ventures.

“Secondly, it shows that a home-grown performance vehicle can find niche markets in a variety of international settings.

“The request from Harvest is for the highest specification possible. With the recent launch of E3 we are pleased that our exceptional list of features are now able to meet the demands of this new customer base.

“In addition, all the vehicles heading for Singapore will all be fully optioned with our SV enhancements.”

Like the VEII and WMII line-up upon which it is based, the 2011 E-Series range, which went on sale in Australia and New Zealand in October, offers a fresh interior plus several high-tech driver aids.

As we reported in September, HSV is also negotiating a resumption of exports to Britain, where the global financial crisis and subsequent near-demise of General Motors subsidiary Vauxhall effectively stalled sales of the ClubSport-based Vauxhall VXR8 last year.

Although the car is still available in the UK, HSV has not shipped any vehicles to Britain since January this year as Vauxhall and sister company Opel restructured after parent company GM came close to selling them off.

HSV, which has sold some 900 cars on the British market since it began exporting its version of the VZ Monaro coupe – the Vauxhall Monaro VXR – in 2006, hopes the more sophisticated E3 will trigger new interest from both Britain and the Middle East.

It also expects the new range to help the company to 3900 sales this year – up from 3090 last year, but down on HSV’s record of 5200 units in 2007 – before the GFC and when the VE-based HSV E Series was brand-new.

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