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HSV enhancement, conversion programs to continue

Camaro, Silverado, Colorado SportsCat the first steps in HSV’s latest model rollout

1 Oct 2018

HOLDEN Special Vehicles (HSV) has reaffirmed its plans to enhance future General Motors models, including the possible factory right-hand-drive Camaro sportscar, while also continuing to expand its conversion programs.


Speaking to GoAuto last week at the Camaro 2SS national media in Victoria, HSV managing director Tim Jackson suggested that the sportscar’s re-manufacturing would not be pointless if GM moves to offer the next-generation model in RHD from the factory.


“If at some point in the future GM decided to do a straight-out-of-the-factory right-hand drive, I think we’d be doing what we’ve traditionally done in the HSV space and look for opportunities to enhance and develop that vehicle,” he said.


As such, Mr Jackson explained that HSV’s business model will continue to feature two product streams, enhanced and re-manufactured, meaning it will not move on from what helped it rise to prominence.


“We still see ourselves being in the enhancement space as well as the re-manufacturing space,” he said. “If you look at where we see the opportunities for us in the marketplace, there’s that truck space and performance-coupe space, so I think our focus is extending that approach.”


With HSV launching the Colorado SportsCat and the Chevrolet Silverado pick-ups this year, and now the Camaro 2SS, stage one of its relaunch is more or less complete, but Mr Jackson was coy about what form the next step will take.


“Not that I’ll spend too much time explaining what that looks like, but I’ll say phase one’s not quite over,” he said. “A lot of the preparation for that is done.


“I’ll explain it without getting specific. We’ve got to keep delivering great product – that’s our job – in a way that people see the value and are willing to pay.


“I don’t see us, at least in the immediate future, branching outside of the existing segments we’re in now, but we’ll continue to evolve the product in those segments over time.”


When questioned if HSV would look to enhance an SUV model from GM’s line-up, given their surging popularity, Mr Jackson was open to but cautious about the idea.


“If the pieces of the puzzle came together where it makes sense, yes,” he said. “It’s a slightly more crowded space.”


Mr Jackson was upbeat, however, about HSV being able to expand its customer reach with its new model line-up, despite the disappointment from owners of the former Commodore-based models.


“We’re bringing new customers to the brand,” he said. “For those guys who have been the traditionalists, I want the four-door, fully Australian-built car, ground up, (and) all that sort of stuff, that’s no longer available.


“But I think Camaro brings some of those guys with us. We are building a new customer base along the way.


“There’s a set of customers who would happily have us keep doing Commodores forever and a day, but that’s just not viable.


“It’s not something we can do any more, so part of our job is to go, how do we apply our skills and bring new customers and explore new segments, and that’s effectively what we’re doing.”


Mr Jackson suggested that HSV critics should take a deeper look and consider that the company is in fact multifaceted, with its model line-up now more reflective of market demand.


“The external view is we’re the performance-car company,” he said. “If you slip underneath that, there’s a whole bunch of skills and capabilities and passion for certain product that exists in our organisation, and you’re seeing that expressed in different product now.


“Obviously Camaro’s more closer to what we’d traditionally expect, but you walk through our business (and) everyone loves Silverado. It’s an awesome truck.


“We’re applying our skills in different ways, and it’s meeting how the market has moved. When we first started doing Commodore, it was 31 years ago, (and) it’s a very different market now.


“While it’s a transition that’s been forced upon us in many ways, it’s also one that maybe we should have also been looking at and evolving faster on the way through, (rather) than having a significant event that we needed to (respond to).”


As reported, HSV entered a new five-year agreement with now-full-line importer GM Holden in December last year, meaning their partnership will extend to at least 35 years, before options.

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