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HSV unharmed

Show stunner: HSV showed its Grange-based Buick Royaum "Sporty" at the Shanghai motor show this year.

Holden cuts will not hurt HSV, which has forged new deals with China, Opel

HSV logo1 Sep 2005

HOLDEN’S performance vehicles arm HSV will not be affected by GM Holden’s decision to cut its workforce and production levels – and has this week confirmed an export deal to China and the introduction to Australia of a stove-hot hatchback.

HSV sales and marketing director, Chris Payne, told GoAuto this week the Holden go-fast division should continue to realise record sales levels in 2005 and 2006, and confirmed that exports to China of its Grange-based Buick Rouyam werescheduled to commence in December.

He also revealed that the Astra OPC was due to be unveiled on the HSV stand at the Australian International Motor Show in September, with sales commencing soon after (see separate story).

"We forecast our market requirements about three to six months out, so we don’t anticipate there will be any change from an HSV point of view," he told GoAuto. "It will be pretty much business as usual for us."Mr Payne said HSV’s traditional new model launch timing would not change as a result of Holden’s announcement as well as the likelihood that Holden’s VE Commodore would be released later than planned.

"We don’t see any reason for it (launch timing) to change. In the past, HSV has followed the mainstream (Holden) car by as little as a month and as long as three months depending on logistics.

"There’s no reason to expect the timing to be any different from previous model launches in that respect."Mr Payne said HSV had not been directly impacted by the decline of large-car sales and increasing fuel prices.

"I wouldn’t say we haven’t felt it (large car sales decline) but our customer is fairly unique.

"They’re buying the car as a collector’s piece in some cases," he said.

"So despite some of the market indicators, our market is being driven by the availability of a 6.0-litre engine and by the fact that anything in the current climate that’s unique, lifestyle-oriented and perceived as a little different is selling – and I think we’ve been caught up in that."To the end of July, HSV had sold 2243 vehicles – 1.5 per cent up on the same period in 2004.

After forecasting it would produce around 4300 cars this year, it now expects total 2005 sales to be around or slightly up on last year’s record sales figure of 4050 vehicles. The company has forecast a similar figure for 2006.

An increasing slice of its production will be exported, with 320 vehicles already shipped to New Zealand this year, alongside 230 Monaro-based Vauxhall VXR coupes to the UK.

That number is expected to swell to around 320 by the end of 2005, though exports to UK in 2006 are not yet confirmed.

"At this point it (2006 VXR exports) is not absolutely confirmed becausewe’ve not made out final decision about the continuation of the car either forAustralia or for export," he said.

"Our big push at the moment is on export (deals). We’ve had some success on the VXR coupe side of things with Vauxhall, but we also need to generate more business and progressively reduce our total reliance on domestic HSV sales.

"But VXR has been a great addition to our model line-up, so we’re quite pleased – given all the other market indicators and trends – to be actually up, albeit marginally, on last year."

Look out China: here comes HSV

HSV expects to commence exports to China in December following a positive reaction to its Grange-based Buick Rouyam "Sporty" unveiled at the Shanghai motor show earlier this year.

"China’s going to kick off in December, we hope," HSV sales and marketing chief Chris Payne told GoAuto. "The response to the Shanghai car show concept was very good and since then there’s been discussion about the volume and the final specs.

"But it’s not for us to roll that out because ultimately Shanghai General Motors, via the Buick brand, will be the supplier in the chain.

"The car is similar to what was shown at the show, and numbers are estimated to be 100 before year’s end. It’s unconfirmed for next year, but again should be in the 100s, which will be good for HSV business," he said.

China will be HSV’s third export market after NZ and the UK.

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