News - Walkinshaw
GMSV officially confirmed for Australia
Corvette still coming as GM Specialty Vehicles set to replace HSV in fourth quarter
18 Aug 2020
By TERRY MARTIN
GENERAL Motors has today confirmed its GM Specialty Vehicles (GMSV) operation will launch in Australia and New Zealand in the fourth quarter of this year in partnership with Walkinshaw Automotive Group – a move that will see GMSV replace Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) as the historic Holden lion brand completes its exit from the marketplace.
The US auto giant will own and run the GMSV business, retaining the Walkinshaw group as its right-hand-drive conversion specialist – as seen with the current Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck and Camaro sportscar – while the majority of HSV dealers are expected to be given the opportunity to take on the GMSV franchise.
GMSV will launch with only the Silverado 1500 LTZ and has confirmed that the Chevrolet Corvette supercar is now scheduled to arrive before the end of next year, imported in factory-built right-hand-drive configuration for the first time.
A new locally converted 2500 version of the Silverado is also expected next year.
GM Holden interim chairman and managing director Kristian Aquilina said in a statement that the GMSV announcement “represents an important new investment by GM in Australia”.
“This new venture directly adds sales, marketing and aftersales roles to GM’s 200-strong presence in Australia, and indirectly supports over 150 skilled engineering and manufacturing jobs at our partner (Walkinshaw) in Victoria,” he said.
“The initial product line-up will feature the latest Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ, with other derivatives, including the Silverado 2500 and spectacular mid-engine Corvette anticipated to follow in 2021.”
Walkinshaw Automotive Group director Ryan Walkinshaw said the company looked forward to working closely with GM on a variety of future models and projects.
Walkinshaw will also continue to work with other companies, such as Ateco Group for which it remanufactures Ram pick-up trucks. Ateco has factory support for the venture from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the US.
“We’re pleased to continue our 33-year association with GM through their new venture GMSV,” Mr Walkinshaw said.
“We’re able to keep significant automotive employment in Victoria through this new business and continue to bring exciting product to market which is core to the Walkinshaw group’s DNA.
“We’ve developed unique engineering expertise in producing OEM-standard right-hand-drive conversions at scale, and we look forward to working closely with GMSV in this new era.
“We’d also like to thank both the Detroit and local teams of GM for their support in this transition in a very difficult external environment.
“Our business has now successfully pivoted to a contract manufacturing and engineering company for multiple customers. We can apply our whole organisation’s expertise and experience to help deliver first-class results for our customers, as is evident most recently with the success and growth in the full-size truck market.
“We look forward to working with our customers including GMSV to continue to grow, and to continue to invest in our community by providing more employment opportunities.”
Mr Walkinshaw, whose late father Tom established HSV in 1987, said the company was “committed to preserving HSV’s integrity and heritage, and ensure it remains the pinnacle of Australian motoring”.
“HSV has enjoyed an extremely successful journey through more than 30 years of Australian automotive history,” he said.
“HSV’s engineering feats and ground-breaking designs captured the hearts of Australians, creating a wide and loyal fan base.
“This includes the production of over 85,000 HSVs starting with our first Commodore models, through to W1 and the SportsCat.
“The HSV dealer network will continue to service HSV product and to supply warranty, spare parts and accessories to our customers into the future.”
The head of GMSV in Australia/New Zealand will be experienced GM/Holden executive Joanne Stogiannis.
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