Holden has announced the return of Opel-sourced models to its range, after Opel left Australia last year.
The Astra GTC and VXR (formerly Opel Astra OPC) hatchbacks will be reintroduced as Holden badge vehicles in the first half of 2015. Joining them will be the Insignia VXR performance sedan and the sleek Cascada convertible, the latter introduced for the first time in Australia.
General Motors Executive Vice President and President, GM International Operations (GMIO) Stefan Jacoby joined Holden Chairman and Managing Director Gerry Dorizas at a press conference at Holden HQ in Port Melbourne today to make the announcement.
Mr Jacoby said the announcement of these Opel models joining Holden’s portfolio demonstrated that the company would continue to bring the best possible products from GM’s product portfolio to Australian customers to support a strong future for Holden, after its decision to cease manufacturing in Australia in 2017.
“Holden is one of the strongest brands in Australia and the introduction of the Astra, Cascada and Insignia to the portfolio in 2015 will be a great addition,” Mr Jacoby said.
“We are determined to offer Australian and New Zealand customers the best possible products that we can source from our global operations, as we build a strong future for Holden.”
“GM is dedicated to building strong brands that connect with our customers. Holden and GM are undergoing a transformation that is committed to driving our markets toward success. We are focused on the long-term fundamentals, such as ensuring Holden retains its proud Australian identity and provides customers with the best possible cars.”
“It’s critical we focus on consumer and market-driven product strategies that enable global scale while engaging customers at a local-market level. The Astra, Cascada and Insignia are proof positive of our strategy.”
Mr Dorizas said the commitment to performance and quality evident in the three Europe-sourced models aligned with Holden’s heritage and brand.
“Astra, Cascada and Insigina will be niche vehicles in terms of volume for our company, and their performance credentials and premium execution are a perfect match for Holden and will provide yet more fantastic choice for our customers,” Mr Dorizas said.
“We are building a strong future for Holden by focusing on our customers, our dealers, our employees and our products.”
Along with the announcement, Holden has also confirmed it will retain its iconic Lang Lang Proving Ground post-2017 for local engineering and development.
This announcement means that post-2017, Holden will not only retain its Lang Lang Proving Ground in Victoria but will host a design, engineering and product development workforce in Australia. Holden’s engineering and vehicle development team will continue use Lang Lang to tune suspension, steering and drivetrain characteristics for Australia’s unique conditions and customers.
The Lang Lang team will also remain plugged in to GM’s global engineering department, with ongoing input into product programs that reach beyond Holden and influence GM vehicles around the world. GM’s Australia Design Centre will also continue to help shape not just future Holdens but GM vehicles around the globe.
“Whether it’s earned on the Proving Ground or created in the GM Australia Design Centre, Holden will keep its proud Australian identity,” Mr Jacoby said.
“This is an important step in ensuring that Holden and its products continue to speak with a strong Australian accent now and in the future. The world over, everything starts and ends with great product.”
“Our continued investment in the Proving Ground and the GM Australia Design Centre reinforces the strength of the Holden brand and the company’s commitment to maintaining a significant presence in Australia.”
“The Australian design and engineering capability is also a critical asset for GM globally. This local team is a key part of our global design and engineering strategy for the future.”
Located approximately 95km south-east of Melbourne, operations commenced at Holden’s Lang Lang Proving Ground in August 1957. Lang Lang has been the testing ground for every locally-produced Holden from the FC model of 1958 right up to the current VF Commodore range, launched in May 2013.
The Lang Lang facility includes 44km of sealed and un-sealed roads designed for specific vehicle development and general durability testing. This road system includes a 4.7km banked high-speed track, a ‘twist’ course for steering and chassis tuning, a ‘noise road’ for vehicle refinement development, hill test roads and a skid pan.
|Holden Astra GTC||Holden Astra VXR|
|3-door hatch||3-door hatch|
|1.6L turbo petrol engine||2.0L turbo petrol engine|
|6-speed manual and automatic transmission||6-speed manual transmission|
|Front-wheel drive||Front-wheel drive|
|On-sale first half 2015||On-sale first half 2015|
|Holden Cascada||Insignia VXR|
|2-door convertible||4-door sedan|
|1.6L turbo petrol engine||2.8L turbo V6 engine|
|6-speed manual and automatic transmission||6-speed automatic transmission|
|Front-wheel drive||All-wheel drive|
|On-sale first half 2015||On-sale first half 2015|