The Walkinshaw Group has revealed Holden Special Vehicles lives on under licence in its care, despite the fact that the Holden brand is no more.
While it may seem contradictory, given HSV was born as Holden’s in-house performance arm, a Walkinshaw Group spokesperson told MOTOR during an exclusive interview the iconic brand still actually “exists”.
They said Walkinshaw will continue to honour warranty claims, replacement parts and servicing schedules for customers as the basis for the claim, while also revealing it still operates the brand under licence from General Motors and will for some while.
Walkinshaw Group traditionally has operated HSV under licence from GM’s Holden through Walkinshaw’s subsidiary company Premoso Ltd.
Meanwhile, it's easy to think HSV has been spiritually replaced by the venture between subsidiary Walkinshaw Automotive Group and GM's Specialty Vehicles operation, given its model range will introduce cars like the Chevrolet Corvette, which loosely suit HSV’s niche American V8-bred identity.
In reality, however, the deal is very different to that of HSV.
"We’re separate businesses,” Walkinshaw AG boss Joel Stoddart told MOTOR, when asked if the two would share returns, risks or profits.
“And we [the Walkinshaw Automotive Group] work on a contract basis for the engineering and production for some of the models brought to market by GMSV.”
“We get asked this all the time,” Stoddart said. “We’re focused on the future, and we’ll continue to bring exciting and aspirational product to market.
"Having said that, we’re extremely proud of HSV and it’s enduring impact on the Australian Automotive landscape - and if the right opportunity presents to enhance that, then we’d be silly not to look at it.”
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Stoddart would certainly be the man for the job if a Singer-like HSV ever did appear, revealing to MOTOR he stashed a couple “collectable” HSVs in his garage during his 20 years as chief engineer at HSV.
And it seems that passions still burns brightly.
“We’re car people at Walkinshaw – and that won’t change regardless of what project we’re working on,” he adds when talking about his plans looking forward. “In addition to the passion and expertise we’ve developed over the years, we’ve also got long-standing relationships with GM International.
“We’ve worked with Holden, GM Asia Pacific, GM Brazil and of course GM in North America - I’ve been involved personally with each entity. We have built a great deal of mutual respect and trust over the years, so I expect that to continue."
However, as far as some Australians and Holden loyalists might be concerned, the brand is dead.
The recent Holden closure has spurred some Holden dealers to band together and take legal action against GM, accusing it of phoenixing, or potentially rebirthing an illegal business. GMSV denies this.