Opinion: The future of HSV

As HSV turns 30, it’s peculiarly both at the top of its game and facing an uncertain future


Normally when you turn 30, it’s something everybody else is strangely more interested in celebrating than you are. And all sorts of worrying thoughts start to enter your mind.

Should I drink less? Should I now get up early on weekends? Am I spending too much money on my car? Where did this paunch come from? Maybe this is all just me.

But for a company, turning 30 is an incredible milestone. I’d love to know the odds of a given business reaching 30 years of continuous operation – surely they’d be grossly outnumbered by those that have failed.

And so congratulations to Holden Special Vehicles for reaching this point; frankly, it doesn’t feel like a huge deal, as HSV seems in great health, at the top of its game, making some of the best and most polished cars it ever has.

HSV Walkinshaw Group A VL SS Commodore
But of course, as HSV is at the highest of highs, it’s about to go through its biggest transition ever. There can’t be many companies that are forced to change tack away from what has been a hugely successful course.

For HSV that’s been rear-drive, relatively affordable Aussie muscle cars – indeed, the foundation of its business – and one that hardly appears to be in decline.

At this point, we actually don’t know HSV’s plans to prosper for another 30 years. There’s no shortage of speculation about what it will do. Apparently, a V8 won’t fit in the new imported Commodore (we wonder if they’ve tried...) and managing director Tim Jackson has spoken a lot about “transformation”.

Australians are going gaga for dual-cab utes; the Ford Focus RS has proven popular and HSV has had a crack at an Astra hot hatch before; and part of the HSV factory is used for converting enormous RAM trucks to right-hand drive en masse, hopefully proving the viability of other left- to right-hand drive pursuits.

HSV group shot rolling
We’re not giving you dots to join, rather it’s clear that if HSV wants to reimagine itself, there are opportunities to do so.

Not only does it have brand power others can only dream up, but if its new products and projects are anything like the current range of Aussie-built, Commodore-based cars, which will be so sadly missed – and departing this world long before their time is up – HSV will be just fine. It just might look very different.


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