Holden to play ‘key role’ in European models

Holden will have a voice with future European-sourced Opel models, which will make up at least a third of the brand’s future sales

Opel Monza concept

HOLDEN will have a voice with future European-sourced Opel models, which will make up at least a third of the brand’s future sales.

Speaking at the 2015 Geneva motor show, Opel board member and vice-president of communications, Johan Willems, said Holden would have a say on future model development.

“I am sure that Holden will play a key role … for the products that are coming there,” said Mr Willems.

“There is [currently] input – I know that for a fact.”

He said Opel was keen to capitalise on the interest from global expansion markets such as Australia by listening and producing more appealing vehicles.

“On engines, Holden wants certain, specific things and we will see what we can accommodate, within the portfolio and within what is reasonable,” said Willems.

“We won’t be successful [growing sales and expanding into new markets] if we don’t allow a say.”

No doubt a high performance model of the Insignia – widely tipped to be the first imported car that wears a Commodore badge in Australia – will be high on Holden’s wish list. However, it’s understood a V8 is not available for that model, leaving a twin-turbo V6 as the most likely hero model.

GM regional boss Stefan Jacoby confirmed at January’s Detroit motor show that the next-generation Commodore – expected to be a rebadged version of the European-sourced Opel Insignia – was already being partially developed in Australia.

“We are driving this car already in Lang Lang,” said Jacoby at the time.

“We understand what Commodore is and we understand that better than anybody else and it is very obvious that the Commodore successor needs to be stronger than today’s model – and we will do everything to do that, with modern technology.”

Last week, Holden chief designer Richard Ferlazzo confirmed the imported Commodore was in the final months of its Australian design overhaul, with only minor tweaks to the locally made car's replacement remaining.

Commodore production is set to finish by the end of 2017 as the Australian car manufacturing industry winds down.

 

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