Holden is gearing up to launch three new models over the next several months, including the Colorado, Colorado 7 (TrailBlazer), and Volt. What do these vehicles have in common? All three will have a dual-port grille that’s become characteristic of the Chevrolet brand. That, however, is not a sign of a merger between the Holden and Chevrolet brands, according to Holden CEO Mike Devereux. Instead, the two marques will continue to maintain their own brand identities.
Devereux noted in an interview with Australia’s Go Auto that General Motors will not replace Holden with the now-global Chevrolet brand. “There are obvious marketing efficiencies that lend themselves to having one (Chevrolet) brand globally, but frankly we have a stronger brand with Holden in this market than Chevrolet has in many Asian markets”, said Devereux. There “is no reason we would ever want to walk away from that,” said Devereux referring to what Go Auto calls the “power and value of Holden’s brand”.
The merging of the two brands, as originally suggested by yours truly in an Opinion Desk piece last year, has become the subject of a few Holden-related conversations after some noticed the remnants of the Chevy bow tie sticking out from underneath Holden’s roaring lion logo on the Australian-market Volt (pictured). To that end, Devereux explained that re-tooling for a distinct Holden grille for the Volt is not a cost-effective proposition given the low volume nature of the product. However, the reasoning wouldn’t hold much water when it comes to the Colorado, which is expected to be the third best-selling Holden model.
Even so, Devereux mentioned that “smart” solutions are in the works to give Holdens their own face despite the vehicles primarily being designed to be Chevrolets. “Chevrolet is obviously going to dominate the styling exercise,” he said. “I think there are smart ways – which I can’t tell you right now – that we are solving that conundrum going forward.”
In alluding to the “smart” solutions, Devereux may be referring to cross-fitting front- and rear-end treatments, such as those found on the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia and Buick Regal. The vehicles were designed from the ground up to have interchangeable front and rear fascias, complete with common clips and mounting points.
Devereux mentioned that the upcoming Holden Trax subcompact crossover will have a grille unique to Holden; so will the Malibu — which will have a “Holden face”. Both vehicles were created with the global marketplace in mind, where they will be sold as Chevrolets of the same name, except for Australia and New Zealand.
This, according to the executive, would likely result in upcoming vehicles “that absolutely look like Holdens”, while Chevys would looks like… Chevys. “Those things probably won’t converge over time – it’s a complex equation but the right thing is that both brands need their own space.”
The GM Authority Take
The fact that there are only three true Holden model lines remaining (Commodore, Ute, Caprice) and that the rest of the Holden lineup consists of rebadged Chevys may make it a challenge to give those Holdens a distinct look; what will likely take place is an exercise a step above badge engineering, consisting of changing out the badges as well as the light and bumper designs of Chevrolets.
Will this make them distinctly look like Holdens? Perhaps not. But the real question, in our opinion, is whether it matters in the first place.