Earlier this year, Holden announced it would begin to import Opel’s high performance VXR models to Australia, beginning with the Insignia and Astra VXR. More high-performance European models will arrive on the shores of Oz down the road, and Opel performance manager Wilfriend Diehl is concerned the move may rob sales of Holden’s own high-performance HSV sub-brand.
Diehl’s main concern over HSV is that VXR “does the same job,” and will rob HSV of their already miniscule sales of 3,000 units per year. HSV boss Tim Jackson proudly proclaimed the “future is bright,” for the company beyond 2017, when Holden will cease production of the popular Commodore, however Diehl’s words paint a darker picture.
“We will be cutting their (HSV’s) grass, yes,” Diehl told Wheels. “If a new model comes into the market somebody is going to lose market share. And because HSV has the same attitude towards its cars as we do to our performance models, they will compete.”
“I know Australians will choose our cars so I hope we will create new customers and HSV isn’t affected, but it really is the same type of product,” he added.
The Commodore, which is the core of HSV’s business, will likely be replaced by the next-generation Insignia beyond 2017. A VXR variant of that car is bound to arrive in the country, so it will be up to HSV to offer a product different enough from VXR’s so the two don’t overlap completely.
HSV said it would stay focused on delivering performance cars to its many passionate customers, whether the V8 Commodore is around or not. The brand could be tasked with importing and adding a bit of Australian flare to future rear-wheel drive models imported into the country from the United States, like the Camaro or Corvette, for example. HSV could also find a niche by offering models that are faster and more hardcore than VXR’s.
Holden said it’s up to HSV to create a product lineup which will still be appealing to customers when VXR is around and the Commodore has departed.
“HSV can speak for itself about where its product is pitched,” Holden corporate affairs director George Svigos said. “But we’re looking forward to bringing the VXR product in.”