Despite the Holden Commodore’s expiration as we know it, General Motors Design Australia is planning to lead the way forward to put Australia on the map.
However, we’d say it already has. GM Design Australia has produced numerous breathtaking concepts in the very recent past. One only needs to look to the gorgeous Efijy concept, the Buick Avenir or the Opel GT to know Holden hides its muscles in design.
Stuff sat down with Richard Ferlazzo, head of GM Design Australia, to talk about Holden’s relevance in the future despite its homegrown Commodore hero. As far as Ferlazzo is concerned, Holden and GM Design Australia are just getting started.
“The reason we can’t outsource is geography,” says Ferlazzo. “We can’t outsource [building concept cars], so as a result we are experts at it!” The only design studios in the entire world capable of building a concept vehicle are in Detroit, Michigan and Port Melbourne, Australia. This puts GM Design Australia in an incredible position.
GM Design Australia actually packages the entire vehicle instead of merely drawing it, one of the reasons it was tasked with the Avenir, Bolt and GT concepts. Even though some of the actual design did not originate from Australia, the design hub is responsible for bringing it all to life.
“It was under their direction, so we aren’t trying to take credit for the design,” said Ferlazzo regarding the Opel GT. “But we certainly had input into it, especially in terms of refinement.
“In terms of the build, that was all up to us. We had to develop the way the car was assembled, the electric opening doors – the door is one piece and opens all the way to the wheel arch. We built it on a space frame and did it entirely from scratch.”
GM Design Australia will also have a very important role in the future, too: making Holdens look like Holdens. It’s been said before that the design studio will have a key role in making international vehicles feel more at home within Holden.
“We work with all the GM brands,” said Ferlazzo. “We have input into the vehicles that are sold in Australia and New Zealand, or we have input into vehicles that are not sold here. We are part of a huge network of global studios.”