Holden, General Motors’ Australian subsidiary, doesn’t build cars anymore, but it’s had a major hand in making sure its imported cars suit Australian consumers and local roads.
Motoring reported on Monday that the brand has no plans to scrap local tuning for future Holden cars. The news comes amid a major sales slump at the Holden brand, though the division did turn a profit last year. Since the end of local Australian production of the VF Commodore, the imported ZB Commodore (an Opel Insignia), Holden Equinox, and Astra have failed to take off.
The brand’s managing director, Mark Bernhard, recently admitted Holden remains in a ho-hum state.
Holden vehicle development manager Jeremy Tassone told Motoring that despite the challenges, his 35-strong team remains committed to ensuring imported cars drive like a Holden.
“It is a unique selling point, it is a strength of ours and it is something we can leverage,” he said.
GM and Holden remain committed, too. The brand recently invested $7 million AUD ($5.25 million USD) into the Lang Lang Proving Ground facility to resurface the circular track. Lang Lang will also play a roll in GM’s global emission testing.
Despite the local work, Tassone said false perceptions irk he and his team.
“The keyboard warriors piss us off, the social media commenters,” he said. “There are all these people who have all these opinions without having driven the cars. We are proud of what the cars are. That’s what keeps us coming to work and doing what we do.”
Next on Holden’s import list will be the 2018 GMC Acadia, which will keep the Acadia name and serve as a large SUV model in the brand’s portfolio.