General Motors Vice President of International Relations Stefan Jacoby offered up a state of admittance to press during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Speaking to a crowd of journalists, the man credited with shutting down local Australian operations admitted that the customer uncertainty that has followed the announcement has been much more serious than expected reports Motoring.
“I was the one who decided to stop production in Australia.” Jacoby said. He went on saying, “The decision was made on a business case. I have underestimated the uncertainty of our customers and we will identify that and correct that.”
Part of this correction process will be the inclusion of a new rear-wheel drive V8 powered hero car for Holden, either the Chevrolet Camaro or Corvette Stingray.
The inclusion of a V8 powered sports coupe will give a much needed boost in morale to local Australians, as will significant input from Holden designers and engineers on the upcoming Commodore replacement being co-developed with Germany’s Opel.
Looking at the sales numbers following the announcement of Holden’s manufacturing closures, the brand suffered a colossal 5.3 percent drop in vehicle sales. Large in comparison to the industry average 2 percent. Add in the fact that many local Aussies equate the ceased manufacturing to the death of the roaring lion, and you can probably see why Jacoby is going public on the facts.
When Holden announced it would cease production in December of 2013, the story hit every local media source in a whirlwind, plastering the news all over Aussie newspapers, TV and websites. Now, Jacoby is reassuring the Australian public that new Holden products will arrive with a distinct Aussie flavor.
“We believe Holden is an iconic brand and we want to strengthen the Holden brand. What is important is to clarify our commitment to Holden,” stated Jacoby, referring to better supporting GM’s Australian arm with innovative right-hand drive vehicles, of which an increasing number which will come from Europe.
Jacoby again reiterated that one third of the Holden lineup will be sourced from Opel, stating the German brand will make “great donor right-hand drive [cars].” He also noted Holden would rely less and less on Asian imports, quite possibly signaling an end to the Holen Barina, aka the Chevrolet Sonic in the country.
What we can take away from Jacoby’s quotes is this: any vehicle heading to Oz will be truly tailored for Aussie buyers. This means big things in the handling and driving characteristics of its vehicles, since the land down under most definitely isn’t the same as Western Europe where many of its new vehicles will come from.
In this respect, Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground and engineering team will be crucial.