We’ll open this with a disclaimer. Holden has already responded to the report, first published as an exclusive with Motoring, and said no one has approached Holden, the Australian parliament or General Motors.
But, the story is still too good not to report on. One man, a Mr. Guido Dumarey, has been reportedly showing interest in saving the current Holden manufacturing facility and continuing current 2016 Holden VF Commodore Series II production past the official expiration date.
Dumarey, a Belgian automotive entrepreneur and owner of Punch International, reportedly has loose ties to General Motors as a whole, too. Currently, Punch builds the 6L45 automatic transmission for V6 variants of the VF Commodore. Through this, it is said Dumarey has garnered a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the Elizabeth assembly plant, the VF Commodore and its Zeta platform architecture.
The report states the former Liberal-National government in Australia, which has since been ousted, showed little interest in plans from Dumarey, which are rumored to have been in the works since 2013. Now, with a more pro-industry group of government ministers and the utter collapse of manufacturing as a whole in Australia, it’s likely things could progress even further than secret meetings and whispers.
Purchasing the Elizabeth plant wouldn’t be too much of a challenge to overcome. But securing the tooling and intellectual property from GM itself will be a massive challenge. Not to mention the VF Commodore as we know it, should it live once again, could not be called “Commodore.” Holden has already announced the nameplate will live on with the 2018 Commodore, likely sourced from Opel.
Dumarey seems to have the business chops to make something like this come together, though. And his transmission and supplier ties to GM make the situation more plausible than any outsider raising their hand to take over Australian manufacturing.
Will it work? Dumarey and company have two years to figure it out.