Aussie style

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle News -

Apair of new Holden su­per­stars stole the show at Detroit in Jan­uary. Aus­tralian de­sign­ers are re­spon­si­ble for both the full-luxury Buick Avenir that’s tipped for pro­duc­tion in China and the baby bat­tery­pow­ered Chevrolet Bolt.

Both wowed crowds and were cho­sen as fi­nal­ists for Best Con­cept Ve­hi­cle 2015, an award that the Avenir went on to take in ad­di­tion to the tro­phy for Best In­no­va­tive Use of Colour, Graph­ics and Ma­te­ri­als.

The GM stand at the show was crowded with Holden heavy­weights, as well as for­mer CEOs Mark Reuss, Alan Batey and Mike Dev­ereux. But it was de­sign chiefs Mike Sim­coe and Richard Fer­lazzo who had the big­gest smiles.

The Avenir and Bolt show the Holden heart is beat­ing strongly in Fish­er­mans Bend, which is one of the few sites in the GM world where a car can be taken from a first sketch through pro­to­type con­struc­tion to a show star.

Although it was built in Mel­bourne, the Avenir – a full-sized luxury Buick aimed at China and po­ten­tial pro­duc­tion in fu­ture, with a name that means Fu­ture in French – was a joint ef­fort with the de­sign stu­dio in Detroit.

It was un­veiled in Detroit by Reuss, who said “Australia is re­ally good at some of the big­ger luxury cars” as he pulled off the wraps.

“The car was built in Australia at Holden, in their shops, and the in­te­rior and the ex­te­rior was a joint ef­fort be­tween stu­dios,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Sim­coe, a vice-pres­i­dent of GM In­ter­na­tional De­sign, the in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion that led to the Avenir is noth­ing new.

“Time and dis­tance are al­ways fac­tors in the de­sign process, but the teams’ un­der­stand­ing of the project brief... tran­scended the time zones,” he said.

It’s a sim­i­lar story with the Bolt EV, which is be­ing eval­u­ated by GM as a fu­ture bat­tery­elec­tric city car.

This time, the col­lab­o­ra­tion in­volved GM stu­dios in both South Korea and Detroit, with Holden re­spon­si­ble for the con­struc­tion of the car. It is now one of only two de­sign cen­tres in­side GM with this ca­pa­bil­ity.

“Our de­sign cen­tre is no longer fo­cussed on cars driven only on Aus­tralian roads,” said Fer­lazzo.

“We are a global de­sign cen­tre and, as such, we have the tal­ent and ca­pa­bil­ity to lead, col­lab­o­rate and sup­port global pro­grams. The prod­ucts re­vealed... in Detroit clearly demon­strate our role within GM De­sign to­day and show­case the breadth of tal­ent we have here in Australia.”

Ste­fan Ja­coby

Mike Sim­coe

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