HOLDEN EXPORT DRIVES UP PARK AVENUE
IT IS not all one-way traffic from China. One local carmaker has made a small, but significant dent in auto exports to the Chinese.
GM Holden ventured north in 2004 with some degree of success with its long-wheelbase Statesman/Caprice models, rebadged as the Buick Royaum.
The Royaum received favourable reviews from the Chinese and paved the way for further Holden expertise to be sent north.
The word Royaum is based on a French word that reflects the Chinese words Rong, meaning sense of duty, and Yu, representing high social position and authority.
Holden followed up last year, unveiling the Buick Park Avenue, also based on the new Statesman/Caprice, in Shanghai.
The Park Avenue utilises the 3.6-litre V6 engine and a unique 2.8-litre V6, both of which are being built at GM Holden’s engine operations plant at Fishermans Bend.
The Buick is being built at Shanghai GM’s Jinqiao plant and is the first vehicle to go into production outside Australia utilising the global rear-wheel-drive architecture developed by GM Holden.
The car has an exterior based on the Holden Statesman. The lavishly equipped interior has been redesigned by GM China to suit the local market, which places more emphasis on the luxury in the back seat rather than the driving experience.
But Holden is exporting more than engines.
GM Holden’s rear-wheel-drive technology is sought-after throughout the GM world, as evidenced by the work Holden engineers put into the Chevrolet Camaro unveiled in the US last year.