Third time lucky?

Af­ter in­ter­nal de­bate, HSV backs the wagon, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

THE next car from Holden Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles will be a wagon. The com­ing HSV Tourer is claimed to have bet­ter ac­cel­er­a­tion and a bet­ter over­all bal­ance than the car’s best­seller, the R8 Club­Sport.

‘‘It is marginally quicker than the sedan,’’ HSV man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Scott Grant says.

‘‘You lose noth­ing in the drive. It’s for peo­ple who still want the driv­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic of a HSV, but need the ver­sa­til­ity and load­car­ry­ing abil­ity of the wagon.’’

Grant re­veals there was in­ter­nal con­flict over the Tourer, and whether HSV should pro­duce a wagon af­ter the rel­a­tive fail­ure of the last main­stream model in 1998 with the VT and all-wheel-drive Avalanche in 2003.

‘‘We’ve had mixed re­sults, and there was a big de­bate about whether we would do it. The ma­jor pos­i­tive as­pect of the pro­gram came when we saw the shape of the Holden wagon. It’s some­thing we can re­ally work with.’’

The HSV Tourer will be on the road in Septem­ber and, like the Holden Sport­wagon, will have a $1000 price pre­mium over the equiv­a­lent sedan. That means $65,990 with the same spec­i­fi­ca­tion as the Club­Sport, and leather and 20-inch wheels as op­tions.

The Tourer plan comes as HSV looks to pro­tect its fu­ture in the face of fall­ing de­mand for lo­cally made cars and the im­pact of ris­ing fuel prices on V8 en­gine sales glob­ally.

‘‘We sell about 4000 cars in Aus­tralia. With en­vi­ron­men­tal pres­sures, gas prices and the rest, it will drop to about 3000 a year,’’ Grant says. ‘‘De­mand might soften, but it won’t ever go away. There is a heart­land de­mand for rear­wheel-drive V8s in this coun­try.’’

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