Holden in Cruze control
Name aside, this car’s coming our way, writes PAUL GOVER
SWAP the Chevrolet badge for a Holden lion and this car is the next Viva. No one at Fishermans Bend will confirm it, but the car called Cruze is definitely coming to Holden showrooms. The only real question is the name: Viva or Cruze? There will be changes, probably in the suspension and detailing, but Holden insiders say the Cruze is a clear pointer to the coming Viva.
They also hope it will hold the price at $18,490 but deliver better quality and safety.
But don’t expect anyone at GM Holden to go on the record. ‘‘We haven’t confirmed this is a program in Australia yet,’’ Kate Londsale says.
She will not be drawn on the potential name for the car, or a switch to Cruze after its earlier use on a small SUV in Australia.
‘‘This would be a question for our marketing team. We cannot make any announcements about a car we haven’t confirmed. It would be taken into consideration that we’ve had the nameplate here before,’’ she says.
The Cruze has just been revealed as a Chevrolet in official pictures and will be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show next month.
It will be on sale in Europe next year, which points towards a Holden effort late next year once global development creates a spin-off car for the Asia-Pacific region.
The Cruze is a significant development for General Motors because it will be the company’s first truly global new-car project. The ‘‘home room’’ for the program is in Europe, but there will be local tailoring for regional tastes and price points.
GM Holden is keen to get the Cruze because it is the first of the second-generation vehicles it will take from Daewoo in Korea. The first generation, including the underdone Barina that has just had a substantial safety tweak, was already complete before Holden forged its development ties with Daewoo.
The new cars coming— including the Cruze and an all-new Barina, Epica and Captiva — will have much greater Holden input in everything from styling and safety to quality and performance. Chevrolet describes its Cruze as ‘‘an entirely global car that will go on sale in all continents’’. The basic design, with its angular four-door body, ties it to the new Vauxhall Insignia. Inside, Chevrolet trumpets a ‘‘twin-cockpit design’’ it says was taken from the brand’s earlier muscle cars.