HSVCruze in the works
The right engine could mean a place in elite ranks, writes Paul Gover
ENGINEERS at Holden Special Vehicles hold the key to a go-fast upgrade of the locally made Cruze.
If they can make the right numbers for an upgraded Cruze then the car is likely to get a go-ahead to join the Commodore in the HSV family.
Work is already under way with less than a year to final sign-off to any program.
‘‘I already have the spanners turning at Clayton,’’ Phil Harding, managing director of HSV, tells carsGuide.
‘‘ But until I have something that’s true to the brand then I won’t commit to doing it. We’re not going to to a half-baked car.’’
An HSV Cruze has been a focus for the hot Holden shop since the decision to put the compact hatchback into local production in Adelaide. HSV has rarely done much with small cars, though it did import, tweak and re-brand the European Vauxhall Astra VXR for a small number of local buyers last year.
‘‘We sold a few more than 130 cars,’’ Harding says.
HSV has looked at other European imports recently, including the Astra hatch and mid-sized Insignia, but plans did not go far.
‘‘The business case just didn’t work,’’ Harding says.
He says a lot of work is going into a business case for the Cruze.
‘‘ I think the brand is strong enough to be seen on a platform other than Commodore,’’ he says. ‘‘If we can get it right, why not do it?’’
Harding says the key to the project is the engine.
He refuses to comment on a potential turbocharger or super- charger upgrade, but deflects any suggestion that HSV might go to a supercharger expert, such as Harrop Engineering in Melbourne, for help on a power upgrade.
‘‘We can do it ourselves. We have the expertise,’’ he says. So, where is the program going? ‘‘It’s a case of looking at the kiloWatts and the driveline. The chassis and looks are OK, so it’s down to the engine. We’re looking at a couple of options.’’
Harding also says it will be easier to get HSV buyers into the Cruze — if the car happens — because it has a racing history, with victories in the World Touring Car Championship and last weekend’s win in the British Touring Car Championship with Jason Plato.
‘‘It’s got a racing heritage. It looks good,’’ Harding says.
‘‘That would help us, if we decide to do something,’’
‘‘But at the moment we have not made a decision and I will not be saying anything more until we have a signed-off business case.’’