HSVCruze in the works

The right en­gine could mean a place in elite ranks, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - On Road -

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.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.