Cruze bruiser

Holden gives its small car suc­cess an up­grade, writes Neil Dowl­ing

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

TURBO power is to be in­jected into Holden’s small car Cruze to cre­ate a Polo ri­val. Holden boss Mike Dev­ereux has con­firmed the small car — to be built in Ade­laide from March— will get an op­tional 1.4-litre tur­bocharged petrol en­gine.

The pow­er­plant is from the Opel ‘‘Fam­ily Zero’’ se­ries. One de­riv­a­tive is used in the Chevro­let Volt hy­brid.

‘‘It’s a great en­gine in terms of econ­omy and per­for­mance and it’s the first new pow­er­train we’ll be in­tro­duc­ing for Cruze,’’ Dev­ereux says.

‘‘We have pre­vi­ously con­firmed that both petrol and diesel mod­els will be built at El­iz­a­beth — sedans start in the first quar­ter and that awe­some-look­ing hatch­back in the sec­ond half.’’

Dev­ereux says Cruze pro­duc­tion was se­cured for Aus­tralia by a $179 mil­lion grant from the Fed­eral and South Aus­tralian gov­ern­ments.

This was in ad­di­tion to ‘‘hun­dreds of mil­lions more from Holden’’ to make Aus­tralia’s only lo­cally built small car.

He says the cur­rent Cruze, launched in June last year, ‘‘ has per­formed phe­nom­e­nally well so far’’.

‘‘ It’s our sec­ond-best seller. It cracked the top-five and out­sold es­tab­lished name­plates like Fal­con sev­eral months this year,’’ Dev­ereux says.

‘‘We’ve sold 26,253 units to Novem­ber, which is up nearly 20 per cent on last year, and we’re fore­cast­ing nearly 28,900 (28,848) for the full year.’’

He says mak­ing the Cruze in Aus­tralia will al­low Holden to give peo­ple an op­tion to buy a lo­cally made small car that has been en­gi­neered for Aus­tralian con­di­tions.

‘‘It en­sures a more sta­ble work­load for our em­ploy­ees and has cre­ated new busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for our lo­cal sup­pli­ers,’’ he says.

Holden says the fu­ture is rosy. It will add 165 em­ploy­ees to its El­iz­a­beth plant and launch 10 new mod­els — new and re­freshed — in the next 18 months.

‘‘This year we see a to­tal car mar­ket in Aus­tralia of 1.034 mil­lion,’’ he says.

‘‘To­tal sales for Holden this year will be around 133,800 — up 12 per cent on last year — which is a pretty solid per­for­mance.

‘‘ We’ll fin­ish 2010 with about 12.9 per cent share, on par with last year. The mar­ket is good, but it’s tough. We’re not in the busi­ness of chas­ing mar­ket share.

‘‘Next year we think the mar­ket will grow by about 10 per cent, so we’re look­ing at about 1.045 mil­lion. We think growth will come from new mod­els, in­clud­ing Holden launches like the lo­cal Cruze, Captiva and Ba­rina, and good eco­nomic con­di­tions.’’

Big plans: the ‘‘awe­some-look­ing’’ Cruze hatch­back will be built in Ade­laide from the sec­ond half of next year.

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