Holden range

"Ru­mors of my demise have been greatly ex­ag­ger­ated;" or so might the catch­phrase have been for Holden at a pre- Diel­d­ays range over­view.

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - CONTENTS -

Back when Holden an­nounced that Com­modore pro­duc­tion would cease in Aus­tralia, it was sug­gested that this would be the nail in the cof­fin for the brand, as ‘the Com­modore car com­pany’ AKA Holden, was los­ing its big­gest-sell­ing ve­hi­cle and there­fore, its big­gest amount of mar­ket share.

Hap­pily for Holden NZ, the door clos­ing on Aussie Com­modore pro­duc­tion has ac­tu­ally seen a mas­sive ranch­slider open, re­veal­ing a wealth of ve­hi­cles which have up un­til now, been over­shad­owed by the quin­tes­sen­tial ‘big Aussie car’, and al­lowed them to shine.

For now, it’s a time of con­sol­i­da­tion for Holden New Zealand and get­ting all the ducks lined up prop­erly with spec­i­fi­ca­tion lev­els, vari­a­tions on the theme, new pow­er­trains in some cases and the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a ro­bust, af­ter­sales and on­go­ing ser­vic­ing ar­range­ment to keep the new gen­er­a­tion of Holden faith­ful, loyal to the brand.

All of this, plus a lit­tle tweak­ing in terms of cor­po­rate struc­ture and gen­eral fine tun­ing while look­ing af­ter its ex­ist­ing cus­tomers and at­tract­ing some early adopters is the fo­cus to the end of 2018.

“2019 will be Holden’s year,” ob­served a spokesman for the brand. “It’s when we will have a ve­hi­cle propo­si­tion for ev­ery buyer across the main­stream seg­ments and it will be the year when the con­sumer – pri­vate, busi­ness or fleet – will recog­nise that there is a lot more to the Holden range than they ever re­alised.

“What it will also do is al­low us and our deal­ers to demon­strate how much of a uni­fied range Holden has to of­fer. While we will source ve­hi­cles from all over the world, the ‘fam­ily-ness’ of them will be much more ob­vi­ous than be­fore when we had Com­modore and oth­ers – but mostly Com­modore.”

The re­cent showing of the largest part of the model line up cer­tainly un­der­scores the mes­sage of there be­ing more to Holden to­day than many may think.

As well, the brand has a few more ve­hi­cles planned to de­but this year, which will go even fur­ther to demon­strate Holden New Zealand’s broad reach­ing range.

So where have all th­ese Hold­ens sud­denly come from? Es­pe­cially since Aussie is no longer build­ing them? Well, some are from Asia, some are from Europe and some are from the US, demon­strat­ing that Holden has be­come part of the global GM world in the widest pos­si­ble sense.

Up un­til re­cently, Holden New Zealand was some­what shack­led by Holden Aus­tralia in terms of what it could get. Now free of the Trans-tas­man chains, Holden New Zealand has much greater scope to se­lect what it thinks will work in the lo­cal mar­ket, and us Ki­wis are kinda picky...

That’s not to say Holden Aus­tralia and Holden New Zealand are the vic­tims of an un­happy di­vorce – far from it.

Holden Aus­tralia took a much big­ger beat­ing in terms of mar­ket share than Holden New Zealand is ever likely to face. In true AN­ZAC spirit, the man­ag­ing direc­tor of Holden New Zealand moved across the Ditch to as­sist in Holden Aus­tralia’s res­ur­rec­tion, which means a new face at the Holden New Zealand helm – that would be Mark Ebolo (see News).

In the tran­si­tion pe­riod, Holden New Zealand drew to­gether the core el­e­ments of its prod­uct range picked from around the planet – and that in­cludes Com­modore VXR – to re­in­force, re­cap­ture and in some cases, re­veal, the ap­peal of the broad-plat­form reach of

the Holden name­plate in the New Zealand mar­ket.

It is dif­fi­cult to iden­tify any sin­gle ve­hi­cle as the one lead­ing the brand’s ‘global in New Zealand’ in­car­na­tion, so in no par­tic­u­lar or­der:

The Equinox is HNZ’S medium SUV. Granted, it is a five-seater, but those five seats are gen­er­ous, and the 846/1758 litres of luggage space leans it more to­wards the medium-large than the medium-medium. Equinox comes to us in five model vari­a­tions, with ei­ther a 1.5-litre and two-litre tur­bocharged petrol en­gine or a 1.6-litre turbo diesel, mated to ei­ther a six or nine-speed trans­mis­sion, de­pend­ing on the model. It comes out of Mex­ico. From there, Holden has the three-model, seven-seat Trail­blazer line up, all com­monly run­ning the 2.8-litre DURAMAX diesel en­gine, mated to a sixspeed au­to­matic with a hi-lo ra­tio trans­fer case and lim­ited slip dif­fer­en­tial as stan­dard across the range. This is the cur­rent ‘big boy’ of Holden’s line-up and – from the name and the spec’ – its ad­ven­tur­ing pre­ten­tions are pretty ob­vi­ous. The Trail­blazer hails from Thai­land. And the counter to both the Equinox and to a lesser de­gree, the Trail­blazer, are the two smaller SUV’S; the city smart, three-model Trax – baby brothers from an­other mother (South Korea in this case) to the Equinox, while the cur­rent four-model Cap­tiva range sits some­where in be­tween the two. Then there is the Colorado line, which has a ute for ev­ery oc­ca­sion in ei­ther 4x4 or 4x2 con­fig­u­ra­tion. Of th­ese, the Z71 crew cab is the cur­rent head­liner, but come Oc­to­ber, we will see the Colorado Ex­treme hit deal­er­ship floors. This is a con­cept ute turned top-of-the-line pro­duc­tion model, which is des­tined to be­come the jewel in the Colorado crown. Colorado utes are sourced out of Thai­land. While all of the above is likely to be the bread and but­ter of Holden sales go­ing for­ward, it would be re­miss to ig­nore the all­new, Ger­man-built Com­modore lift­back and Sport­wagon ranges. Both of­fer the choice of ei­ther two-litre tur­bocharged in-line four-cylin­der en­gines or 3.6-litre V6’s with AWD and all with nine­speed au­to­mat­ics. Holden NZ has re­tained peck­ing or­der some­what with a six-car line-up of lift­backs: a jack-of-all trades ver­sion lead­ing log­i­cally through to the per­for­mance-ori­ented ver­sions and bet­ter in­cor­po­rat­ing the once-distaff and aloof Calais and Calais V mod­els into the range. Ad­di­tion­ally, there are three Sport­wagon mod­els bear­ing the Com­modore name­plate, two of which run the two-litre turbo en­gine, the third with the AWD 3.6-litre – and just as with the lift­backs, there is a Calais V spec’ equiv­a­lent bear­ing the name Com­modore Tourer. The Com­modore is a crit­i­cal car for Holden NZ, by virtue of its his­tory here if noth­ing else. Com­modore has al­ways main­tained a sig­nif­i­cant lo­cal pres­ence, but will this con­tinue with a Euro-styled and built ve­hi­cle re­plac­ing some­thing from our lit­tle cor­ner of the world?

Holden NZ is go­ing to have a darned good go at try­ing, but at the same time, has max­imised the po­ten­tial of Com­modore’s rein­car­na­tion by in­tro­duc­ing a first for the hero of the range – a diesel en­gine, which – even if it does of­fend the old guard of the Com­modore clans­men – should be very well re­ceived in our mar­ket by the new gen­er­a­tion of Holden buyer. At the other end of the spec­trum is of course, the two-model – LS and LT – Ba­rina with the 1.6-litre petrol en­gines and two-model 1.4-litre petrol en­gine Spark city cars out of South Korea. For those who want some­thing ei­ther a lit­tle smaller than a Com­modore, but a lit­tle big­ger than a Ba­rina, Holden NZ of­fers the As­tra range in ei­ther hatch­back (Poland), small sedan (South Korea) or wagon (UK) —all run­ning tur­bocharged petrol en­gines from 1.4-litre to 1.6-litre. To­wards the end of the year, Holden will be in­tro­duc­ing the first of its Us-built prod­ucts, the high spec’ seven-seat Aca­dia from GM’S plant in Ten­nessee, which was pub­licly re­vealed at this years’ Fiel­d­ays. HNZ is not slow­ing down ei­ther, with a prom­ise to re­lease more ex­cit­ing mod­els as time goes on, with ve­hi­cle con­nec­tiv­ity go­ing a step be­yond cars merely ‘talk­ing to’ phones. It will not be long now be­fore Holden’s pro­pri­etary Mylink elec­tronic suite will be con­nect­ing the ve­hi­cle with the owner/driver and be­yond. Hav­ing a car able to talk to a phone is one thing; hav­ing a car able to use a phone to talk to other things is quite an­other, and this is the long game plan for Mylink and Holden New Zealand. In the mean­time, and as part of the re­nais­sance, Holden New Zealand has demon­strated its com­mit­ment to the New Zealand con­sumer in a very tan­gi­ble way, adding on­go­ing ad­di­tional value to the bot­tom line of ve­hi­cle own­er­ship with its Com­plete Care Pro­gramme. This is a three year/ 100,000km Free cer­ti­fied ser­vice pro­vi­sion for ev­ery new Holden sold af­ter 1 Septem­ber 2017, which means if you travel 100,000km in three years, you’ll re­ceive up to six 15,000km cer­ti­fied ser­vices and one WOF in­spec­tion. What’s more, the sched­uled ser­vic­ing is trans­fer­able, which adds a po­ten­tial bonus when it comes to re-fleet­ing, en­cour­ag­ing a prospec­tive new user to take own­er­ship of your pre-loved Holden rather than a newer but pricier, what­ever. Holden is com­mit­ted to in­tro­duc­ing a raft of new mod­els be­tween now and 2020, and to date, is the only man­u­fac­turer pre­pared to make a state­ment to that ef­fect. Of course, there would be few man­u­fac­tur­ers rep­re­sented here who could pick and choose from the global su­per­mar­ket that is GM, be­ing re­stricted first, by the size of their par­ent com­pa­nies and sec­ond by their own agility and abil­ity, to re­spond to the New Zealand con­sumer’s needs. Far from go­ing qui­etly into the dark­ness then, Holden New Zealand is ac­tu­ally look­ing at a re­birth, com­ing into a brave new world.

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