Late last year Holden, the Australian arm of General Motors, announced it would be getting a new small sedan based on the global platform underpinning the Chevy Cruze. At the time, it was assumed that the Holden would feature revised sheetmetal and possibly a new name, but now that the wraps are off, it's clear that the only things changed are the badges, grille and location of the steering wheel. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as the new Cruze is a looker regardless of what brand name is affixed to the front.
Hit the jump to check out the Holden Volt.
Another new vehicle that the Australians are anxiously anticipating is Holden's version of the range-extended electric Volt. Again, nothing is expected to change when the eco-friendly vehicle makes its conversion to right-hand drive, especially since GM has invested so much engineering work into making the Volt's shape as aerodynamically-sound as possible.
Both vehicles are being highlighted at the 2009 Melbourne Motor Show starting today. The Holden Cruze will be there in the sheetmetal, although these images Holden Volt are all we get from the General. See both in our galleries below and check out the dueling press releases below.
Gallery: Melbourne Motor Show: Holden Volt
ALL-NEW CRUZE HEADLINES HOLDEN STAND
The Australian debut of the all-new Holden Cruze headlines Holden's presence at the 2009 Melbourne International Motor Show.
The stunning new small car range will be among no fewer than 25 vehicles on the stand, representing Holden's broad vehicle offering covering a range of segments, prices and alternative fuel solutions.
GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Reuss said the motor show stand highlighted how Holden was moving with the changing needs and desires of motorists.
"This show is about more than cars; it's about responding to change and offering realistic, high value solutions for Australian car buyers," Reuss said.
"We understand these tough market conditions call for an innovative approach to diversifying our product range.
" Cruze is among the products on our stand which highlight the product diversity and quality of Australia's own car company."
Cruze will enter Australia's small car segment when it goes on sale in the second quarter of 2009, offering motorists space, safety, value and large car comfort.
Powered by a 1.8 litre 4 cylinder petrol or optional 2.0 litre turbo charged diesel, Cruze will offer the choice of a five speed manual transmission or six speed automatic transmission with Active Select.
With a sporty design, exceptional fit and finish and one of the most advanced interiors in the small car market, Cruze will set the benchmark for Holden's future small car strategy.
Special Edition Commodore International – Sedan and Sportwagon
Commencing production mid March 2009, the Special Edition Commodore International pack will feature an impressive level of standard features.
Providing two value offers for retail customers, the Special Edition International Commodore Sedan and Sportwagon have both been awarded a maximum five star safety rating by ANCAP.
Unique product features include 18" alloy wheels, foglamps, a 6-disc CD changer, leather appointed seat trim and steering wheel, bluetooth for compatible mobile phones and rear park assist on sedan.
The Commodore International sedan can be fitted dual fuel LPG, expanding Holden's range of LPG compatible vehicles and adding yet another model to the Holden EcoLine range.
The automatic VE Commodore International sedan has a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) of $33,990 Driveaway. At just a $2,000 premium, the Sportwagon variant will have a RRP of $35,990 Driveaway.
A number of VE models will join the Special Edition International pack including the Commodore Omega sedan which has been awarded a maximum five star safety rating from ANCAP.
The result reflects the introduction of a steering column shroud energy absorber across the VE sedan range that helps to reduce driver knee injuries, and a passenger seat belt reminder on the Omega sedan, introduced in October 2008.
These improvements are in addition to the front passenger side impact airbags and curtain airbags that were made standard across the range last year.
The popular Sportwagon line-up will also be on display offering comfort, safety and styling, combined with sedan-like ride and handling.
Since it was launched in July 2008, Sportwagon has sold more vehicles than any SUV in the market, ensuring Commodore remained the bestselling vehicle in Australia for the 13 th consecutive year.
VE Ute offers more features, more useable interior space, greater storage flexibility and more performance than any of its Holden predecessors.
The Holden stand features an Omega Ute fitted with dual fuel LPG and demonstrates how the new LPG system is cleanly integrated into the Ute's tub liner.
Two versions of the popular Captiva are on the stand demonstrating why this vehicle has become one of Australia's best selling SUVs.
The 2WD Captiva SX diesel, which combines the five-seat space of a medium SUV with segment-leading fuel economy (7.2 litres per 100 kms manual, 8.5 litres per 100 kms automatic), and the AWD Captiva LX.
Both vehicles feature Traction Control, Active Rollover Protection, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and curtain airbags as standard.
The powerful Colorado 4x4 light truck delivers high levels of performance and load carrying capability with the turbo diesel engine delivering a three tonne braked towing capacity.
Offered in a wide range of body styles, engine types and specifications the Colorado delivers durability, power and features.
GM Holden is showcasing the value-packed mid-size Epica sedan, available as a fuel efficient four-cylinder turbo diesel engine with a six-speed automatic transmission with Active Select, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and six airbags standard across the range.
The introduction of significant safety features such as ESC and six airbags as standard across the range compliment an already comprehensive list of safety features which includes ABS, Traction Control and Electronic Brake Force Distribution.
Small car range
Joining the all-new Cruze will be a selection of Holden's small car range, including the upgraded 3-door Barina which recently received a four star ANCAP safety result.
The result reflects structural improvements and the addition of front side impact airbags as standard across the updated Barina hatchback range introduced in August 2008.
Barina is joined by the fuel efficient Astra CDTi Wagon, the sporty Astra SRi Turbo 3-door, the stylish Astra CD hatch and the stunning Astra TwinTop.
A range of vehicles on Holden's stand are part of the Holden EcoLine range, highlighting the company's broad use of alternative fuel or fuel saving technologies.
The Holden EcoLine range offers consumers affordable solutions to tackle rising fuel costs.
An LPG Commodore sedan and Ute are showcased alongside the fuel saving technology of Active Fuel Management (AFM).
AFM enables an eight cylinder vehicle to automatically operate on four cylinders in certain driving conditions and is standard on all automatic V8 models in the Holden range.
GM Holden is the first local manufacturer to develop this technology which in certain driving conditions can deliver fuel savings of up to one litre per 100 kilometres, with potential for even better results at constant cruising speeds.
Diesel vehicles including the 2WD Captiva SUV which boasts segment leading fuel efficiency and the mid-size Epica will also be on display.
Holden Vehicle Display – Melbourne International Motor Show 2009:
JG Cruze CDX
JG Cruze CDX
JG Cruze CDX
AH Astra CD 5-Door with 'Style Pack'
AH Astra CDTi Wagon
AH Astra SRi Turbo 3-Door
AH Astra TwinTop
TK Barina 3-Door
TK Barina sedan with optional pack
EP Epica CDXi Diesel - Holden EcoLine
VE Commodore SV6
VE Commodore SS V-series (AFM) - Holden EcoLine
VE Sportwagon International
VE Sportwagon Calais V-Series (AFM) - Holden EcoLine
WM Caprice (AFM) - Holden EcoLine
CG Captiva SX 2WD Diesel - Holden EcoLine
CG Captiva LX AWD
VE Commodore Omega
VE Commodore International LPG - Holden EcoLine
VE Ute Omega LPG - Holden EcoLine
VE Ute SV6
VE Ute SS V-Series (AFM) - Holden EcoLine
RC Colorado LT-R 4x4 Crew Cab Turbo Diesel
RC Colorado LX 4x4 Crew Cab Turbo Diesel
RC Colorado LX 4x4 Crew Cab Turbo Diesel
The Melbourne International Motor Show 2009 is at the Melbourne Convention Centre, and runs from Friday, 27 February to Monday, 9 March.
HOLDEN VOLT PROVIDES GLIMPSE OF AUSTRALIA'S DRIVING FUTURE
GM Holden has released the first images of the highly anticipated Volt extended range electric vehicle as it will appear on Australian roads.
The images, which show a right-hand-drive version of Volt sporting Holden badges on its aerodynamic front and rear, were released as part of Holden's presentation at the Melbourne International Motor Show.
It is a local take on the vehicle that has won widespread acclaim for its ability to travel up to 64 kilometres on electricity before using petrol or producing exhaust pipe emissions.
GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mark Reuss said the company had been overwhelmed by public interest in Volt since announcing it would launch in Australia in 2012.
"We think Volt has the potential to change the game in Australian motoring," Mr Reuss said.
"Since we announced our plans to introduce Volt to Australia, we have been overwhelmed by public interest in the car and the technology that makes it work.
"There is no doubt that Volt's advanced propulsion systems represent some of the most exciting alternative fuel developments in motoring.
"At Holden, we believe Volt will play an incredibly important role in our efforts to make motoring better for the environment," he said.
General Motors estimates that compared to similar sized petrol-powered vehicles, Volt will save motorists up to 1892 litres of fuel a year. This is based on US research that identifies 75 per cent of commuters travel an average daily distance of less than 40 miles (64 kilometres).
When Volt's battery energy is depleted, a small petrol engine generates enough electricity to power the vehicle for hundreds of additional kilometres.
GM also calculates that charging the vehicle at night through a standard power outlet will use less electricity annually than an average household refrigerator.
Volt is planned for manufacture at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly and is scheduled for launch in the US in late 2010. The right-hand-drive version will launch later.
Volt – How The Technology Works
Volt is an Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV). In a significant advance from conventional hybrids , it uses electricity to move its wheels at all times and speeds.
For trips of up to 64 kilometres, Volt is powered solely by the electricity stored in its battery without using petrol or producing exhaust pipe emissions.
When the battery's energy is depleted, a small petrol-powered engine generates electric power for the vehicle to travel hundreds of additional kilometres.
Advanced technology enables the vehicle's battery to be charged in less than three hours on a standard 240v power outlet. Charge times are reduced if the battery has not been fully depleted.
GM estimates that compared to petrol-powered vehicles that average 7.8 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, Volt will save motorists up to 1892 litres of fuel a year.
Volt – Vehicle Details
The design of the Volt production car has evolved from an original concept that was unveiled at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
General Motors created an energy efficient design for the production vehicle, resulting in one of the most aerodynamic cars in the company's history.
Many of the design cues from the concept car have been carried over in the production Volt, including the closed front grille, athletic stance and rear design graphics.
Inside, Volt will offer the space, comfort, convenience and safety features that customers expect in a four-passenger sedan.
Volt – Battery Details
GM will establish the first lithium-ion battery pack manufacturing facility operated by a major automaker in the United States to produce the Volt's battery pack system.
It consists of lithium-ion cells that are grouped into modules, along with other key battery components.
The plant will be located in Michigan, subject to negotiations with state and local government authorities. Facility preparation will begin in early 2009, with production tooling to be installed mid-year and output starting in 2010.