• Image Credit: Holden
  • Image Credit: Holden
  • Image Credit: Holden
  • Image Credit: Holden
  • Image Credit: Holden
Holden, General Motor's Australian arm, is just beginning a major transition. The automaker announced late last year that it would end local production in 2017. But recently, Gerry Dorizas, its new managing director, boldly declared that the marque is gunning to lead the country in market share by 2020. His plan is to launch more youth-focused products and improve the brand's dealers to do it. We're seeing the first steps in that plan with the addition of three imported models to the Holden line in mid-2015.

The Cascada, Insignia and two versions of the Astra are all on their way to Oz from Opel in Europe next year. The Cascada is a two-door convertible with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and choice of a six-speed manual or automatic, and it's a model that has been rumored to be under consideration for duty here in North America. The Astra will be available as the three-door GTC with a 1.6-liter turbo four and six-speed manual or automatic, or in hardcore VXR guise, with a 2.0-liter turbo four and a six-speed manual. Finally, the Insignia VXR four-door sedan has a 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. Holden doesn't have Australian-market power figures or pricing for the cars, so we don't yet know if there are differences compared to their European counterparts.

The company admits that it expects the three new models to be niche vehicles, at least at first, but they show the direction that the automaker is going. If Holden wants to survive with local production ending, it must find more attractive models to import. This addition underscores what the automaker is telling fans – it's in Australia to stay. Scroll down to watch some videos of the new vehicles and read GM's official release.


Show full PR text
Holden Cascada Convertible to Debut in Australia and New Zealand in 2015; Joined by Astra and Insignia
2014-05-01

Holden's ongoing commitment to sourcing the best vehicles from around the world took an important step forward today with the announcement that three European-sourced vehicles will join Holden's line-up in the first half of 2015.

The sleek Cascada convertible will come to Australia for the first time, joined by the Astra GTC and VXR three-door hatches and the sophisticated Insignia VXR performance sedan.

General Motors Executive Vice President and President, GM International Operations (GMIO) Stefan Jacoby joined Holden Chairman and Managing Director Gerry Dorizas at a press conference at Holden HQ at Fishermans Bend today to make the announcement.

Mr Jacoby said the announcement of these European-sourced models joining Holden's portfolio demonstrated that the company would continue to bring the best possible products from GM's product portfolio to Australian customers to support a strong future for Holden.

"Holden is one of the strongest brands in Australia and the introduction of the Astra, Cascada and Insignia to the portfolio in 2015 will be a great addition," Mr Jacoby said.

"We are determined to offer Australian and New Zealand customers the best possible products that we can source from our global operations, as we build a strong future for Holden.

"GM is dedicated to building strong brands that connect with our customers. Holden and GM are undergoing a transformation that is committed to driving our markets toward success.

"We are focussed on the long-term fundamentals, such as ensuring Holden retains its proud Australian identity and provides customers with the best possible cars.

"It's critical we focus on consumer and market-driven product strategies that enable global scale while engaging customers at a local-market level. The Astra, Cascada and Insignia are proof positive of our strategy."

Mr Dorizas said the commitment to performance and quality evident in the three Europe-sourced models aligned with Holden's heritage and brand.

"Astra, Cascada and Insigina will be niche vehicles in terms of volume for our company, and their performance credentials and premium execution are a perfect match for Holden and will provide yet more fantastic choice for our customers," Mr Dorizas said.

"We are building a strong future for Holden by focusing on our customers, our dealers, our employees and our products."

Specifications:

Holden Astra GTC
3-door hatch
1.6L turbo petrol engine
6-speed manual and automatic transmission
Front-wheel drive
On-sale first half 2015

Holden Astra VXR
3-door hatch
2.0L turbo petrol engine
6-speed manual transmission
Front-wheel drive
On-sale first half 2015

Holden Cascada
2-door convertible
1.6L turbo petrol engine
6-speed manual and automatic transmission
Front-wheel drive
On-sale first half 2015

Holden Insignia VXR
4-door sedan
2.8L turbo V6 engine
6-speed automatic transmission
All-wheel drive
On-sale first half 2015


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      Chance Leo
      • 10 Months Ago
      This needs to be Buicks lineup The Cascada is a handsome looking convertible and the Astra is a fun car with great handling. Come on GM!
        ferps
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Chance Leo
        But what if they accidentally start selling Buicks to people who won't be dead in 10 years?
          Chance Leo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @ferps
          Exactly. They need exciting styling and European performance. Plus a proper GS with 300+HP would be a dream!!
        BahamaTodd
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Chance Leo
        Not to mention this is the Regal GS we've always wanted.
      PiCASSO
      • 10 Months Ago
      Now Buick... you want to lower the average age of your buyers, please bring the Astra and Cascada to US/Canada.
      Matt
      • 10 Months Ago
      "The Astra will be available in hardcore VXR guise, with a 2.0-liter turbo four and a six-speed manual. Finally, the Insignia VXR four-door sedan has a 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. " I would happily drive the Buick versions of these.
      mikeybyte1
      • 10 Months Ago
      Given the success of the small Encore, GM should bring the Astra in for Buick. It will help attract younger buyers. Call it the Skylark if they have the cajones to bring that name back up. (Then again, Dart isn't wowing them over at Dodge.) The Cascada seems like a no brainer as a Buick as well. Either brand it the Regal to include in those sales numbers, or better yet brand it the Riviera or Reatta.
      Jerry
      • 10 Months Ago
      Niche as in they are low volume due to being hard to sell? Don't ever buy an Opel 1.6L in any form... You will be replacing the engine well before 100,000 miles.
      Shawn
      • 10 Months Ago
      Government Motors by another name is still Government Motors. I wonder if GM is recalling all their vehicles with known defects in all the other countries?
      Neutral President
      • 10 Months Ago
      I have a really hard time picturing these as Buicks.
        bootsnchaps60
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Neutral President
        The REgal is an Opel Insignia.
        David MacGillis
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Neutral President
        Then clearly you've never been to a Buick dealer. The Regal GS is a version of the Insignia in the photo. No V6 but a strong turbo four and AWD.
      Matt McKinley
      • 10 Months Ago
      That Astra is pretty sweet. If GM brought it to the states as a Buick I might actually buy a Buick.
        Aron
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Matt McKinley
        You can buy it at your local GM dealer. It's called a Buick Verano.
          timber
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Aron
          No, he isn't joking. Look up the Astra sport sedan. That us one of the European Astra bodies.
          jrmosery86
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Aron
          you are joking, right?
          Chance Leo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Aron
          Yeah but that is like wanting to marry Giselle, but settling for her practical cousin Gertrude!
          Matt
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Aron
          Then where's the "Verano OPC" because that's the one I would buy, hell, I'd be crazy/stupid enough to buy the OPC Extreme version. I don't want grandpa's Buick, I want the youthful Buick and Buick using more Opel and OPC models would definitely warrant a test drive and some consideration from me.
      Jim
      • 10 Months Ago
      Buick's been trying to break it's stodgy image. Now's the time to bring the Cascada to the US! The only GM 4 passenger convertible is the Camaro. The Buick Velite was introduced as a concept in '06 but obviously didn't make it. Come on GM, I'll be the 1st to buy one.
      Frank
      • 10 Months Ago
      What are Holden thinking? OPEL just withdrew from Australia (with these models as its mainstay) because they couldn't sell enough cars!!! Why does Holden think it will be any different just because they rip off the Opel badge and stick a Holden badge on them? Probably because most Aussie car buyers won't know........how stupid are we?? (yes, Im an AUssie)
        aatbloke1967
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Frank
        Prior to 2006, Holden imported the Cora, Astra and Vectra for many years before it imported GM-DAT produced models instead.
        bootsnchaps60
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Frank
        Nope it's just GM doesn't do much unique engineering nowadays, badge engineering is cheaper. It was dumb to try to introduce Opel as a brand in AU to compete with Holden.
        aatbloke1967
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Frank
        Prior to 2006, Holden imported the Corsa, Astra and Vectra for many years before it began using GM-DAT products instead.
        nettsu
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Frank
        Um... What do you think the Astra was before? It was an Opel with Holden badges The Vectra was an Opel with Holden badges The original Commodore was actually based on the Opel Omega And yes customers are stupid. Opel was betting on the fact that the Astra name had enough recognition to be sold as an Opel. It will probably sell great guns when it comes back as a Holden.
          Georg
          • 10 Months Ago
          @nettsu
          not the Opel Omega was the base for the orginal Holden VB Commodore, it was the Opel Rekord Series E that was turned into the Commodore, they changed the engine mountings to deal with Holdens straight 6 and V8 and put the nose of the Senator on it. Funny part is the Opel inline4 mounted in the Rekord were more powerfull than the inline6 from Holden and the inline 6 mounted in the Opel Commodore (the inline 6 version of the Rekord was called in Germany Commodore) were more powerfull than the 4.0 and 4.2l V8 of the Holden Commodore..only the 5.0l had 23hp more than the inline6 of the German Commodore.
      Robert Ryan
      • 10 Months Ago
      These will be niche models, I cannot see what they are going to sell to increase their market share.
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