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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