Speaking with TMR in Detroit this week, Holden director of communications, Sean Poppitt, said he was looking forward to moving past Holden’s Elizabeth shuttering and introducing GM’s future product, which could expand beyond being Holden badged products.
Poppitt, who worked at the Elizabeth site in Adelaide for two years, says the emotional turmoil of the situation is affecting many Australians but believes the closure and transition into being an import-only brand is a pivotal step.
“Obviously, the manufacturing has been intrinsic to what Holden has been for a long time. But we’ve got one of the best pound-for-pound product portfolios we’ve ever had, there’s no doubt about that and there’s more to come.”
Holden’s current portfolio which is turning into an import-only lineup has been rebadged with the famed Lion, but it appears there is the potential to see badges like Chevrolet stay on vehicles, particularly in niches such as sports cars.
“I think there’s an opportunity with the mysterious sports car that we’ve talked about and some of our competitors have been able to move a bit more quickly in that space, but we’ve got some really good things coming that will really get people fired up.”
The mysterious sports car Poppitt refers to is the upcoming Camaro which, although not yet available on a global platform until the next-generation, will reportedly hit Holden Special Vehicles showrooms next year as a more expensive imported conversion. At least until Holden can directly source the vehicle in RHD from the factory.
“It’s certainly a massively exciting product and we’d definitely love to see it on the roads but I can’t talk about what or when that might be,” Poppitt said of the Camaro.
Asked if the Camaro should wear a Holden, HSV or Chevrolet badge, Poppitt said the car shouldn’t wear the iconic Lion badge: “I think it has to wear a Chevrolet badge, it absolutely does. It’s intrinsic to its DNA and to what it stood for for decades in the US and globally,” he said.
“So, should something like that come to pass, I think you’ve got an opportunity for GM to have a more portfolio strategy in Australia like they do in the US. Like we’re seeing the urban mobility stuff, (such as) Maven and we’re bringing OnStar,” he added.
Poppitt also suggested that adding GM brands to Australia would be a positive strategic move and an exciting opportunity for Holden.
“We’ve got the core business of cars, SUVs and trucks with Holden and then you know, if there were any other brands to come in then you will all of a sudden have a more strategic portfolio closer aligned to what might be in the US. “
“It’s certainly exciting opportunities for us.”
Although Holden will not discuss its future product plans, the introduction of a US-focused portfolio strategy would support information given to TMR that market research groups have been gauging reaction to the Chevrolet brand in Australia.