HSV E-Series 2 – first teaser video

August 14th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

HSV E-Series 2

Holden Special Vehicles has released its first teaser video for the updated E Series 2 range, showing a GTS that looks similar to the current model, but with some subtle differences.

There does appear to be changes to light clusters and the wheels have a new double-spoked design. A partly obscured bonnet suggests there may be some surprises in the basic body shape.

There is also no power shown in the clip, hinting that rumours of a power increase from 317kW to around 325kW are true.

The HSV E Series 2 range will officially debut on September 9.

Fuel-saving engines for Holden Commodore range

August 5th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Holden SIDI engine

The Holden Commodore, is set to lower fuel use and running costs with more economical V6 engines and other technology improvements.

The Model Year 10 (MY10) Commodore range will go on sale in late September in New Zealand with the most fuel efficient Australian built six cylinder engine in the market.

The Commodore Omega achieves just 9.3 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres in the official ADR81/02 testing — up to 13 per cent better than current models.

At 9.3 litres, a motorist travelling 20,000 kilometres could save $423.80 at a current indicative price of $1.63 and produce 600 kilograms less carbon emissions.

Holden will deliver the savings through two new engines offering a mew technology, Spark Ignition Direct Injection, a first for an Australian built vehicle.

An all-new 3.0-litre engine — and the familiar 3.6-litre displacement will be offered, depending on model.

The changes will be effective across the petrol sedan and Sportwagon range, as well as the SV6 Ute and the Statesman long-wheelbase variant.

The engines are the centrepiece of a model year upgrade with fuel efficiency and lower running costs firmly in mind.

A new six-speed automatic transmission will be matched with the new SIDI engines, weight reductions have been achieved, low rolling resistance tyres introduced and other fuel-saving upgrades installed.

The Engines

An all-new 3.0-litre SIDI engine — codenamed LF1 – will power the Omega and Berlina Commodore sedan and Omega Sportwagon.

The 3.6-litre SIDI engine — codenamed LLT — will be available for the premium Commodore range including SV6, Calais and Calais V-Series models, as well as the SV6 Ute and the long wheel-base Statesman.

The 3.6-litre SIDI engine improves fuel economy in the premium models. Calais boasts a 12 per cent improvement with fuel economy dropping from 11.2 to 9.9 litres per 100 kilometres on the ADR81/02 test cycle while keeping its luxury fit.

CO2 emissions are significantly reduced with the 3.0-litre SIDI Omega sedan and Sportwagon boasting a 12 and 14 per cent improvement respectively.

All V6 SIDI models will receive a power upgrade. The 3.0 litre has an increased output of 190kW from the 175kW of the previous engine, while the 3.6 litre is up from 195kW to 210kW per ECE regulations.

The new engines will be available on NZ spec Commodores from late September.

HSV W427 ends production with car 137

July 31st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

HSV W427 final car

Back in April Holden Special Vehicles in Australia put out the call to V8 enthusiasts that if they wanted a W427 April 28 was their last day to cash up.

With that date long gone, HSV has announced that the last order to be filled, W427 number 137, has rolled off the line at the Clayton plant.

Bound for Perth, the Heron White W427 (pictured) was ordered by an HSV dealer.

HSV’s self-proclaimed ‘Aussie Supercar’, the W427 came with a $155,000 AUS price tag and a 375kW V8 powerplant.

Managing Director at HSV Phil Harding sold it well, saying, “Who knows what the market for exotic muscle cars will look like in the future. The purchase of a W427 might represent a savvy investment opportunity — as well as delivering a driving experience that is pure exhilaration and excitement,”

The W427 marked HSV’s most ambitious project to date, only time will tell if the value of the exclusive model increases.

Holden Commodore survives stateside

July 15th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Chevrolet Caprice fq

With GM sending the Pontiac brand name to the scrapheap, there was no doubt Holden was nervous, it supplied VE Commodores as Pontiac G8s. Now, according to GM’s Bob Lutz, the plan is to continue offering the VE but rebadged as a Chev Caprice. “The last time we looked at [the G8], we decided that we would continue to import it as a Chevrolet. It is kind of too good to waste.”  Was the comment from Lutz.

As previously reported, there is also a feasibility study going on bassed around weather the cars could also be used as successful law enforcement vehicles to replace the current out dated American fleet. Either way, It looks like Holden Australia are going to have plenty of orders coming in.

HSV confirms update for E Series 2 range

July 6th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

HSV Clubsport R8

HSV has just confirmed that the E Series range will be given a significant upgrade with new features, driver enhancements and visual changes for introduction later this year.

According to Managing Director Phil Harding, the multi-million dollar program includes major visual differentiation and introduces at least five firsts for Australian production cars — offering a shot in the arm for the local industry.

“We know our customers want the latest technologies, as well as distinctive luxury and performance features in their HSV,” he said. “Our customers will be delighted with the delivery of improved economy, more power, some truly exciting driver enhancements and distinctive design themes.”

HSV will start a staged preview campaign aimed at generating customer interest and demand in the new model. Dealers, frequent buyers and loyal customers will be supplied this information ahead of general release because of the importance of this new model to HSV.

“This represents a massive change for the E Series HSV range and is the culmination of three years of research and development,” Phil Harding said.

More details will be released when E Series 2 nears launch. Until then, click here to check out the HSV website for further information on the E Series 2.

HSV preparing for next-gen E-Series range

July 3rd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

HSV Clubsport R8 Tourer fq

Recent rumours suggest that Holden Special Vehicles will be making a number of cosmetic and mechanical changes to its E-Series range of performance sedans soon.

The upcoming changes will involve some mechanical tweaking to the 6.2 litre LS3 V8 used by the E-series range, which should see power graduated to around 325kW and fuel economy improved to just under 14 l/100km combined cycle.

Some updated body styling is also apparently being prepared. HSV is said to want to further visually move away from the volume-selling Commodore sedan range. Huge aesthetic changes would probably be too risky and expensive for HSV to accomplish, but new bumpers, wheels and other aero add-ons are on the cards.

The VE-based HSV line-up has proved the most popular in HSV’s 21-year history so the performance manufacturer is hopeful that an upgraded model line will keep customers interested.

Will the rumoured refinements for 2010 E-Series HSV’s keep sales figures strong in a market that’s steadily moving away from big, thirsty sedans? Only time will tell.

Holden posts $70.2m loss for 2008

July 1st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Holden posts loss for 2008

The global economic crisis, rising petrol prices, a consumer shift away from large cars and some large, one-off expenses have all worked against Holden to see it lose out in 2008.

Australia’s iconic automaker recorded a $70.2 million AUS loss for 2008, caused largely by a massive $76.8 million bill for various one-off costs, mostly related to the decommissioning of Melbourne’s Family II engine plant.

Before the decommissioning expense, Holden was on track to post a small after-tax profit of  $6.6 million for the year ending December 31. In the current economic climate, the loss is an acceptable one for Holden. Quality products, a strong export program and careful production management has still protected the company’s finances in a turbulent global market.

Total sales revenue dipped from $5.7 billion in 2007 to $5.4 billion, as many new car buyers shifted away from large cars like the Commodore.

Export revenue rose from $1.6 billion to $1.9 billion due to engine exports and the newly-released Pontiac G8 in the states, but with the G8 officially discontinued and GM enduring bankruptcy, this year’s export results may not be as positive.

The global economic slump prevented Holden from making a profit for 2008, like it did for many other automakers, but Ford came off much worse with a record $274.4 million loss.

Despite no profits last year, Holden is a solid performer and its position within the GM stable is still assured. The addition of the Cruze to Holden’s line-up should provide a vehicle capable of retaining customers downsizing from the Commodore, while the new locally-made small hatchback that’s expected to arrive next year will also give the company hope.

Holden Commodore may survive in American market

June 9th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Pontiac G8 fq dyn

Over in the states the once proud Pontiac brand is now dead in the water but many American enthusiasts are clamouring for the Pontiac G8 aka Holden Commodore to be rebadged and sold under another GM brand name.

Designed and constructed in Australia by Holden, the G8 has been a better than average seller thanks to its competitive pricing and sporty nature, and it may get another chance.

GM’s current CEO, Fritz Henderson, has already been clear that no Pontiac vehicle will survive the marques extinction. But Henderson also has a commitment to retain bits of GM’s sporting heritage, so the Corvette will remain in the portfolio along with other performance models. The high-performance version of the G8 named the G8 GXP will not continue according to Henderson but what about the lesser versions?

The standard Pontiac G8 sedan’s future is up in the air and enthusiasts are lobbying GM to keep the car and simply remarket it as the Impala SS. With the Impala SS set to be phased out shortly, the plan appears to have timing on its side, but even so GM’s vice chairman of global product development Tom Stephens still doesn’t think there’s room for the car at Chevrolet.

In a recent interview, Stephens claimed that while there are still be discussions raging on about the G8’s future, the fact is that “Chevrolet already has several sedans” making the rebranding of the car unnecessary. GM could attempt to rebrand it as a Buick model but again the likelihood of this is uncertain considering boss man Fritz Henderson’s dislike of the G8 GXP performance model.

The G8/Commodore has done the hard yards and proven itself in the American market  and with minimal development costs it would be easy to market the car following Pontiac’s demise – although figuring out which brand may best support the car will be very tricky for GM.

Here’s a crazy idea; why not take that stupid Pontiac face off the car, let it be a proudly Australian Holden Commodore, and sell it through the GM dealer networks. Then watch as the American public slowly realise that a GM subsidiary on the other side of the world is making a better sports sedan than GM America is capable of.