THE writing is on the wall for Holden as a local manufacturer beyond 2017, but it will retain a design and engineering workforce of more than 300 people indefinitely.
Holden's new Chairman and MD, Mark Bernhard, announced Holden will keep its Powertrain Engineering department, along with the formation of a new Advanced Vehicle Development team to support Holden's Design Studio in Port Melbourne.
Having a local design and engineering workforce means the Holdens we receive post-2017 will be developed specifically for Australian conditions. Holden as an importer will be sourcing its range from Europe, America and Asia, but the news should give Holden fans some assurance that the models we receive will have a good sprinkling of Aussie DNA.
The teams will be kept busy "Australianising" the new cars. Holden is preparing for the biggest ever overhaul of its vehicle range, with 24 models due to launch by 2020.
"We will have vehicles in more segments than ever before," Mr Bernhard said. "We are replacing or refreshing every single model in the Holden portfolio by 2020."
Mr Bernhard also said the retention of engineering teams is an important development for Holden's long-term future in Australia.
"This announcement means more than 100 additional Holden engineering staff will continue to apply their skills and talents to local and global vehicle programs.," he said. "As Holden has done for decades, we will export our expertise to the world."
The Astra hatch, Cascada convertible and Insignia VXR have all launched in 2015, the new Commodore VFII goes on sale in October and an all-new Spark arrives in Q1 2016.
All-new entrants in the crucial SUV market segment are also set to arrive, as is the as yet unknown GM model that will carry on the Commodore badge.
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