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by Daniel DeGasperi

Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) is committing to a future beyond 2017, according to its chief engineer, even if the next-generation Holden Commodore switches to front-wheel drive.

Asked directly whether HSV will work with whatever the next-generation Commodore (or Cruze) will be, HSV engineering manager Graham Dusting replied “yes”.

HSV has already created development proposals for its version of at least one of the two models that Holden will build at its Adelaide manufacturing facilities from 2016, both of which will be based on global architectures.

“They [General Motors] have supported our proposals so far,” told Dusting.

HSV Gen-F Range-9

The engineering chief hints that the next-generation Commodore will be a big step-change. It is most likely that the Commodore, which is currently built on an indigenous rear-wheel-drive architecture, will switch to a front-wheel-drive and possibly all-wheel-drive platform.

All-wheel drive is “something we’ll look at”, according to Dusting, who admits that the move to global architecture for Commodore was initially concerning.

“There’s initial concern because we’ve been comfortable in our little world,” he cites. “We learned to do things quite well and quite efficiently.”

Although some Holden buyers may no longer know (or care) which end their Commodore drives from, Dusting concedes that most HSV buyers know the product is rear-wheel drive. He also says that HSV would probably have begged Holden to keep that configuration.

HSV Gen-F Range-4

“I’m sure it would have been spoken about at board level. And we have senior Holden executives on the board, so it’s obviously spoken about at length.

“Whether HSV dropped to their knees and begged to keep rear-wheel drive … or if they did it didn’t … well, we don’t know yet…”

“HSV is always going to have to have more power than Holden … so if we can’t do front-wheel drive with too many kilowatts we’ll have to look at other options.

“Kids these days, I’m not sure if you said ‘which end does your car drive?’ they’d know. If the [HSV] brand’s strong enough … kids are starting to associate with HSV, they might not care [about rear drive].

“There’s no real secret that everyone’s going to have to adapt a little bit.”

Holden Cruze - 2

Dusting confirmed that a HSV version of this generation of Holden Cruze was kyboshed by General Motors, not Holden, but says that creating a bona fide HSV hot hatch version of the next generation isn’t out of the question.

“It’s a lot to do with what General Motors will let us do. The [current] Cruze never got off the ground, it never took off, it never gained any real momentum, because we were told to stop…

But a HSV Cruze is “certainly something we’ll be looking at”.

Dusting does, however, cite a number of potential issues with a HSV hot hatch, including the general competitiveness of the segement and potentially reduced profit margins.

Holden Cruze - 3

“If you can imagine how many cars are in that market, all of a sudden you’re against that Renault [Megane RS265] and the [Volkswagen] Scirocco, you name it, it’s there…

“HSV are used to pretty good margins. Could we charge enough for it?”

But could HSV create a version of the Cruze that is equal or better than those fierce competitors?

“Yes,” the engineering boss replies.

  • Phil

    Equal or better – if they throw enough money at it perhaps. The Walkinshaw Cruze didn’t impress too many who drove it with its laggy turbo donk. The Astra OPC already uses MRC. I’m sure HSV could put the 2L turbo from the OPC into the Cruze, and MRC suspension, but I doubt if they’d manage it for anywhere near the price of the others. Cars like the Megane 265 are so superior to their lesser brethren you’d wonder if there was any common parts between them.

    HSV would probably find more of a market by taking Colorado utes, dropping the ride height by 5 inches and stuffing a crate V8 in the nose… and fixing the pig-ugly nose.

    • JoeR_AUS

      what a rabble.

      GM is engineering a new Cruze, so engineering a HSV version of the current model is not a good investment.

      When the new model Cruze comes out HSV can develop products that would be suitable to other markets as well as our own.

  • Robin_Graves

    DSV (Deawoo Special Vehicles) is just around the corner. What a joke, if Holden are forced to kill off the Commodore let it die in peace, don’t degrade it by naming a bum-dragging Daewoo a Commodore.

    • Doctor

      Robin, I just can’t wait for a HSV version of a Daewoo flat-pack!
      At $29,990 push away it’ll be a bargain…

      • JoeR_AUS

        pick up at IKEA

    • Rocket

      May as well let the nameplate RIP rather than have a FWD version. There is the RWD Cadillac platform Holden could use post VF but maybe the cost is too high? Don’t see the point of a FWD large car when they are selling the Malibu here anyway.

    • Zaccy16

      i agree robin, if its not RWD theres no point making a next gen HSV, the whole point of HSV is the RWD oversteer from their huge V8’s! if its got anything to do with korea it will be a POS

    • Richo

      Love how all the haters are ignoring the small car comparison on this very same website that says the newly updated (by Holden’s Australian engineers) version of the Cruze is now the dynamic benchmark in the small car segment… Yet the haters continue to deny the talent that lies within Australia’s engineering ranks, instead preferring to view the world through a cultural cringe that says “if its not european, its not good”

      What a joke..

      • Phil

        It’s one thing to compare the Cruze against a 90TSI Golf or Mazda 3 Neo, another thing entirely to put it up against factory hotrods from VW, Opel and Renault. Compared to Euro makers who have honed their FWD cars over many years, HSV have little experience. And cost becomes a factor.

        They’ve had it relatively easy in terms of bolting in better suspension components and gruntier crate motors from GM, but they’ve been competing with RWD sedans that cost twice the money. With some truly good hot hatches circa 40K, is competing in that market viable for them? I don’t think it is. They’ve not made much inroads there before, with the Astra VXR. That’s not to say they don’t have a future, but it may not be in the way they currently operate.

        • Richo

          I’m not denying that a locally developed HSV hot hatch would have a very skinny margin and may well not be profitable, thats a decision for GM as clearly HSV couldn’t do it purely for Australian consumption, it would have to be a global model. But could HSV do the engineering work and then that work is adapted globally by GM? Again, thats a question for them, but I was simply making the point regarding Australia’s ABILITY to make such a car in reference to the HSV engineers claim that they could make a car just as good as the Germans, and from that perspective alone, I think the work coming out of Fishermans Bend and Clayton of late suggests that they most definitely can.

      • $29896495

        I’ll just correct you. The change to the Cruze was done world wide. It isn’t Australian based. Other than being ugly, the cruze suffers from some very ordinary details, which you and everyone else knows about so I won’t bother repeating them. (It was mentioned in the story you quoted) It is Korean, just because they bolt a CKD together here doesn’t make it Australian.

        • Richo

          huwtm – the chassis tuning of the MY13 Cruze was most definitely done in Australia and in fact Australia is the only market that receives this current chassis tune, Chevy has their own tune for the US market and Europe and Asia different tunes again. As for the tuning of the electric power steering, that was also done in Australia but adapted globally, as was the installation of the latest 1.6 engine. Holden (and Ford for that matter) in Australia do a lot of engineering for products that GM and Ford sell globally, they don’t just work on Australian market specific stuff anymore. Holden did, for example, the engineering work behind the current Chevy Camaro, a car that isn’t even sold here.

          As for the Cruze being built in Australia, it most definitely isn’t built from a Korean CKD kit, all of the stamping as well as the assembly is done in Adelaide, so learn your facts before posting.

          By the way, i’m not saying the Cruze is the best car in class, because it clearly is not, but if you compare the car that was originally imported from Korea against the latest MY13 offering, clearly Holden has done a pretty good job of making a competitive car out of what was originally a turd.

          • $29896495

            You need to get out more. Take a look around the world then rethink what you wrote.

          • Richo

            In other words, you can’t put together any coherent argument to dispute what I’ve said, so you’ll just insinuate that I’m ignorant and hope that is enough to save face… nice work champ!

            It’s easy to be a hater and a badge sook though isn’t it, much harder to actually judge things based on merit

          • $29896495

            What? How dare you sir! Simply, I couldn’t be bothered arguing against a fanatic. The info is out there, I’ve spend my time reading it. I suggest you do the same.

          • Richo

            If so, then why the false information, such as suggesting the local cruze’s are built from knock down kits from Korea which they are clearly not?

          • $29896495

            go look at some independent articles and histories. I’m no going to argue this point with you when it’s a korean car. GO LOOK

          • Richo

            The car was originally developed in Korea and originally built there, we all know that, this isn’t new news. But the cars coming out of Adelaide are built 100% in Australia, they are not kits from Korea. Mate they just aren’t! YOU go look!

            By the way, the local Cruze production WAS originally from CKD kits, but that changed to full production some time ago. Maybe thats where you are coming from.

          • Daniel D

            It you can’t be bothered to support your own position, its probably best not to offer it to the public.

          • Daniel D

            Richo gave some quite reasonable counter arguments to your original post. Your response showed you had no argument and no humility.

  • horsie

    bring on the HSV Camaro !!

    • JoeR_AUS

      Cadillac ATS anyone?

  • Bruce ‘stompy’ thompson

    commodore no rwd = no commodore (or HSV)!!

  • $29896495

    And yet again it remains to be seen what the deniers will think about this.

  • JamesB

    Senator with supercharged Coyote and optional AWD will be a great half-price alternative to M5, RS6 and E63.

  • Wile E

    As a driving experience AWD is not as good as RWD.Now I am talking under dry conditions which is most of the time in Oz.
    So AWD= more weight + more fuel consumption+inferior drive to RWD.
    So why would this be considered a good move for Oz.

    • Karl Sass

      I agree, going AWD makes absolutely no sense in the search for better fuel economy. Australian cars have traditionally been RWD for good reason.

  • Shaun

    Future looks bleak for HSV

  • Knockers abound

    I love the way the knockers of anything Australian come out in there droves and knock knock knock. Experts on nothing who have no idea what is really going on in the automotive world.

  • Poison_Eagle

    Wow; this seems to be the clearest indication yet of Holden switching to FWD with the next Commo. Could they be adopting the same model as Toyota with the Camry?

    • Richo

      Only two possibly platforms to choose from with the next Commodore, either Alpha (RWD or AWD) or Epsilon II (FWD or AWD).

      Epsilon is definitely the favourite which means RWD isn’t on the table, so the best the enthusiasts could hope for I think is FWD base models with AWD premium models, which also sadly means no V8 as the engines in the Epsilon platform must be mounted east/west.

      VJ model HSV’s to be AWD turbo sixes? Probably…

      • gtrxuone

        Interesting comments Richo.I would rather the Commodore went like the Falcon the went fwd.

  • Sh0ck-wave

    The current Cruze is a maintenance nightmare, why would you want a hot version with even ‘less’ tolerance on all the bits that go wrong ? This is the type of car for someone who thinks everyone else is looking at them .. FYI, they’re not. Stupid tyres and a farty exhaust are not head turning.