Should Holden have gifted its performance specialist arm Holden Special Vehicles the go-fast models it has just announced will join its line-up in 2015? Seems a mighty good question.
Ever since Opel crashed out of the Australian market in late 2013 there have been rumours that Holden would introduce some of the run-of-the-mill models, while it was widely expected that HSV would offer the OPC range as a means of bolstering its line-up.
That is not the way things have panned out, though.
Following Holden’s recent announcement that it will introduce both the Astra VXR and Insignia VXR – models that used to wear the Opel Performance Centre (OPC) branding – as part of its mainstream model range, it has become clear there is a disconnect between what Holden wants to achieve on its own and what will be left for performance specialists Holden Special Vehicles to fettle with.
HSV managing director, Tim Jackson, indicated to CarAdvice the news of Holden’s plans to go it alone with the VXR performance models is something of a challenge.
“Holden is always raising the bar, as it should,” he said. “And we are always challenged with delivering more.”
Trainspotters will know the HSV VXR badge has been used on a European-made Astra model in the past. The previous generation model was powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with 177kW and 320Nm. The new-generation Astra VXR pumps 206kW and 400Nm from its 2.0-litre turbo.
Jackson said HSV won’t comment on future product, and that he has “no desire to add to any speculation” on whether HSV will add its touch to any of the future crop of hot-hatch models from Holden.
“However, our job is as it has always been – deliver an exciting and differentiated product,” Jackson said.
As it currently stands, HSV offers versions of the Commodore sedan, Sportwagon and Ute and the Caprice limousine. All of those cars will cease to exist by the end of 2017, going by Holden’s plans to cease local manufacturing at that time.