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by Daniel DeGasperi

General Motors vice president of design Ed Welburn has admitted the current Holden line-up “needs improvement”, vowing to put consistency back into the future range with a plan that has “thrilled” Australian dealers.

Welburn recognises that in the future there needs to be consistency of design language across all Holden products so customers are not confused by a varied array of models.

Yet Holden is currently embarking on a plan to import several Opel models from Europe such as the Astra, Insignia and Cascada, which despite using a different design language to the current Australian- and South Korean-based range of Barina, Cruze, Malibu and Commodore will rub shoulders in local dealerships from later this year.

But Welburn stopped short of saying one group of products – either North American-based, South Korean-built products for Chevrolet, or European products for Opel – would win out over the other in the Holden range.

Instead in future General Motors is apparently aiming to narrow the vast gap in design language between the products from either side of the world.

holden-astra-insignia-cascada

“The portfolio should be so consistent that the customer doesn’t know if it came from Korea or Australia or Germany or Mexico,” tells Welburn, who added that currently the Holden line-up is a “portfolio that needs improvement”.

“They can co-exist if they have the same design language and the same feel and the same goal, they can co-exist if the portfolio is consistent, and if it’s not consistent then you’ve got a problem.

“Future Korean products are very different than Korean products of the past, and they’re really quite good.

“What we’re developing and what is coming out of Korea is really strong, it’s good work.”

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Although Welburn refused to put timing in place of when greater consistency in the Holden line-up would be achieved, he believes a future Holden line-up will be among the most consistent it has ever been.

“I would just say that when I was in Australia less than a year ago and I showed that portfolio to the dealers, the dealers were thrilled, thrilled,” he told.

“It was like the future of the Holden brand and the portfolio that they will get is as strong if not stronger than at any other time in the brand’s history.

“I just feel very good, and that group of dealers that I met with felt very good.”

Welburn said he flew Down Under to present the future Holden plan to dealers eight months ago. From what has already been announced, the make-up of models includes 30 per cent from Opel of Europe, and a V8-engined sports coupe likely from the US, while according to Welburn Korea “will have a very important role in our portfolio”.

“It will be very consistent,” he reiterated.




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