Holden has signed a long-term deal with a General Motors affiliate in China that will see the Australian company develop at least two all-new vehicles for the world's largest automotive market and shores up the future of the local design facility.
The agreement sees Holden join forces with Shanghai General Motors (SGM) and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) to develop the new vehicles, which will be based on GM global platforms and tailored for the Chinese market.
Crucially, Holden’s designers and engineers assigned to the project will be based at the company’s Port Melbourne Technical Centre. The announcement comes just weeks after Holden confirmed the details of a $1 billion-plus, 10-year co-investment agreement to secure its vehicle assembly operations in Elizabeth, South Australia until 2022. Last month's deal will see Holden produce two all-new cars in the second half of this decade.
Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux said the China deal was another acknowledgement that Holden is a valued source of expertise within GM International Operations, being one of only seven fully-integrated design, engineering and manufacturing operations under the group’s global umbrella.
“We have worked with SGM and PATAC in recent years on smaller projects, but this is the first significant, long-term project to partner our organisations,” Devereux said.
“It gives the Holden workforce a great sense of pride to work on global vehicle programs like this and to see Australian design, engineering and manufacturing expertise exported around the world.”
GM has been the leading global manufacturer by sales in China for the past seven years, and last year sold in excess of 2.5 million vehicles under its Baojun, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Jiefang, Opel and Wuling brands. GM has 11 joint ventures and two wholly owned foreign enterprises in China, and employs more than 35,000 workers.
The engineering expertise of fellow local car maker Ford Australia is also being tapped for China, with a still-to-be-officially-confirmed small car project in development.