Holden has let slip on plans that it will build an all new "smaller" car at its Elizabeth plant in Adelaide.
At this stage it is unknown as to whether the vehicle will be manufactured from the ground up (think Torana) or assembled from "knocked down" kit using parts made off-shore.
The union representing the Adelaide plant's 3,400 workers, the AMWU (Australian Manufacturing Workers Union), wants the car to be built at Elizabeth and will take up the issue in the next round of enterprise bargaining negotiations.
AMWU secretary John Camillo says he does not know which option has been submitted to Holden's international bosses.
"At this stage management haven't been too clear in regard to what they are seeking other than to say that they have put a plan in place and it's only a few weeks away whether they would know that will go ahead or not," he said.
"They've indicated that the need to take the plan to Asia-Pacific to speak to the senior GM management at Asia-Pacific and, if they approve it, they then need to go to Detroit to seek their approval in being able to produce the small vehicle at the Elizabeth operation."
Mr Camillo says the car will cater for market trends, as larger cars now produced at the SA plant are becoming less popular with consumers.
"We see quite clearly that the Australian consumers of vehicles are targeting the smaller vehicles, so I think if Holdens can get a small vehicle on the production line at Elizabeth by 2010 they would do extremely well in selling that product," he said.
This new development lends even more credence to our belief that the vehicle could be the partly Australian designed Chevrolet Cruze.
GM Global Vice President of Design Ed Welburn introduces the Chevrolet Cruze at the Paris Motor Show
These first photographs of Chevrolet's all-new Cruze sedan, which made its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show, reveal a dynamic four-door coupe that proves exciting design and value are not mutually exclusive.
On sale beginning in Europe from March next year, Cruze features a dramatic re-interpretation of the traditional sedan featuring Chevrolet's new global design language that is becoming a signature on all new products carrying the gold bowtie, or perhaps even our own Holden lion.
Cruze's arching roof-line, extending from the steeply raked windshield to its sloping rear pillars and short rear deck, brings coupe-like proportions to a compact sedan.
Wider and longer than most of its competitors, Cruze has a purposeful stance with its wheels located at the outer edges of the tautly drawn bodywork. Noticeably tight body panel fits and a restrained use of exterior trim add to a high quality, "hewn from solid" appearance.
Cruze's dramatic profile is matched by bold front styling, with large headlamp housings that wrap around the front corners and sweep up, arrow-like, into the fenders and sculpted hood.
Other distinct design themes include a concave shoulder line, the two-tier grille and a "wheels-out/body-in" stance. Inside, Cruze features a "twin cockpit" design motif, first introduced in the iconic Corvette sports car.
"Our goal in designing Cruze was to be bold, not evolutionary," says chief designer Taewan Kim. "We wanted to take a big step forward, making a strong design statement for Chevrolet products around the world."
Visitors to the Paris show will see how Chevrolet's progressive design is also reflected in the quality of Cruze's interior. The use of grained surfaces, soft-touch materials and low gloss trim panels ensures a quality ambience that echoes the clean, harmonious design of the exterior.
At launch in Europe, Cruze will be available with 16 valve, 1.6-litre (82 kW) and 1.8-litre (103 kW) petrol engines featuring variable valve timing (VVT) on both inlet and exhaust sides, giving more power as well as better fuel economy and lower emissions.
An all new 2.0-litre turbo diesel, developing 110 kW and 320 Nm of torque adds power with even greater frugality. Five-speed manual gearboxes and an all-new automatic transmission, Chevrolet's first six-speed application in the compact segment, complete the powertrain menu.
With sales in Europe up by 23 percent for the first six months of 2008, Chevrolet is GM Europe's fastest-growing mainstream brand. The arrival of Cruze spearheads an exciting new product roll-out program that is expected to propel the brand to even greater success.
"We are proud that Europe is leading the introduction for this global product," said Wayne Brannon, Executive Director, Chevrolet Europe. "Chevrolet has always stood for expressive value and Cruze delivers on that promise like never before. It further redefines Chevrolet with its design, quality, materials and great style inside and out. The fit and finish for gaps and interfaces sets a new standard for this segment in Europe and around the world."
Cruze is the result of a development process harnessing GM's global expertise and is the first of a new family of compact products that will deliver world class quality. It will be backed by expected highest scores in all major crash safety ratings.
The Chevrolet Cruze will be available in Europe from March 2009, followed by other global markets with regional-specific engine choices.