locally produced Holden Cruze has rolled off the car maker’s assembly line in Elizabeth, South Australia.
The milestone vehicle, a Cruze SRi Z-Series hatch in Red Hot paint, was completed on Tuesday and is destined for Commonwealth Motors in Canberra.
Holden Cruze leave the line a little over three and a half years after the first Cruze sedan emerged from the Elizabeth plant in March 2011, and three months after General Motors marked the delivery of the three millionth Cruze globally.
Holden executive director of manufacturing Richard Phillips said the milestone was a special one for the company and the local manufacturing team.
“The Cruze competes in the most hotly contested segment of the most competitive car market in the world, but it’s the only small car made here in Australia. That’s something we’re very proud of,” Phillips said.
“Small car buyers get incredible value with a Cruze, as well as outstanding quality – we put a huge emphasis on build quality for our customers and our internal measures show we are currently building the best-quality cars to ever roll out of this factory.”
The milestone is a bright spot in what has been a disappointing year for the Cruze. Sales have dropped 26 per cent in 2014, down to 15,620 to the end of October.
Holden is on track to sell fewer than 20,000 Cruzes in Australia this year, a long way from its record of 33,784 just three years earlier.
Uncertainty remains over the future of the Cruze in Australia. A new-generation model is set to launch internationally next year, at least two years before Holden plans to shut the doors on Elizabeth.
The new model will be built on an entirely new platform, which would require a major overhaul of the South Australian facility for what would be fewer than 24 months of production, making local production of this model highly unlikely.
CarAdvice also believes Holden will bring the next-generation Astra range (also due to debut globally next year) to our shores, potentially in 2016, further clouding the future of the Cruze.
The Astra badge will return to Holden showrooms next year with the reintroduction of the GTC coupe and VXR (formerly OPC) hot-hatch that were briefly sold here under failed sister brand Opel.