A little while ago, we previewed the future of Ford showrooms in Australia beyond the end of local manufacturing for that brand in late 2016 – and now it’s the turn of arch rival Holden.
The picture is still not quite as clear for Holden’s showroom, as it hasn’t confirmed as many models as the Blue Oval has for its life Down Under without the Falcon or Territory (click here to read our Ford Showroom 2017 article).
However, we have some clear clues. Holden and Opel announced at the 2014 Paris motor show that more than a third of the future product line-up of General Motors’ Australian arm would be sourced from its German sister brand.
Expect those models to include commercial vehicles from Opel’s UK brand Vauxhall. Holden knows it will need a far more expansive and impressive range than it currently has if it is to achieve its publicly stated goal of overtaking Toyota by 2020 to become Australia’s top-selling automotive brand again.
CarAdvice has tapped into various sources from Holden, Opel and Vauxhall and combined various intelligence with our own thinking to formulate a guide to the vehicles that will or could wear the Lion badge from 2017 onwards.
We’ve indicated how strong the chances of a particular model being sold here are – being either Low, Medium or High – if not Confirmed or Continuing. Feel free to tell us (and Holden) which models you want to see in Australian showrooms.
HOLDEN VIVA – LOW
This new budget minicar will be sold as the Opel Karl in Europe and known as the Vauxhall Viva in the UK. However, don’t expect either nameplate or the car to be seen in Australia. The Karl/Viva is coming in 2015 to help deal with the departure of GM’s budget Chevrolet brand from Europe in the same year.
HOLDEN BARINA – HIGH
The Korea-sourced Barina will continue to be the company’s price leader in the price-sensitive city car segment.
HOLDEN CORSA – HIGH
Corsa has previously been imported to become a rebadged Barina, but this time the new, fifth-generation version is set to come as a high-spec, premium-priced city car to take on Volkswagen’s posh Polo and Renault’s cute Clio. Holden is likely to pick only one or two variants. One could be the VXR hot-hatch out in 2015, though Holden will also be tempted to make an image play by bringing in a regular Corsa that’s available with tech not currently available anywhere else in its class. Such features include semi-automatic parking, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring.
HOLDEN ADAM – LOW
Opel’s customisable compact answer to the Mini, named after founder Adam Opel, is on Holden’s browsing list, but three city cars may be one too far in Australia.
HOLDEN CRUZE – HIGH
The next-generation Cruze is expected emerge in 2015 in other markets, but would Holden go to the trouble of building the new version for what would be a limited period by the time it was available? Seems unlikely. Holden, though, could follow its Barina/Corsa strategy and import the new Cruze as the price leader to the more expensive Astra in the crucial battleground that is the small car class. Opel is likely again to have a sedan version of the next Astra (see below).
HOLDEN ASTRA GTC – CONFIRMED. HOLDEN ASTRA 5-DOOR - HIGH
The three-door Astra, dubbed GTC, is already locked in for a 2015 arrival but expect a fuller Astra range with five-door models to make its way here from 2016. The Astra nameplate is simply too powerful in Australia for Holden to ignore its use on a wider scale. We recently revealed a number of secrets of the next-generation Astra (artist illustration above) set to be unveiled in Europe in late 2015.
HOLDEN VOLT – MEDIUM
Chevrolet's second-generation Volt hybrid car was show at last week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, though it's not guaranteed will another Holden-badged version of the car that uses a petrol engine to recharge the electric motor’s battery pack is likely. The circa-$60,000 Volt has sold in extremely limited numbers locally, even if it was never intended as a volume model. There’s nothing like a technologically advanced car to help lift brand image, and it's only that thinking that will help get it across the line locally.
HOLDEN COMMODORE – HIGH
We wouldn’t be surprised if you skipped the other models listed and went straight to this one. There’s been much speculation about where the replacement for the locally built VF will come from – with a Chinese-assembled rebadged Buick among the rumours. And the odds have shortened considerably for the future Commodore to be the next-generation Opel Insignia due in 2016. Holden has been having an internal debate about whether to retain the Commodore nameplate or use Insignia for a model that will be very different in character to what Australians are accustomed: no rear-wheel drive and no V8. Opel designers say the next Insignia will be influenced by the Monza concept (main article image) and claim it will be one of the most beautiful-looking cars on the road. With the Malibu making little in-road into the medium car segment - just 1635 sales in 2014 - Holden may follow Ford's plan (with new Mondeo) and cover both medium and large car segments with just one vehicle. However, Holden could also have a direct replacement for the Caprice if the Holden-designed Buick Avenir concept (pictured above) from the 2015 Detroit motor show gets put into production.
HOLDEN V8 SPORTS COUPE - CONFIRMED
Great news from the 2015 Detroit motor show is that Holden will get their hands on a V8-powered sports coupe to take on the likes of the Ford Mustang. Details are still fuzzy at this point, though we know it won't be called Monaro or Commodore, the model hasn't been seen yet, and it will be sold globally. It's likely to be based on the next-generation Camaro (current model above) due in 2016. Read more: Holden V8 to live beyond 2017
HOLDEN CASCADA – CONFIRMED
Cascada is to the Astra what the Eos was to the Golf. The Opel convertible made its debut in Europe in 2013 and was due to come to Australia before the German brand made its premature exit from the market. In 2015 it eventually makes the transworld trip to become Holden’s first drop-top offering since the Tigra in 2006.
HOLDEN TRAX – CONTINUES
The Barina-based baby SUV – twinned with the Opel Mokka – only arrived in 2013 and is already proving to be a hit for the Lion brand. The Trax also performed well in CarAdvice's Compact SUV comparison test.
HOLDEN CAPTIVA – CONTINUES (FOR NOW)
Sales of both the Captiva 5 and 7 are down significantly in 2014, and Holden badly needs to replace these ageing models to capitalise on buyers’ continuing obsession with SUVs. A successor for the Captiva 5 seems less likely than a replacement for the seven-seater Captiva 7. Holden’s SUV options will eventually expand beyond these Chevrolet-based models, however…
HOLDEN MERIVA AND ZAFIRA – MEDIUM
MPV-style vehicles aren’t popular in Australia, though Holden did import the Zafira at one point to cover off the people-mover segment. Sales of MPVs in Europe are also down, however, and this has pushed Opel to turn the next-generation Meriva and Zafira into crossover-style vehicles. Due in 2016, the crossover duo will share platforms and engines with Peugeot-Citroen models to spread costs. Expect Holden to take a close look at both. (Current Zafira Sports Tourer pictured.)
HOLDEN MONZA – HIGH
GM is investing about $350 million in Opel’s Russelheim, Germany, plant to build a new flagship SUV by the end of the decade. Early speculation suggests the SUV will be based on the same platform as the Insignia medium car and be called the Monza (the name used for Opel’s stunning 2013 concept car). Would be a no-brainer for Holden.
HOLDEN COLORADO AND COLORADO 7 – CONTINUE
GM’s ute disappoints against its key rivals, though it performs better in the sales charts thanks to keen pricing. The latest Colorado ute debuted only in 2012, with annual updates since, so a next-gen version is some years away. Same goes for the SUV spin-off, the Colorado 7.
HOLDEN SILVERADO - HIGH
Big trucks are big business in the US, of course, though Holden is still desperate for one since it sold the Chevrolet Suburban between 1998 and 2001. General Motors has said it is looking to make more of its future US-centric vehicles in right-hand drive, with big utes obvious candidates for our market. An official import should help Holden keep pricing far more attainable than the current crop of big trucks that are available in Australia via conversion specialists but continue to be prohibitively expensive ($100,000 plus).
HOLDEN COMMERCIAL VEHICLES: CORSAVAN, COMBO, VIVARO, MOVANO – HIGH (FOR TWO AT LEAST)
Holden knows it has to expand its range of commercial vehicles to better compete with Toyota, as well as other strong mainstream rivals such as Hyundai, Renault and Volkswagen.
CarAdvice can report that Holden is looking to Vauxhall and Opel sister brands to choose from its four-strong range: Corsavan, Combo, Vivaro and the aforementioned Monano.
You can read more details about these van targets in our separate story: New Holden vans set to challenge HiAce, Transit and company