US car giant General Motors will retain a presence in Australia with a range of specialist vehicles including the Chevrolet Silverado pick-up and Corvette sports-car from the US, Holden has confirmed today.
The new General Motors Specialty Vehicles operation will be established by the end of this year, as the Holden brand is retired.
GMSV – which will sell the first factory-made right-hand-drive Corvette in the nameplate’s history alongside a range of locally re-manufactured Chevrolet Silverado pick-ups – will effectively replace Holden Special Vehicles.
HSV accounted for approximately 65 of Holden’s national network of 185 dealers who operated 203 showrooms.
GMSV is understood to be planning the appointment of 40 to 60 dealers nationally, many of which will be former Holden or HSV showrooms.
The GMSV announcement comes as showroom signage starts to come down on Holden showrooms across the country – and after the overwhelming majority of dealers agreed to compensation packages offered to them by the US car giant following the retirement of the Holden brand.
A number of senior Holden executives had been linked to GMSV, including Holden boss Kristian Aquilina and sales director Peter Keley. However former Holden dealer development manager, Joanne Stogiannis, has today been confirmed as the boss of the new GMSV division.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Stogiannis has worked for Holden for 16 years and most recently was responsible for the national dealer network (January 2017 to April 2018), new vehicle sales (April 2018 to January 2019), and GM’s car-sharing network Maven (August 2019 to present).
Veteran Holden executive Peter Keley, who had been establishing GMSV in the wake of the Holden closure announcement, will leave the company in October after a 37-year career with General Motors, including the managing director role of Holden in New Zealand (2005 to 2008).
As reported earlier, the Chevrolet Corvette is due in Australian showrooms in late 2021 or early 2022 after being pushed back to align with European emissions testing standards.
Meanwhile, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pick-up is due to shift seamlessly from being distributed by Holden Special Vehicles dealers and switch to newly-appointed GMSV showrooms. The current Chevrolet 1500 will also be joined by the larger new-generation Chevrolet Silverado 2500 next year.
Holden has confirmed the Walkinshaw Automotive Group will be retained to continue the engineering of selected left-hand-drive models to right-hand-drive, and local remanufacturing.
Other General Motors models may eventually be added to the Corvette and Silverado line-up, but initially the focus will be on these two icon vehicles.
Other General Motors vehicles believed to be under consideration but not confirmed are the new generation Chevrolet Tahoe SUV and electric Hummer and Cadillac models.
Meantime, General Motors will also retain a staff of about 200 head office employees in Australia to support parts, warranty, service and recall work for the remaining 1.6 million Holden cars on Australian roads.
General Motors has previously said it plans to retain a presence in Australia "for at least 10 years" after the retirement of the Holden brand at the end of 2020.