Friday, March 4, 2011

Holden Cruze: How homegrown?

At Holden's Elizabeth plant, brand executives claimed "around 30" local suppliers were already involved with the manufacture of the sedan; including those from South Australia and Victoria.
According to Holden's managing director Mike Devereux, an estimation on 'dollars made here' amounts to "40 to 50 per cent".
"There's lots of different ways to calculate that," he suggests. "This was a fast-tracked program... Around two-and-half years, which is fairly tight."
Opportunity for further Australian input is not out of the question because the Cruze team was pressed to "lock this car down with the supply base we've got" as soon as possible.
"Then we stabilise production here [Elizabeth] and make sure we build the highest-quality Cruze we can," said Devereux.
Plans for the hatch's process includes "strategic opportunities to increase the localisation of Cruze so over time that [supplier] number will get bigger."
The Cruze lineup will include three, Euro 5-matching engine options. The new 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine -- rated at 103kW/200Nm and using 6.4L/100km when equipped with manual transmission -- is produced in Europe; the 2.0-litre turbodiesel, good for 120kW/360Nm and turning efficient consumption figures like 5.6L/100km, is VM Motori-licensed; South Korean-built and the 1.8-litre (104kW/176Nm; 7L/100km) petrol engine is also built in South Korea.
Differences between the locally built and imported Cruze include the aforementioned engine lineup, restyled front and rear end treatment, new wheel options and introduction of Watts link suspension for the 1.4 models.
"All calibrated to our conditions... There's been a lot of work here to make sure this is an Australian car," assured Devereux.
Holden will stamp all Cruze bodies in Australia.
"One of the biggest investment areas when localising a vehicle is the actual stamping facility where the body is put together. That is one of the biggest cost areas," explained Devereux.
Holden has a "great supplier and partner" for body parts made for Commodore and Cruze, and intends to "localise a lot more content going forward", he said.
Throughout March, says Devereux, Holden will ramp up production of the Cruze sedan until meeting usual capacity quota per day before the model's release later this year.


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