HSV Gen-F GTS: Imported From Adelaide, But For How Much Longer?

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

Holden and HSV try their hand at the “Imported From Detroit” style car commercial. As someone who has always been partial to Aussie muscle sedans, it’s easy for me to say I’m a fan. No doubt the line about cars becoming “smaller, quieter and more vanilla” will resonate with many of us. In a country where the Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla have knocked the Commodore and Ford Falcon off the top perches of the sales leader boards, it carries extra significance.

The latest news out of Australia shows that Holden’s Australian manufacturing base is barely hanging on, searching for new product in the post-RWD Commodore era and hitting up the Australian government for yet another round of subsidies. The sad fact is that the Commodore, like the soon-to-be-departed Falcon, is an anachronism. As our own Marcelo De Vasconcellos put it

Welcome to the brave new world. A world where what’s available in your local markets is more influenced by what people predominantly prefer the world over, than whatever the locals may wish for.

In this case, that is a more efficiently packaged sedan, and that would suggest a transverse layout, smaller engines and a footprint appropriate for markets beyond Australia. There may be a chance that the next Commodore rides on some kind of Alpha platform, but long-standing rumors suggest that it will in fact resemble every other front-drive GM sedan out there already.Interestingly, an SUV such as the Captiva, has been ruled out for Australian productio n, despite being cited by some as a potential savoir for Australian car factories. The reality is that a Thai-built Captiva is far more profitable, and that’s not going to change any time soon.

Join the conversation
23 of 57 comments
  • RobertRyan RobertRyan on Jul 11, 2013

    @Derek Kreindler You missed the Toyota Hilux which has been the best selling vehicle over the last couple of years and looks like doing the same this year. http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story2/FFD0157A64AA1FADCA257BA50025B512

  • Marcelo de Vasconcellos Marcelo de Vasconcellos on Jul 11, 2013

    Hey Derek, thanks for the quote!

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Jul 11, 2013

    I'm in no way saying I'm happy with the outcome. I stating what's occurring. We haven't had a fivefold increase in unemployment, where are the unemployed? We will not lose 325 000 jobs. We will still manufacture automotive components to export. What is killing us is the assembly line costs more than any other aspect of car manufacture. In fact any labour intensive industry we aren't competitive at. Manufacturing this day and age isn't what is driving economies. Services represent between 65% and 75% of any modern economy. What makes an economy successful is power and control of trade. This is why Australia has a disproportionately strong economy. We exercise significant control over minerals and agri industry. We also have a very advanced bio medical/pharmacutial industry. We are a leader in logistics globally, bulk handling and on and on. This is also what is weakening the US balance of power, it's losing its power/influence in trade. Its still strong, but nothing like it had in the past 70 years. Australia has much to offer, losing an unviable industry isn't going to stop us advance. It will save money. Manufacturing or value adding is great............if you can compete. But in Australia we are happy having the second highest living standard in the world. Why try and reduce that so we can manufacture. The rest of a countries economy is made up of 'local' attributes that a nation has. Look at France, tourism is a large part of the economy. Korea manufacturing. Australia is mining and agriculture. Saying we are a third world economy because of our mining and agriculture is to simplistic. Look at what we are achieving elsewhere.

    • See 15 previous
    • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Jul 13, 2013

      @ThirdOwner Answering your 'taking care of the people first' we do, and the only country that does it better is Norway (at the moment). Taking care of our people is not allowing it to become like the US, Eurozone, UK, Japan and the other economies that are in strife. That means to have little or no subsidisation of agriculture, manufacturing, etc like we have had for the past 25+ years. Whilst these economies with corporate welfare come to terms with their debt levels hopefully Australia will be better off. The 'West' needs to restructure and let the deadwood fall away. Become efficient and competitive and as a team. Or the billions who want to live like us will pass us by.

  • Jimbob457 Jimbob457 on Jul 12, 2013

    Just as an addendum to the broader trade discussion. US manufacturing has stabilized at approximately 12% of GDP over the past 10 years. The trend is ever so slightly UP. This ended a 25 year decline that started with manufacturing at 25% of GDP. Robots are the beginning and the end of it all. Sure, nobody has yet invented a competitive robot that can sew, but they can surely cut fabric with laser-like precision. The first world designs and builds the robots. Don't make buggy whips!

    • See 1 previous
    • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Jul 13, 2013

      @ThirdOwner Car manufacturing isn't as high tech an industry as you are making out. If that was the case developing nations wouldn't be a threat to the advanced economies. Producing the vehicle design, equipment (robotics) and techniques to manufacture is high tech. But developing nations are right on our heels. But then again look at Brazil and the Colorado. It show less advanced economies can and are competing. Brazil also has the 3rd largest airline manufacturer after Boeing and EADS, it's called Embraer. They do make good aircraft. If we want to compete protecting agriculture and basic manufacturing ie, motor vehicles,hammers, wrenches etc is only going to reduce standards of living. This is occurring anyway in the West, just look at the European situation or even the US, where the you were better off in 1992. Right now Australia is installing a fibre optic network that will reach 97% of homes in the country. That is fibre to the home. This kind of infrastructure will keep us in front. Infrastructure is a significant reason for the Wests success ie, simple things road, rail, sewage, power, gas, communitcation, air and on and on. Are we investing enough into infrastructure. It will increase business and make it more competitive globally than paying inefficient industries to survive by using borrowing and taxes.