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January 08, 2009

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GM Holden To Build Small Carline Alongside Best-Selling Commodore

GM Holden will build an all-new small car in Australia alongside the country's best-selling Commodore range. The second carline will start in the third quarter of 2010 with support from the Federal and South Australian Governments. The vehicle will be based on General Motors' global Delta small car platform and feature new technologies to increase fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse emissions.

The new front-wheel-drive vehicle will be built as a sedan and hatch at GM Holden's Elizabeth manufacturing facility in South Australia. Design and engineering work will take place at the company's headquarters in Port Melbourne, Victoria. Start-stop hybrid technology and capacity to run on alternative fuels such as E85, diesel, LPG and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) are all being considered for the vehicle's development. It will be GM Holden's first locally produced car beyond its current range of larger vehicles since the Asian economic crisis ended Vectra production in 1998. The program will require 500 to 600 existing employees at Elizabeth and is estimated to provide 500 to 600 local supplier positions.

GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Reuss said the announcement provided opportunity to take a leading role in developing alternative fuel and fuel saving technologies in Australia for Australians. Mr Reuss said the program would be a major contributor to the economy, generating an estimated $70 million to $80 million in wages and $30 million in research and development.

 "Together with Government, we are extending the scope and consumer appeal of our local manufacturing efforts," Mr Reuss said. "We have been building Holden cars to suit the needs of Australian motorists for 60 years. These plans build on that tradition. We recognise the needs and desires of motorists are evolving with growing concern around environmental factors and shifting consumer sentiment. "

Flexible manufacturing infrastructure will be introduced to the Elizabeth plant to make it capable of producing a series of GM global vehicles in years to come. It also provides opportunity to develop an export program for the vehicle, particularly to other right hand drive markets around the world.

GM Group Vice President and Asia Pacific President, Nick Reilly, today added his support to the program as proof of GM's capacity to innovate across the region. "This announcement recognises the ability of GM, GM Holden and the Australian automotive industry to see the future and move in the right direction," Mr Reilly said.

Photo: GM

(Jan 2, 2009)

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