Holden begins production on new Cruze hatch

Australia’s automotive industry looks to be in good stead for 2012 having survived the high Australian dollar, continuous uncertain global economic shifts and natural disasters, not to mention industrial work stoppages – if only just.

While Toyota had to push back the production start date for its seventh-generation Camry, the automotive maker looks to be on track with the production of its seventh-generation Camry after reaching a principle workplace agreement with unions; Holden yesterday commenced production on the new Cruze hatch ahead of an official launch in early November.

Holden’s all-new Australia-made Cruz will be manufcatuered at the company’s Elizabeth plant in South Australia. The car is being produced for the Australian market. Pricing for the 2012 Cruze will start at RRP $21,240 (for the Cruze CD 1.8 litre petrol manual model, up to $30,740 for the Cruze CDX 2.0 litre diesel automatic model.

With Cruze hatch models going into production this month (October), Holden is now building 51 models across the global small car and Commodore short and long wheel base architectures, all on the same line.

Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux said the addition of the Cruze to the automotive manufacturer’s locally-made portfolio not only reflects the flexibility of its Elizabeth plant and Holden’s workforce.

“It’s a challenging time for manufacturing, but Holden is one of the most flexible automotive manufacturing operations in the world and we’re incredibly proud of our capability,” Devereux said.

“As global economic conditions changed we set ourselves a very clear goal to be profitable first and foremost on our domestic business. This means building in Australia the large and small cars that Australians really want to drive.

“This strategy is clearly paying off. Cruze has been a great success in the market and our locally-made vehicles account for nearly 60 per cent of Holden’s new car sales this year.”

Cruze program engineering manager, Peter Siablis, who was present for the start of production this week, said the hatch had been specifically engineered for Australian driving styles and road conditions.

“We clocked up a further 140,000 kilometres testing the new Cruze hatch on local roads which helped us develop a number of enhancements for the hatch which we’ve also applied to the model year 2012 Cruze sedan,” Siablis said.

“When customers get behind the wheel next month we think they’ll feel the suspension changes we’ve made which improve steering response, ride quality and add a sense of refinement to the overall driving experience.”

The Cruze hatch will be launched on South Australian roads on 8 November.

The first Australian-made Holden Cruze came off the factory line in Elizabeth in March this year.

The Cruze localisation program received co-investment from the Federal Government’s Green Car Innovation Fund and the South Australian Government.

Designed and engineered for Australian conditions, the hatch joins Cruze sedan and local and export Commodore variants on the general assembly line at Holden Vehicle Operations in Elizabeth, South Australia.

The new Holden Cruze is the first small car built by Holden in 10 years. The construction of the vehicles has reportedly created an extra 265 jobs at the company.