The last fragments of the HSV brand will be extinguished along with the final Holden-badged cars when Holden Special Vehicles transitions to General Motors Special Vehicles later this year.
Announced on 18 August, the new GMSV operation will essentially be a continuation of current HSV operations under a new name, aimed at ensuring General Motors products continue to be available here, despite GM abandoning RHD markets globally.
Some senior Holden personnel will transfer across to the new business when it officially starts up in Q4, 2020, but the exact makeup of GMSV’s leadership, along with the likely dealer network, is yet to be confirmed.
Before the end of Holden’s Australian manufacturing operations in 2017, there were more than 60 HSV dealers nationally. Around two thirds of those are expected to continue as GMSV businesses.
One element of GMSV that has been confirmed is a continuation of GM’s partnership with Walkinshaw Automotive Group (WAG – HSV’s parent company), who currently oversee RHD conversions of Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickups.
“We’re pleased to continue our 33-year association with GM through their new venture GMSV,” said WAG Director, Ryan Walkinshaw.
“We’re able to keep significant automotive employment in Victoria through this new business and continue to bring exciting product to market which is core to the Walkinshaw Group’s DNA. We’ve developed unique engineering expertise in producing OEM standard right-hand drive conversions at scale, and we look forward to working closely with GMSV in this new era.”
WAG/HSV will continue to re-manufacture the Chevrolet Silverado range at their Clayton premises and work closely with GM on future models and projects for Australia, which may include larger pickup trucks from Chevrolet and GMC, as well as the upcoming Hummer electric pickup.
WAG will partner with other vehicle manufacturers on RHD conversions and engineering projects, too.
“Our business has now successfully pivoted to a contract manufacturing and engineering company for multiple customers. We can apply our whole organisation’s expertise and experience to help deliver first class results for our customers, as is evident most recently with the success and growth in the full-size truck market,” Walkinshaw added.
“We look forward to working with our customers, including GMSV, to continue to grow, and to continue to invest in our community by providing more employment opportunities.”
While HSV will soon be gone, servicing and spare parts for HSV vehicles will continue beyond this year, Walkinshaw says.
“The HSV dealer network will continue to service HSV product and to supply warranty, spare parts and accessories to our customers into the future. We are committed to preserving HSV’s integrity and heritage, and ensure it remains the pinnacle of Australian motoring.”
Since HSV was established in 1987, more than 85,000 HSV-badged vehicles have been produced, the vast majority being Commodore-based sedans, but also including the Sportscat version of the Colorado ute.
Stoddart takes on MD role at HSV/WAG
HSV’s transition to GMSV will be overseen by a new Managing Director in Joel Stoddart, who takes the reins of both HSV and WAG following Tim Jackson’s departure from the business at the end of August.
A part of HSV for the past 22 years, initially in engineering roles, Stoddart steps up from the Chief Operating Officer role to the new leadership position.
Jackson leaves after 11 years with HSV. Initially serving as Director of Sales & Marketing, he took on the MD role in February, 2014, and was instrumental in laying the foundations for the company’s transition from Commodore upgrades to Chevrolet conversions.