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Anyone read this at

Holden wants small HSVs, 'throatier' V8s
By Kevin Norbury and Hilton Holloway
The Age
Tuesday November 27 2001

Holden's performance arm, HSV, is moving closer to offering smaller, front-wheel-drives such as the Vectra and Astra as "hotties".
This line of thinking has become even more relevant in recent days after General Motors revealed full details of its new mid-size Vectra, due in Australia late next year, four months ahead of its international launch.

The top-end model is the sporty Vectra GTS, which is fitted with a 157kW 3.2-litre V6 engine and promises a top speed of nearly 250kmh.

While HSV has had its hands full designing its own versions of the Monaro, to be unveiled early next month, Holden is keen for it to expand its limited product portfolio, which now comprises only locally made Commodore and Statesman variants.

Holden chairman and managing director Peter Hanenberger was positive when asked about HSV's role in producing high-performance versions of Holden's mid-size line-up at the launch of the Monaro last week.

"All I know is that we have to expand the (HSV) portfolio, but whatever happens it has to be right," he said. "The most important thing is that we don't spoil the brand. It must be absolutely identifiable as an HSV."


Hanenberger said the smaller Astra also had a lot of potential. "And that car can stand a lot more power," he said. The 2.6-litre V6 (in the current Vectra) is available aftermarket overseas for the Astra.

Hanenberger, who has an engineering background, is no doubt keen to see the Vectra go on to bigger things as it was the last project he had a hand in at GM's European brand, Opel, before he came to Australia.

Holden and HSV executives are understood to have pencilled in a meeting some time next month and one of the main topics on the agenda is spreading HSV's brand across a wider range.

HSV's national sales and marketing manager, Mark Behr, said HSV engineers had yet to drive the new Vectra V6. It would have to be evaluated along with the rest of the product group.

As for the prospect of expanding the brand, he said: "Yes, but it has to be a legitimate HSV. The car's got to perform at the top of its class."

While HSV only puts its name to large Commodore and Statesman-based rear-wheel-drives, the thought of tackling the smaller, front-drive Holdens is clearly being given some thought, although the Astra V6 is the one likely to happen first.

Behr gave nothing away, but enough to admit something was in the pipeline. "There is some work getting done, but I can't saying anything (more than that)," he said.

GM is desperate to give the impression of high quality engineering and attention to detail in its new Vectra, which is larger than the current car and will be repositioned as an upmarket mid-sized vehicle.

The result is designed to lure buyers away from entry-level BMWs, Audis and high-specification hatchbacks such as the Golf.

GM is promising that the Vectra is both "driver focused" and "provides technical features previously only found in premium cars".

All cars have Saab-style anti-whiplash headrests, front, side and headbags and pedals that break away in a serious crash.

The cars also get ABS and an electronic stability program.

GM has invented the Interactive Driving System moniker to describe the efforts put into engineering an unusually sophisticated front-drive chassis.

It has also put huge effort into improving the feel and quality of the interior.

The Vectra will be made in Germany and the UK, with Australian-bound cars likely to originate from the UK.

Holden plans to break sound barrier
By Toby Hagon
Published: The Age

Holden is gearing up to give its V8 Commodores a more throaty exhaust note in response to customer criticism that the latest Chevrolet-built 5.7-litre engine lacks the aural qualities expected of a high-performance eight-cylinder.

The just-released Monaro provides the first glimpse of Holden's push to improve the exhaust note of its Commodore V8 range by giving it a more prominent burble.

Featuring a new air filter and mild changes to the induction system, the slightly revised system is designed to give the high-revving Chevrolet V8 more of that throaty sound for which V8s are renowned.

The move comes after years of criticism that the existing V8 is too restricted and doesn't sound throaty enough. Regardless, the latest V8 has been a sales success due to its higher output, free-revving nature and relatively frugal consumption (in V8 terms, that is).

While Ford can't match the Holden V8 on those fronts, the deep, prominent sound of the Blue Oval's 5.0-litre V8 is a winner with enthusiasts, something that has not been lost on Holden insiders, despite the public denials of any issue.

So now Holden is working on a new exhaust that will enhance the sound of its flagship all-alloy engine.

The revised system will be made available in time for next year's introduction of the heavily facelifted VY Commodore. It could even arrive earlier as part of ongoing product improvements.

Holden's engineering team has worked for "some time" on the new exhaust to meet stringent local noise regulations and to adhere to the company's internal goals. Holden said it does not want an exhaust that "booms" in the cabin.

As for Ford, the sound is right but its fuel-slurping 5.0-litre will be replaced next year by a new-generation 5.4-litre with overhead camshafts.

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