Holden and Toyota Team up....
Not sure if you guys have read this article or know more info but it looks like Holden and Toyota are set to rip off each others back and make another VR Commodore/Toyota Lexcen style knock off with the on coming VE Commodore and a Toyota VE Avalon...
Have a read...
[Carpoint New Article 29/3/04
TOYOTA AND HOLDEN TO SHARE NEXT GENERATION COMMODORE
- HOLDEN GETS LANDCRUISER IN RETURN
- TOYOTA READIES V8 SUPERCAR ATTACK
EXCLUSIVE: Toyota Australia is set to join brands like Opel, Saab, Buick, Holden and Chevrolet in developing a car based on General Motors' global rear-drive architecture. The stunning move will surely send shockwaves through the Australian car industry, and will have serious global ramifications as two of the world's heavyweights combine to crush the competition.
Sources within both camps have confirmed that "plans are well under way" for Toyota to get the VE Commodore platform, which it will use as a replacement for Avalon. In return, Holden is believed to be making $100 million per year on the deal, and, says our highly placed Holden source, "it also opens up discussions over Holden utilising Toyota's strong 4WD portfolio".
"[Holden CEO Denny] Mooney sees it as another step in securing Holden's future as the centre of excellence for rear-wheel-drive architecture within General Motors' empire. He thinks it's fantastic that Toyota has seen the potential of GM's Zeta architecture, which is likely to be exported to four continents."
Our Holden source, who works in Holden's Liaisons with Industry and Economies of Scale department, hinted that this may just be the first of many Holden/Toyota collaborations. "I've seen memos on desks relating to discussions with Toyota about using the Global V6 engine, and possibly even the Gen IV V8. I've even seen schematics of Holden's all-wheel-drive technology under an Avalon bodyshell."
Holden is one of only two manufacturing operations in the world building the Global V6, which will be available in 2.8 to 3.6 litre capacities, both naturally aspirated and with forced induction. It will be offered in rear and all-wheel-drive configurations.
This seemingly shocking collaboration between Australia's two biggest sellers makes perfect sense in light of a couple of statements made recently by Mooney at a media dinner in February. At the time he said: "Toyota sells 45,000 four-wheel-drives a year, we sell 5000. You can't expect to give that much of a free kick to your rivals if you're determined to be Number One."
Mooney is keen to add a compact, medium and large four-wheel-drive to Holden's lineup in the quickest possible time, and it would seem as though Toyota's RAV4, Prado and LandCruiser fit the bill.
From Toyota's point of view, the move would appear to be the only way to tackle the big Aussie sedans head on. Sources within Toyota's future products department, Creation and Rationalisation of Automotive Prototypes, revealed "we've been struggling to get Avalon accepted for years now, throwing good money after bad in a vain attempt to change Australia's opinions of the car, but it hasn't worked.
"So we're going back to the drawing board in a full scale attempt to beat Commodore and Falcon in the sales race. And we figured, 'what better vehicle to challenge the big, rear-drive Aussie sedans than a big, rear-drive Aussie sedan.'"
This collaboration between Holden and Toyota is nothing new. It's been tried once before with the VR Commodore that Toyota sold as the Lexcen. Unfortunately, the Lexcen was swamped by the ill-feeling towards a number of other Toyota-Holden badge-engineering projects, including the Camry/Apollo and Corolla/Nova.
Toyota and Holden are expected to make a formal announcement in a special signing ceremony on April 1 on the top of the Westgate Bridge. CarPoint understands the location was chosen because it is exactly half way between Holden's home at Fishermen's Bend and Toyota's Altona manufacturing plant. The first components will ship immediately after, allowing Toyota to begin development work as quickly as possible.
Toyota insiders say its about time the Australian subsidiary took charge of its own future. "We've been showing Toyota Japan for years now that we're ready," said our source, "both from an engineering perspective with the X-Runner and then on a design front with the Sportivo concept.
"We will officially start work on project VETO (VE-Toyota) after the naming ceremony, but let me tell you -- off the record -- the work's already begun. It has to if we're going to make our 2006 launch date."
Conspicuous by his presence at Toyota Australia last week was global MotorSport boss Tsutomu Tomita, lending weight to speculation that Toyota will use the VE Avalon as the basis for a V8 Supercar attack. Our source would not be drawn on this subject, hiding behind a non-committal "We do not comment on future Commodore-killing motorsport products", however the tea lady confirmed the rumour for us.
"You can't hope to beat Ford and Holden in the showroom without beating them on the track," she said over a nice cup of Earl Grey. "And to beat them on track you need a top notch driver. Now I can't reveal too much, but I will say we stole Greg Norman from Holden last year, this year we've gone one better. I can't tell you [the driver's] name, but I can say that it rhymes with Peter Shock and no-one has won more Bathurst titles."
The word from pit lane is that Colin Bond will be the team principal, however day-to-day running will fall to Alan Horsley, the mastermind who lead Mazda to three Bathurst enduro wins in a row. The team will run under the Toyota International Motorcorp Team Australia MotorSport banner, or TIM TAMS. Greg Norman's Great White Shark enterprises are apparently on the verge of signing a naming rights deal with the team. ]