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Chinese and Russian HSVs are just for starters

In demand: HSV says its Vauxhall-badged VX-R was a bigger hit in the UK than Holden's own Monaro.

HSV to piggyback Holden exports, with one quarter of prouduction earmarked for overseas

28 Aug 2006

HOLDEN Special Vehicles aims to more than double its export potential with its new range of E-Series ClubSport, GTS, Senator Signature and upcoming long-wheelbase Grange models.

The hot-rod Commodore company hopes to send one in every four vehicles it builds at its Clayton facility overseas, following in the footsteps of Holden's aggressive export strategy.

But while HSV models are likely to join the Commodore in countries as far afield as the USA and potentially even Russia, HSV says it is also looking for bespoke export markets for its high-performance family.

"I am happy to grow the business in the domestic market, but there is a lot of potential for these cars to increase our volume from an export point of view," HSV managing director Phil Harding said at the E-Series launch last week.

"We would like to see that a quarter of our annual production is catered for by export markets." HSV sent more than 400 cars overseas last year, including the full range to New Zealand, the GTO coupe to the United Kingdom and a batch of race-ready ClubSports to the Middle East for use as a support category at the inaugural Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix.

 center imageThe GTO coupe was rebadged as a Vauxhall VX-R – which Harding claims was more popular than the standard Monaro in the UK – while a Grange was shown at the Shanghai International Motor Show last year to gauge interest on the back of Holden’s rebadged Buick Royaum/Statesman.

Harding is aiming for 750 cars in 2007 with a view that its total export volume could potentially rise to more than 1000 vehicles within the next few years.

"As a principle, where Holden goes we will follow," he said.

"They want the product... there is no shortage of demand for the cars we build (from export markets).

"And there is a couple of markets (outside of Holden’s export plan) that we are looking at." Even despite the loss of Coupe and all-wheel drive models, the fact that Maloo will continue to run on the VZ platform until late next year and the pain of increased fuel prices hurting the large car segment, Harding is confident that HSV can produce – and sell – 4000 vehicles next year – for Australia and New Zealand.

And he is equally upbeat that an extra 1000 vehicles for potential export markets would not stretch is manufacturing capacity.

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