The truck stops here for Holden
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Holden New Zealand was keen to remind attendees at this year’s National Fieldays in Hamilton that the Colorado isn’t their only truck
The annual National Fieldays at Mystery Creek might seem like a strange venue for Holden to be making a song-and-dance about their new Astra sedan, but with every automotive distributor in the country – from LDV to Lexus and every point in between – showing off their wares, showcasing decidedly non-rural style vehicles to the throngs coming through the gate has become just as important as flogging cab-chassis utes.
The Astra, incidentally, is pretty much what it says on the tin; a three-box sedan version of the Astra hatch. Although, not to get too convoluted; overseas it’s actually the Korean-built Chevrolet Cruze and doesn’t have much in common with the European-manufactured Astra hatch beyond the chassis.
It does come with a host of good stuff across the board though (a 110kW 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine, six-speed automatic transmission, five-star safety, reversing camera, MyLink touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) and starts at $30,990 plus on-roads. Reveling in its ability to push new nameplates, Holden also announced an Astra Sportwagon (mid-size station wagon) is on the horizon too.
Naturally there were utes a-plenty on Holden’s Fieldays stand too of course. Colorados are the main attraction (and the recently rejuvenated version is a serious contender), as well as the last Commodore ute ever.
Theses impressive machines are essentially sports coupes with a tray, haven’t sold in big numbers in years, but remain a brilliant touchpoint with a now-closed chapter in Holden’s long history. The presence at Holden’s stand of build number 01 of the last ever series – the limited-edition Magnum – still had a long line of reverent spectators alongside it, all sporting enthusiastic schoolboy grins.
So, Holden’s point of difference? Strangely, the brand’s continuing tie-up with Isuzu Trucks meant that (technically speaking) Holden was the only car company at Fieldays boasting vehicles in its stable from the 6000kg to 7500kg GVM weight bracket.
Holden says this relationship remains integral to the company’s overall performance in New Zealand. And if you’re confused here, remember it’s the Isuzu utes division that GM Holden severed ties with a couple of years back; big trucks are still on the Christmas card list.
On the Isuzu stand was the Isuzu NP450 4X4; New Zealand’s best-selling tipper truck for the last three years, outselling its nearest rival two-to-one. Interestingly Isuzu puts the model’s recent chart-topping successes down to the New Zealand honey industry, which loves the load-carrying and off-road abilities of the truck.
Isuzu’s current reign as truck champion extends further than this plucky short-wheel base hauler too. In the heavy duty (23 ton) bracket, the Japanese manufacturer enjoys the most market share; important when heavy trucks account for 50 percent of the overall market.
We haven’t even got to the incoming Equinox yet (an SUV that will fill the gap vacated by the exit of the Captiva 5), but suffice to say there is plenty of truck life left for Holden.