Holden announce $30m plan to invest in self-driving cars, EVs and jobs
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In the midst of battling sales demons on both sides of the Tasman, Holden have announced plans to further their investment in the development of future technologies.
An injection of AU$28 million (NZ$30 million) from parent company General Motors means that Holden's annual spend on research and development is set to grow by around 30 per cent.
"We are investing in Holden so we can win in Australia and New Zealand," says GM vice president of global design, Mark Reuss.
"Holden engineering will play a significant role in GM's global strategy to lead the future of personal mobility today, and for the foreseeable future.
"This is an exciting time for our industry, where we can expect to see more change in the next five years than we've seen in the last 50. And it's an exciting time for Holden, with Australian engineers playing a vital and key role in the future of the whole industry globally for General Motors."
The announcement didn't include reference to any new incoming Holden models, but it did confirm that Holden's Australia-based design and engineering team will swell to approximately 500 employees by the middle of next year.
"While we cannot reveal exactly which products the team will be working on, I can say that Australia and Holden will be working at the leading edge of future technology and mobility within General Motors," said Reuss.
Among those making the announcement was Holden's new Chairman and Managing Director Dave Buttner, who left a 30-year stint with Toyota to join Holden at the beginning of August.
While Ruess was keen to focus on the Australasian benefits, the announcement will also see General Motors grow its future technologies focus. Holden's new recruits will be integrated into GM's 'Advanced Vehicle Development' programme.
One would hope that this announcement would be the best indication yet that EVs like the Chevrolet Bolt could soon become part of the Holden line-up. The Bolt, ironically, was developed in Australia in its concept phase.
Holden instead sold the medium-segment Volt in Australia and New Zealand (sold elsewhere as a Buick Velite and Opel Ampera), which was culled from the range in 2015.