Designed and engineered for Australian conditions, the hatch joins Cruze sedan and local and export Commodore variants on the general assembly line at Holden Vehicle Operations in Elizabeth, South Australia.
Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mike Devereux, said the new addition to the locally-made portfolio highlighted the flexibility of the Holden plant and workforce.
“It’s a challenging time for manufacturing, but Holden is one of the most flexible automotive manufacturing operations in the world and we’re incredibly proud of our capability,” he said.
“With Cruze hatch models going into production this month we’re now building 51 models across the global small car and Commodore short and long wheel base architectures, all on the same line.
“As global economic conditions changed we set ourselves a very clear goal to be profitable first and foremost on our domestic business. This means building in Australia the large and small cars that Australians really want to drive.
“This strategy is clearly paying off. Cruze has been a great success in the market and our locally-made vehicles account for nearly 60 per cent of Holden’s new car sales this year.”
Cruze Program Engineering Manager, Peter Siablis, who was present for the start of production this week, said the hatch had been specifically engineeredfor Australian driving styles and road conditions.
“We clocked up a further 140,000 kilometres testing the new Cruze hatch on local roads which helped us develop a number of enhancements for the hatch which we’ve also applied to the model year 2012 Cruze sedan,” he said.
“When customers get behind the wheel next month we think they’ll feel the suspension changes we’ve made which improve steering response, ride quality and add a sense of refinement to the overall driving experience.”
Cruze hatch line-up and pricing mirrors Cruze sedan, with two petrol engine choices including the 1.4iTi and 1.8 litre, as well as a 2.0 litre diesel. Cruze hatch will be launched on South Australian roads on 8 November.
The Cruze localisation program received co-investment from the Federal Government’s Green Car Innovation Fund and the South Australian Government.