Blog Archives

Best Valentine’s day for two Holden lovers

Steve and Joy Fabish

Today, Taranaki couple Steve and Joy Fabish received a surprise valentine from an international ‘admirer’, Barry Engle; Executive Vice President and President, General Motors International.

A brand-new Holden Commodore valued at $70,000 was delivered to the couple’s residence in New Plymouth by four times Bathurst Champion Greg Murphy, along with a letter which read:

 Dear Steve and Joy,

 Happy Valentine’s Day.

 When I heard about how much you love Holden, I wanted you to know that Holden loves you too. Holden and Kiwis ‘go way back’ (as you like to say) and I think we’ve got an exciting future together.

Enjoy the drive, this brand-new Commodore is yours to keep. You’re the first New Zealanders to own one. I arrive in the country tomorrow and I’d love to hear what you think of your new Holden.

Best Wishes,

Barry Engle; Executive Vice President and President, GM International.

 The car enthusiasts established a Holden Museum dedicated to celebrating the history of the vehicles in New Zealand on their property last year. 

 Steve Fabish says the couple were overwhelmed by the gift.

 “I can’t believe it. I’ve got tears in my eyes,” he said.

 Mr. Engle will be visiting New Zealand for the first time on February 15th when he will meet Steve and Joy Fabish.

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Holden Street Smart programme

New national road safety programme participant Holly Williams and Mother Deirdre.

Holden has launched a new road safety programme designed for young drivers, with the goal of reducing accidents and fatalities.

“We wanted to develop a practical course that provides real-world driving experience using internationally proven methods.”

“Statistics tell us that fatal crashes where the driver’s contribution is significant are more likely to involve drivers under 24 years.  A lack of experience and awareness results in poor decision making on the roads and we believe this new programme can help address this area of concern,” says Holden spokesperson Marnie Samphier.

The programme is designed to address specific challenges for young drivers.

“It is sometimes assumed that young driver accidents are predominantly drug and alcohol related, this is an issue, but 60 per cent of all fatal crashes involving this age group do not feature either of these contributing factors.”

Greg Murphy with Holden Street Smart participants.

Champion motorsport driver and passionate road-safety advocate, Greg Murphy, has been heavily involved in developing the programme, and will feature in the promotion and awareness-raising activities.

Internationally renowned road safety expert, New Zealander Peter Sheppard, was also instrumental in devising best-practice activities to be incorporated as part of the Holden Street Smart programme.

The day-long Holden Street Smart programme runs during school holidays in a controlled environment away from the open road and other motorists. Participants experience a variety of scenarios and situations as they transition through 10 practical stations in their own car, accompanied by their parent or caregiver. 

Specific exercises as part of the day-long course include:

  • Head On Collison
  • Following Too Close
  • Emergency Braking
  • Peripheral Vision
  • Hazard Identification.

The course will be available in controlled environments throughout the country, and will be priced at $49. More information is available at:

Or email the programme at: info@holdenstreetsmart.co.nz

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First safety rating for the year

Independent vehicle safety authority, ANCAP, today released its first safety rating for the year, awarding 5 stars to the Holden Commodore.

The first imported Commodore model arrives onto the Australasian market with high safety scores.

“The vehicle scored well, achieving solid results across all areas of assessment,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, James Goodwin. “Australian families and fleet buyers have long regarded the Commodore as a trusted local choice and the shift to overseas supply has further enhanced the model’s safety credentials,” he said.

“This next generation Commodore includes safety assist technologies not seen in its locally-produced predecessor, with standard-fit features such as autonomous emergency braking and active lane-keep assist.”

“This year we see a fresh approach to vehicle safety assessment and the presentation of results,” Mr Goodwin said.

The ZB Holden Commodore achieved the following scores across the four key areas of assessment:

93% – Adult Occupant Protection

85% – Child Occupant Protection

78% – Pedestrian Protection

77% – Safety Assist

The Commodore shares its structure with that of the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia supplied to Europe, with locally supplied variants offering comparable safety performance.

A 5 star ANCAP safety rating applies to all Commodore liftback, sportwagon and tourer variants available across Australia and New Zealand.

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Holden to debut all-new Commodore

Holden has announced it will make its Leadfoot Festival debut next weekend with a very special reveal of its own – the 2018 Commodore.

2018 Commodore

“This is the first time the all-new Commodore will be seen in the flesh in New Zealand and we’re excited to confirm the range-topping new VXR all-wheel drive model will be raced in the Festival by four-times Bathurst Champion, Greg Murphy,” said Ms Marnie Samphier, Holden General Manager – Marketing.

“The Leadfoot festival is an iconic event and is the perfect place to feature the all-new Commodore in the year it celebrates its 40th birthday.”

It features a 3.6-litre V6 engine pumping out 235W and 381Nm, paired with a 9-speed transmission and adaptive all-wheel drive system boasting torque vectoring technology and a twin-clutch rear differential. 

“The Leadfoot Festival will also be the chance for someone to buy a piece of automotive history, with the auction of #01 of 51 Limited Edition Magnum Utes in the country to finish on Sunday afternoon.  A live-feed of the auction will run on a screen behind the vehicle across the weekend.”

Funds raised from the sale of the Magnum Ute will be used to enable disadvantaged young drivers to participate in the new Holden Street Smart road safety programme, a day-long course designed to provide learners with the skills needed to drive safely on the country’s roads.

#01 of 51 Limited Edition Magnum Utes.

“Holden has never had an official presence at the Leadfoot Festival, so the arrival of the all-new Commodore is an outstanding opportunity to get the new model – together with other exciting offerings from our brand – in front of passionate enthusiasts and motorsport aficionados alike,” said Ms Samphier.

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Holden’s VXR Commodore

Holden has lifted the covers on the range-topping VXR variant of the next-generation Holden Commodore.

With a focus on dynamic handling, efficient performance and stunning traction off the line, Commodore VXR will show a different side to Holden’s performance capabilities while still using lessons learned from almost 40 years of continuous local Commodore development.

The model boasts Brembo front brakes and a unique sports set-up allowing drivers to switch between driving modes. Driver-adjustable settings include Continuous Damping Control (CDC), steering, transmission and the adaptive AWD system.

Packing a 3.6-litre V6 engine pumping out 235W and 381Nm, paired with a 9-speed transmission and adaptive all-wheel drive system boasting torque vectoring technology and a twin-clutch rear differential. Combined with the selectable drive modes, the all-new Commodore VXR blends power with control for ultimate driver engagement.

“The next-gen Commodore VXR offers a different execution of performance to the outgoing SS but make no mistake, this is a more than worthy successor,” said Holden’s renowned Lead Dynamics Engineer, Rob Trubiani.

“We’ve been involved in the development of this car from the beginning and I personally have spent significant time behind the wheel overseas and at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground.

“The V6 engine with the adaptive AWD and 9-speed transmission make the VXR a quick and smooth car to drive, even in wet conditions. Importantly we also have Brembo front brakes and Continuous Damping Control (CDC) and drivers are able to switch between three driving modes for distinctly different drive experiences.

“We can’t wait to get the car in the hands of our customers next year but for now, we’ve still got some work to do and will continue to work with the team in Europe, who are currently completing chassis development at Nürburgring in Germany.”

The next-generation Commodore VXR also adds sports styling to its ‘Sculptural Artistry Meets German Precision’ design language with bespoke 20-inch alloy wheels, larger rear spoiler, front and rear sports fascias and premium VXR sill plates.

Other highlights include next-generation adaptive LED Matrix headlights, heated and ventilated leather performance front seats, a wealth of cutting-edge driver assistance technology.

The next-generation Commodore VXR will be on sale alongside the rest of the sedan range, along with Sportwagon and Tourer body styles, in early 2018.



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Holden launches Aussie ride-sharing trial

General Motors has announced over the weekend that it will test its car-sharing operation, Maven, in Australia in conjunction with Uber.

“We are testing the adoption of one Maven product – Maven Gig – in Australia through a pilot program in Sydney renting Holden cars to Uber drivers,” communications director at GM Holden, Sean Poppitt, said in a statement.

In March, GM began an in-house car-sharing scheme in Melbourne for employees who needed to use a vehicle for a short period of time, or who wanted to test different models in the Holden line-up.

Maven Gig is a GM programme which allows drivers to rent vehicles on demand for one-off jobs such as deliveries and ride-sharing.

In the US, drivers can borrow a Chevy Bolt for $311 per week. It’s not known which Holden model is being used in the Sydney pilot.

Currently, the firm operates in San Diego, and in May, GM said it would launch Maven in San Francisco and Los Angeles later this year.

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Astra sedan launches in July

The Astra sportwagon, set to launch later this year

The all-new Astra sedan will be released in New Zealand this July, Holden has confirmed, with the sportwagon variant set to go on sale at the end of the year.

The Sportwagon, announced at Fieldays in Hamilton, will be similar in style to the Astra hatch, and will contain the same 1.4-litre engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. Safety features will include automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist and forward collision alert, and more information on the model range will be released by Holden closer to the launch date.

The Holden Astra line-up has taken models across the GM global portfolio; the sedan, based on the Chevrolet Cruze, uses the same Delta 2 architecture as the Opel-designed hatch variant.

Arriving next month, the sedan will also contain a 1.4-litre engine matched to a six-speed automatic transmission, which produces 110kW of power and 240Nm of torque, and come with a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Holden New Zealand general manager of marketing, Marnie Samphier, said the Astra sedan was a global vehicle, “developed in Europe, manufactured in Korea and finished with design elements and significant engineering input from Holden Australia.”

Samphier added that while the Astra was manufactured and prominently designed overseas, Holden had ensured the car was unique to the Australasian market.

“Holden Australia designers have styled a unique Holden face with exclusive new front fascia and grille, closely aligning with the next generation Commodore,” she said.

Different safety features are available in the Astra sedan line-up. The entry-level LS contains rear-part assist with a rear camera, cruise control, automatic headlights and daytime running light.

One step up, the LT and LTZ variants feature the above technologies as well as lane-keep assist, forward distance indicator, forward-collision alert, front part assist and side blind-spot alert.

Pricing starts at $30,990 plus on-road costs for the LS model, $34,490 plus on-road costs for the LT and $38,490 plus on-road costs for the LTZ.

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Holden reveals Fieldays line-up

Just 51 Holden Magnums will go on sale in New Zealand

Three Holden models will make their debut at this year’s Fieldays, including the new limited-edition Commodore Magnum ute.

“Fieldays, thanks to its sheer size and incredible attendance, is an absolute highlight of the calendar and is often the occasion when we release new and exciting models for the first time – and this year is no different,” said the managing director of Holden New Zealand, Kristian Aquilina.

The Commodore Magnum will take centre stage at the display. The ute is the first of 51 limited-edition units from the VF Commodore production line, and contains a 6.2-litre LS3 V8 engine matched to a six-speed automatic transmission.

“This is Number One of only 51 of the limited edition ute coming into the country, so we’re incredibly proud to have this on display at Fieldays,” said Marnie Samphier, general manager of marketing.

“It was originally designed to fulfill specific farm related work requirements, so it’s fitting the last and arguably best ever example of this ute makes its farewell at Fieldays.” 

The Colorado Blackout is only available during May and June

A special Fieldays inspired ‘Colorado Blackout’ will also debut at Mystery Creek. The ute, based on a Colorado LS 4×2 manual, is a special production model containing over $11,000 worth of Holden accessories, available throughout May and June.  

The final debutant is the New Zealand model of the Astra sedan, which was awarded the European Car of the Year 2016 under the Opel marque.

“Holden is taking brave new steps in an exciting new direction,” Samphier said.

“We’re also in a special position as we’re able to handpick the very best new models on offer from GM and release them to Holden enthusiasts in New Zealand.”

The Holden Barina raced by veteran Greg Murphy in this year’s New Zealand Rally Championship will round out this year’s Fieldays display.

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5-star ANCAP rating for Subaru XV, Holden Astra

The Holden Astra mid-test

The Subaru XV and Holden Astra have both earned 5-star safety ratings from Australasian watchdog ANCAP, with the Subaru’s pedestrian protection scoring particularly high.  

“It’s good to see more and more vehicles entering our national fleet that take into account the safety of all our different road users,” says AA Motoring Services general manager Stella Stocks.

“The Astra sedan and XV offer high levels of protection to occupants across a variety of crash scenarios including frontal, side and rear-end crashes,” said ANCAP CEO James Goodwin.

Testing will be more rigorous next year and include a requirement for vehicles to include autonomous engine braking (AEB) in order to receive five stars. AEB prevents crashes by automatically engaging the brakes when it senses a hazard in close range.

While AEB is a standard option on the three higher XV models, it’s unavailable on the entry-level variant. The Astra sedan lacked any AEB option across the model range. 

“Both cars would make safe family vehicles and come with a fair amount of safety assist technologies, but we would have liked to see AEB at least as an option on higher variants of the Astra,” Stocks said.

“Manufacturers will need to start including AEB as standard sooner rather than later as rating requirements become more stringent next year,” she added.

The 5 star ratings apply to all sedan variants of the Holden Astra and all variants of the Subaru XV.

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NZ dealers named GM International Grandmasters

Left to right: Kristian Aquilina (Managing Director, Holden New Zealand), Tony Shorland, Mike McCready, Dave Howarth, Phil Dixon, Richard Evans, Ralph Blackburn, Jared Morris, Terry Kurvink, Mark Bernhard (Managing Director, Holden Australia)

Eight New Zealand Holden and Isuzu Truck dealers were recently named GM International (GMI) Grandmasters at an awards programme in New York City’s Gotham Hall.

The GMI Grandmasters honours the best GM dealers in their region for overall excellence, with 116 dealers across the world awarded this year. Selection is based on vehicle and parts sales, customer satisfaction, facility standards, and quality and quantity of operations.

“Over the past year, our dealers have done an outstanding job and are a critical part of our team,” said GM executive vice president and president of GM international Stefan Jacoby.

GMI Grandmasters were selected from the highest-performing dealers from New Zealand, Australia, the Middle East, Korea, Israel, Japan and Southeast Asia.

“Congratulations to all of our winning dealers. You have been instrumental in the growth of Holden in New Zealand and you have set a great example for your fellow dealers,” said managing director of Holden New Zealand, Kristian Aquilina, at the awards dinner.

“We are proud to have each of you as a partner.”

New Zealand winners of the GMI Grandmaster programme for 2016 are:

Holden Grandmaster Chairman’s Award

Dave Howarth, Dealer Principal, Giltrap Holden, Glenfield

Richard Evans, Dealer Principal, Mark Cromie Holden, Whangarei

Jared Morris, Dealer Principal, Wadsco Motorworld, Blenheim

Tony Shorland, Dealer Principal, Shorland Holden, Rotorua

Holden Grandmaster

Phil Dixon, Dealer Principal, Schofields Holden, Newmarket

Mike McCready, Dealer Principal, Robertson Holden, Palmerston North

Isuzu Trucks

Terry Kurvink, Dealer Principal, Robertson Isuzu, Palmerston North

Ralph Blackburn, Dealer Principal, CAL Isuzu, Hamilton

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Tourer joins Commodore line-up

The Tourer has joined the Commodore range and is set to debut in 2018. It’s the third model confirmed in the next-generation line-up, following the NG sedan (based on the Opel Insignia) and the Sportwagon.

New European manufacturer Opel continues to influence the design of the 2018 Commodore range, Holden said, with the Tourer silhouette borrowing from the executive Opel Monza concept car, first produced in 1978.

Although powertrain specifications are yet to be released, it’s expected the Tourer will contain the same engine options as the Sportwagon and NG, which include a V6 petrol engine generating 230kW and 370Nm of torque, and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine available in petrol and diesel.

The Commodore Tourer comes with a high-tech AWD system and also lets customers select specific driving modes, giving them the flexibility to be able to get off the beaten track,” said managing director of Holden New Zealand, Kristian Aquilina. The all-wheel drive Tourer also contains a ‘Sport’ driver mode, which adjusts the calibration of the steering, AWD and transmission for sportier driving experience.

The new crossover wagon will be 110mm longer than the Commodore NG and 20mm longer than the Sportwagon, with an additional 20mm ground clearance.

Driver assistance systems include autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, speed-limit cruise control, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, forward collision alert, side blind-zone alert and rear cross-traffic alert.

Further details on pricing and a launch date are forthcoming.

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