General Motors has confirmed it will start a new venture in Australia and New Zealand to be known as GM Specialty Vehicles (GMSV). The new business is scheduled to commence operations in the fourth quarter of the year.
Interim chairman and managing director of GM Holden, Kristian Aquilina, said GMSV will supply a selection of hand-picked GM vehicles to Australia and NZ customers.
“I am proud to be announcing GM Specialty Vehicles, which represents an important new investment by GM in Australia,” said Aquilina. “The new venture directly adds sales, marketing and after sales roles to GM’s 200-strong presence in Australia and indirectly supports over 150 skilled engineering and manufacturing jobs at our partner in Victoria.
“The initial product line-up will feature the latest Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ, with other derivatives including the Silverado 2500 and spectacular mid-engine Corvette anticipated to follow in 2021,” added Aquilina.
The Chevrolet Silverado models will be manufactured to right-hand-drive (RHD) specification by the Walkinshaw organisation at their facility in Melbourne.
Corvette will come to Australia and NZ in RHD directly from the Bowling Green plant in Kentucky USA.
GMSV will be established alongside GM’s existing business units in the region: Holden After Sales and Isuzu NZ.
The new venture will be headed up by Joanne Stogiannis, who has been appointed to the role of director – GM Specialty Vehicles. GM said Stogiannis is an experienced automotive professional with a diverse career spanning over 20 years with the company in Australia. She has worked with several international GM divisions and has broad sales and marketing experience.
“I’m thrilled to be leading a new automotive venture by GM in Australia,” said Stogiannis. Sales of large US pick-ups have been growing consistently and I believe the ongoing strength of that segment will provide a very solid basis for us to build a successful long-term business.
“The plan to bring the stunning new mid-engine Corvette in right-hand-drive direct from the factory is an enormously exciting opportunity for local performance car enthusiasts.
“The new investment by GM in the Australian In New Zealand markets will bring extra competition to niche luxury and performance segments of the car market, enhance choice to consumers while underpinning new employment opportunities,” added Stogiannis.
GMSV will see GM’s long association with the Walkinshaw Automotive Group continue. “It is especially pleasing given their long track record with GM via HSV and the fact that GMSV can continue to draw on their renowned automotive engineering expertise,” said Stogiannis.
Director, Walkinshaw Automotive Group, Ryan Walkinshaw, said he is delighted to continue the company’s 33-year association with GM through their new venture.
“It also means we are able to keep significant automotive employment in Victoria, directly securing some 150 manufacturing jobs, and look to grow as we work with GM in this dynamic space.
“We have always enjoyed bringing exciting product to market and we are excited about the ability to continue that through our partnership with GMSV,” said Walkinshaw.
Long-time auto industry executive, Peter Keley, who spearheaded the creation of GMSV has elected to leave GM at the end of October. As part of his transition, Keley will work with Stogiannis to establish GMSV’s dealer network in Australia and New Zealand.