HOLDEN’S SUV strategy has crystalised with confirmation the GMC Acadia will arrive here from the United States in 2018 wearing a Holden badge.
The large seven-seater will take on class kings such as the Toyota Kluger, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder, Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento.
Like those cars, Acadia is built on car-based underpinnings with an emphasis on the suburbs rather than the scrub. But it will come with a four-wheel-drive system for added traction and occasional jaunts to the mountain or bush.
The made-for-America wagon will also form a crucial pillar in Holden’s strategy to claw back ground lost by the Commodore over the past decade as families switched their allegiances to SUVs and away from the large cars that once filled suburban driveways.
Holden chairman and managing director Mark Bernhard describes the SUV strategy as critical, admitting it is key to recovering from record low sales.
First-half figures show Holden is in danger of finishing fourth in the 2016 sales race, behind Toyota, Mazda and Hyundai. Holden has never previously finished outside the top three.
“SUVs are the fastest-growing segment of the market and we’re currently under-represented, but that’s changing, fast,” Bernhard said, pointing to the Trailblazer and updated Trax.
For now, Holden is focusing on Acadia, which is expected to kick off from about $40,000.
The second-generation Acadia made its debut at the Detroit motor show in January this year and went on sale in the US in May as a 2017 model. It is produced in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
Perhaps crucially, Acadia will also forego the intensive 100,000km-plus local development program that improved the Trailblazer, instead relying on the basic suspension tune of the American model.
The only Acadia engine confirmed to date is the direct-injection 3.6-litre V6 that also appears in the Commodore. It produces about 210kW and 350Nm.