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Cruze to add turbo power

The Holden Cruze is the only small car currently built in Australia.

Holden boss Mike Devereux this week confirmed the small car - to be built in Adelaide from March - will get an optional 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine.  The powerplant is from the Opel "Family Zero" series. One derivative is used in the Chevrolet Volt hybrid.

"It's a great engine in terms of economy and performance and it's the first new powertrain we'll be introducing for Cruze," Devereux says.  "We have previously confirmed that both petrol and diesel models will be built at Elizabeth - sedans start in the first quarter and that awesome-looking hatchback in the second half."

Mr Devereux says Cruze production was secured for Australia by a $179 million grant from the Federal and South Australian Governments which was in addition to "hundreds of millions more from Holden" to make Australia's only locally-built small car.

He says the current Cruze, launched in June last year, "has performed phenomenally well so far.  "It's our second-best seller, it cracked the top-five and outsold established nameplates like Falcon several months this year," Devereux says.

"We've sold 26,253 units to November, which is up nearly 20 per cent on last year, and we're forecasting nearly 28,900 (28,848) for the full year."

He says making the Cruze in Australia allowed Holden to give people an option to buy a locally-made small car that had been engineered for Australian conditions.  It ensures a more stable workload for our employees and has created new business opportunities for our local suppliers," he says.

Holden says the future is rosy. It will add 165 employees to its Elizabeth plant and launch 10 new models - new and refreshed - in the next 18 months.

"This year we see a total car market in Australia of 1.034 million," he says.  "Total sales for Holden this year will be around 133,800 - up 12 per cent on last year - which is a pretty solid performance.

"We'll finish 2010 with about 12.9 per cent share - on par with last year. The market is good, but it's tough. We're not in the business of chasing market share.

"Next year we think the market will grow around 10 per cent - so we're looking at about 1.045 million.  We think that growth will come from new models - including Holden launches like the local Cruze, Captiva and Barina - and good economic conditions."