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GMC Acadia heading to Australia as a Holden

A giant of the US auto industry is heading Down Under: meet the 'Holden' Acadia.

Holden will launch -- quite literally -- its biggest attack yet on the family SUV market with a giant of the US auto industry heading Down Under for the first time.

The all-new GMC Acadia -- a full-size seven-seat SUV made in North America -- is coming to Australia to fill the void left by the departure of the arch rival Ford Territory, and bridge the gap to luxury SUVs which continue to post record sales.

At a top secret meeting in Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena, Holden told its national network of dealers the GMC Acadia was coming to Australia about the same time as the Holden factory will fall silent in late 2017.

It is one of 24 new imported models due to fill Holden showrooms by 2020.

The Holden badge will replace the GMC logo on the large chrome grille but the model is likely to share the US Acadia name.

Dealers were told it will sit above the Captiva in the line-up, itself overdue for replacement.

The Acadia will be available with the latest technology including pedestrian detection with automatic emergency braking, 360-degree "birds-eye-view" cameras, lane-keeping assistance, intelligent high beam LED lamps, and forward collision warning.

In what is likely to be another blow to the competition, the Acadia is expected to be available with a choice of four-cylinder and V6 petrol engines -- and a diesel option for markets outside the US.

Holden dealers were told the Acadia is the first of many previously US-only vehicles developed for the global market since General Motors exited bankruptcy and paid back its bailout debt to the US government.

Price is yet to be announced -- and Holden refused to comment on future models when asked about the Acadia this week -- but dealers were told it will sit above the Captiva in the line-up, itself overdue for replacement.

That means a likely starting price for the Holden Acadia of about $45,000 stretching to $60,000 for luxury versions.

The Holden Acadia will join the Toyota Kluger and Nissan Pathfinder seven-seat SUVs which are also made in the US, and take advantage of a Free Trade deal with North America.

Ford is yet to announce its replacement for the locally-made Territory SUV which goes out of production with the Falcon in October 2016

However, unlike the Toyota and Nissan which are petrol-only propositions, the Holden Acadia is expected to have the option of diesel power, which accounts for more than 50 per cent of sales in the top end of the SUV market.

The latest generation Acadia -- an all-new model based on new global GM underpinnings -- was unveiled at this year's Detroit motor show and is due in US showrooms in the second half of this year. Right-hand-drive models are expected to go into production 12 months later.

Meanwhile, Ford is yet to announce its replacement for the locally-made Territory SUV which goes out of production with the Falcon in October 2016.

Ford Australia boss Graeme Whickman said an announcement about the Territory successor would be made later in the year.

Holden’s future line-up: what we know so far
-- Holden Colorado ute facelift: due August 2016

-- Holden Colorado7 facelift: due August 2016

-- Holden Astra arrives and local Cruze production ends: late 2016

-- Holden Trax SUV facelift: due early 2017

-- Holden Commodore (an Opel) from Germany: due late 2017

-- GMC Acadia seven-seat SUV ($45,000 to $60,000): due late 2017

-- Next generation Chevrolet Corvette: due by 2020
What won’t make it

-- Chevrolet Silverado pick-up: Even though the recently released arch rival Ram pick-up has a queue of Australian customers after the appointment of a new distributor linked to Holden Special Vehicles, GM is unlikely to convert the Silverado pick-up for right-hand-drive.
-- Opel van: There is a General Motors version of the Renault Trafic van in Europe (sold as an Opel in Europe and a Vauxhall in the UK) but Holden has ruled it out for now because it wants to focus on the ute market, not the van market.

How do you think the Acadia will stack up against other seven-seat SUVs? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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