GM badge engineering puts the Holden lion logo in place of Opels blitz

GM badge engineering puts the Holden lion logo in place of Opel's 'blitz'

The first Holden badged car has rolled off General Motors’ production line at Rüsselsheim.

The 325hp Holden Insignia VXR will be exported to Australia and New Zealand as Opel seeks to intensify cooperation with other GM brands.

Opel Group CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann said: "We will work closely with our Australian partner whenever it makes sense in the coming years. It is not only further proof for the development expertise of our engineers and the attractiveness of our products it also increases the capacity utilisation of our plants."

The Holden model is sold as the Opel Insignia OPC in mainland Europe. Opel announced in May 2014 it would export Holden brand vehicles from Europe starting in 2015.

The Astra GTC and VXR (the equivalent of the Astra OPC) will also be exported to Australasia as Holdens. The Cascada convertible will complete the line-up.

In future, Holden will source about a third of its future product line from Opel.

It has recently confirmed the Commodore nameplate, used for decades on Australian-made rear-drive models, would be used on a new front drive replacement imported from Europe. This is expected to be a variant of the next generation Insignia due in 2018 after Australian Commodore production ends in 2017.

A few weeks ago, Buick presented the Cascada convertible at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit while it was announced last year Opel would produce a new Buick model for the US in Rüsselsheim later this decade.

Initial shipments of the current North American Insignia-based Buick Regal were made at the German plant before sourcing switched to GM's Oshawa plant in Canada. Russelsheim has also previously built a Cadillac Catera variant of Opel's large Omega model for export to North America.

It currently builds Vauxhall badged Insignia models for sale in the UK and Northern Ireland.