HSV will convert Australias Camaros to RHD at a new facility in Melbourne which also does Ram trucks for an independent importer

HSV will convert Australia's Camaros to RHD at a new facility in Melbourne which also does Ram trucks for an independent importer

Right hand drive Chevrolet models are returning to Australia (and likely New Zealand) with local conversions by Holden Special Vehicles (HSV).

Until 1969, Holden, which closed its local manufacturing plant recently, assembled Canadian made Chevrolet and Pontiac vehicles from KD kits before replacing them with locally developed Holden models.

This time around, according to GoAutoNews, a single variant of the Camaro, the 2SS, with 6.2-litre direct-injection LT1 V8 engine, will be converted locally.

GM Holden marketing chief Mark Harland told GoAutoNews there would be no doubt about the origins of the car, due on sale next July.

"We're going to market it clearly as Chevrolet," he said, adding that other forthcoming models that HSV will also convert to right hand drive, including the Silverado pick-up truck, "will be marketed as Chevy products".

"We're not putting a Holden badge on them – no one would believe it."

GoAutoNews said five crew cab versions of the Silverado would be imported and all would have the same powertrain – a 6.6-litre turbocharged Duramax diesel engine developing 332kW and 1,234Nm. A heavy-duty Allison 1000 six speed automatic transmission has been specified for Australian vehicles over and above the standard six speed automatic supplied with the vehicle in the US, and all models would have a locking rear differential as standard.

The report said Chevy branding would also appear in Holden dealerships in arrangements that are still to be agreed. Harland denied the rebadging was the first steps in a potential restructuring of the Holden brand.

"Holden is here to stay," he told GoAutoNews. "Holden has a place and there are no plans to change that. Given the 'success', if you will, of the factory closure and the surprising amount of positive sentiment, it's still got a lot to give."

GoAutoNews noted that, ironically, the previous fifth generation Camaro was built on top of the Holden developed Zeta platform, which would have allowed for an easy transition to right hand drive. However, GM moved the current sixth generation car launched in 2015 to the left hand drive only Alpha platform, which also underpins the Cadillac CTS.

The report said the Camaro would be converted on one of four production lines at HSV's new production facility in Melbourne, alongside a line converting the Chevrolet Silverado for Holden, another that is already converting the Dodge Ram pickup truck (in the joint venture between HSV parent Walkinshaw Automotive Group and Ateco Automotive) and the final line working on HSV's new Colorado SportsCat truck.

Ford Australia has previously converted US built Mustangs and LTDs for sale locally. It now sells the US factory built RHD Mustang.

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