GM US to use Holden's iQ

Buick Lacrosse prowling Australian streets for the past year may have implications for Australian electronics developers

A current-model Buick Lacrosse that has been circulating around the streets of Melbourne for more than a year has invited plenty of speculation -- including a proposition that the front-drive American car could form the basis for a future Holden Commodore.

The rationale was that Holden might consider adopting Lacrosse architecture (dubbed Epsilon II and also used in the Australia-bound Opel Insignia) for its volume production models such as Commodore, while continuing with new-generation Zeta rear-drive platforms for its long-wheelbase luxury models. Buick's use of a front-drive version of the current Holden V6 engine was seen as an indicator of the Epsilon platform's suitability.

But the speculation takes on less significance with Holden's recent confirmation that the Buick is actually in Australia under the care of its electrical engineering department. Extending the fact of its presence as a pointer to a front-drive Commodore thus sounds a bit fanciful.

However, there may be implications for Siemens VDO, the Continental-owned company that specialises in technologies including electronic stability control and sensor systems. Siemens VDO was the main developer of Holden's new iQ system introduced in the Series II Commodore -- a multi-function system that embraces a multitude of in-car technologies including infotainment and telematics.

Siemens VDO has a strong association with the Australian car industry as the developer and manufacturer of dash electronics for car-makers including not just Holden, but also Ford, Toyota and, once upon a time, Mitsubishi.

With Siemens VDO's proven expertise in the area, it would not be surprising that GM would take an interest in transferring the technology to selected models in its North American lineup.

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Published : Wednesday, 2 March 2011
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