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Sunraysia Daily Saturday, March 19, 2016
THREE weeks after Holden revealed
specifications and pricing of the all-new
Spark, Australia s motoring media have
put the class-leading new micro-car
to the test at Holden s top-secret Lang Lang
Having already confirmed Spark s advanced
technology features including a seven-inch
colour touch screen and Apple CarPlay/Android
Auto as standard, Holden has now revealed
the under-the-skin secrets that ensure Spark
seamlessly integrates into the lifestyles of
Holden s Director of Vehicle Performance,
Ian Butler, said that Spark was developed with
a laser-like focus on the customer, not just
from a connectivity perspective but also in the
drivability and performance of Holden s most
"Holden engineers have been heavily
involved in the development of Spark from the
outset, to make sure Australian customer needs
are satisfied," said Mr. Butler.
"We know that Spark drivers are more
adventurous and will likely experience a variety
of roads, including part-sealed bitumen and
gravel on trips camping, to the beach or just
down to the shops."
Working closely with their international
counterparts, Holden engineers travelled
to South Korea on multiple occasions at
the start of the Spark program to define
suitable powertrain combinations and
important content to aid noise and vibration
"We ve been working as part of a global GM
team to help develop the CVT transmission
available on Spark for the Australian market,
and when combined with its all-new 1.4-litre
engine, we have been able to deliver a 16 per
cent increase in power and up to a 20 per cent
increase in torque," said Mr. Butler.
"Defining effective powertrain combinations
was a key first step in allowing the Holden team
to be able to tune the car to suit Australian
lifestyles and usages."
Australian specific tuning and calibration
Utilising the wide array of facilities available
at Holden s top secret Lang Lang proving
ground, Australian engineers were able to
perform critical tuning work to develop the
character of Spark and ensure it drives as a
Holden s Vehicle Dynamics Engineer, Rob
Trubiani, said there were three major pieces
of engineering work carried out by the Holden
team and suppliers at Lang Lang and on the
public roads of Gippsland; suspension tune,
steering calibration and chassis controls tune.
"Key to Spark s unmistakable Holden
DNA is its Australian-specific suspension
tune, developed after hundreds of hours and
thousands of kilometres at Lang Lang," said Mr
"We have introduced alternative dampers
and tuned them specifically to improve road
holding and increase body control. This gives
the driver an improved ride balance especially
over some of the more challenging road
surfaces we see outside the cities.
Another important piece of engineering
work was a unique Holden steering calibration,
developed in collaboration with the supplier at
"The steering calibration required
extensive drive testing and numerous
setting modifications to provide the feel we
understand our customers need; zippy and
nimble in the city whilst being engaging to
drive on country roads," said Mr. Trubiani.
"We know customers aren t chasing racing
performance but this improved steering will
provide more on-centre feel, crisper response
and a linear effort build up, which will give
control and confidence to all drivers.
The final step in the local development
process was the optimisation of chassis
controls, working with Bosch on Holden s
gravel road testing circuit to test features
including hill start assist, Electronic Stability
Control (ESC), Traction Control (TC) and ABS.
"Our optimisation of chassis controls further
adds to the confidence this vehicle delivers.
Spark is more than capable on challenging
gravel-road surfaces with the aid of key features
like ESC and Traction Control," said Mr. Trubiani.
"It was important to us to be able to deliver a
car that inspires confidence in the driver whilst
being fun to drive, both on bitumen and gravel.
This may be a micro car, but it s big on driving
appeal and sophistication."
"Overall, Spark offers a mature and cultured
feel that, when combined with its exceptional
feature list and attractive design, will set a new
benchmark in the micro-car segment."
Australian Test Fleet
Following many hours and kilometres of
tuning and calibration work, Holden engineers
selected a range of seven Sparks to utilise in a
Captive Test Fleet , allowing them to understand
how the car performs in everyday life.
Continuing Holden s focus on developing
young talent and keeping the target customer
front of mind, engineers handpicked 29 young
employees and student interns to continuously
test two of the Captive Test Fleet cars over a
"Testing the car using a combination of
experienced engineers and young employees
was a real eye-opener for us," said Mr. Butler.
"As you would expect, our engineers were
able to ensure the car handles and performs
smoothly over a variety of road surfaces, whilst
our target market employees tended to be
more focused on how the connectivity and
convenience features integrated with their
"We have a great Co-operative Student
Program that gives approximately 70 university
students a year the opportunity to experience
a 12-month placement in the industry whilst
studying for their degree. It has been incredibly
beneficial to be able to lean on the opinions
of our student employees and make sure we
deliver a car that meets their needs."
Complementing its sophisticated and mature
performance is a range of feature technology
ensuring Holden s most affordable vehicle
is designed to integrate seamlessly with
customer s lives.
Spark boasts a seven-inch colour touchscreen
with the latest Holden MyLink infotainment
system, and the innovative Apple CarPlay®
and Android Auto technology* available across
the range as standard. Siri Eyes Free and voice
recognition software also allow drivers to
give verbal commands ensuring their hands
never have to leave the wheel, and their Spark
becomes an integrated part of their lifestyle.
The all-new Holden Spark will go on sale at
Holden dealerships across Australia from April.
*compatible with iPhone 5 / Android 5.0 (Lollipop or higher)
For further information, contact Mildura
Holden LMCT 11142 at 689-691 15th Street,
Mildura, phone 5024 4500 or visit www.
Adventurous Holden Spark
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