This is just crazy, I wonder how it will affect the future of HSV? On the plus side at least the new generation f HSV range is out and available and the chief engineer leaving didn't change anything about it.
No Cookies | Herald SunTHE man who created the most powerful car in Australia - the $100,000 supercharged Holden Special Vehicles GTS - has shocked the car industry by resigning and taking up a job with a caravan maker.
Joel Stoddart, HSV's chief engineer and one of Australia's most respected automotive boffins, has left the performance-car maker just days before the first of his latest creations made it down the production line.
The sudden departure of the 15-year HSV veteran, one of the longest serving senior executives at the company, has stunned industry observers who viewed it as a warning sign. But HSV says Stoddart's departure is not an indication that it is scaling back its engineering operations.
Holden boss Mike Devereux said earlier this year the VF Commodore would come to the end of the line in 2016. It is likely Holden will replace it with a globally-developed front-drive four-cylinder sedan, believed to offer little potential to HSV's performance car division.
HSV sales and marketing director Tim Jackson told News Limited: "HSV is categorically not scaling back its engineering operations. Joel has been a fantastic asset to HSV and we're sad to see him leave. But as a great a leader, he left a great team behind him."
HSV immediately filled the role, appointing Graeme Dusting, who has worked for HSV for more than a decade, to the role of chief engineer.
Stoddart has been appointed as the head of research and development at Melbourne-based Jayco, the biggest caravan maker in Australia, producing about 10,000 new caravans and motorhomes a year.
"It was sad to leave HSV after all these years and we parted on good terms, but it was time for a change," Stoddart told News Limited.
"I have a lot of fond memories. The highlights for me were obviously the latest HSV GTS, the limited edition W427 and the all-wheel-drive Coupe 4 project."
Stoddart joined HSV as a project engineer in 1998 and was appointed chief engineer five and a half years ago.
He was instrumental in - and the main driving force behind - getting the supercharged V8 into the latest GTS. HSV admitted that, at several stages during development, the project was nearly dropped.