Despite General Motors’ financial troubles both here and abroad, the carmaker today announced future expansion plans for its Australian subsidiary Holden. Holden builds the Pontiac G8 for the U.S. market and was the main development team for the upcoming Camaro. It has now confirmed that a new compact sedan and hatch will be built alongside the current Commodore range in Australia from the third quarter of 2010.

The vehicle will be based on GM’s global Delta FWD platform and feature new technologies to increase fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse emissions. The latest version of the Delta platform underpins models like the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze, and it will no doubt be modified for use in the future Aussie built compact car.

Design and engineering work for the new model will take place at Holden’s headquarters in Port Melbourne, Australia. Some of the features being considered include engine stop-start and hybrid technology as well as capacity to run on alternative fuels such as E85, diesel and LPG. The standard engine option will be a four-cylinder petrol unit.

The project will secure between 500 and 600 jobs at Holden as well as a similar figure at local supplier firms.

One year after production of the new compact Holden commences, local rival Ford will start production of its own compact four-cylinder car, the next-generation global Focus.