Monday, February 19, 2007

In Australia, Rumor Mill Running Hot on Holden Exports to U.S. Market

MELBOURNE — If you took notice of all the rumors making the rounds in Australia right now, you'd be betting that the forthcoming VE Commodore Ute — or pickup — will be heading to the United States as the spiritual successor to the Chevrolet El Camino.
holden toranaAt the recent announcement of the VE Commodore-based Pontiac G8, Holden Chairman and Managing Director Denny Mooney conceded there is export potential for the VE Ute (due for release in Australia in September) but played down exports to the U.S. specifically. But he did point out that Holden has had a left-hand-drive ute in Detroit, a left-hand-drive version of the HSV Maloo, under evaluation since last year.

Holden is officially saying nothing about the rumors and has denied that the VE Commodore Ute has been fast-tracked on the back of the prospect of U.S. exports. One unnamed Holden executive was reported recently in Australia as saying, "It was always meant to be September."

But clearly, a new small utility vehicle would be of great benefit to GM in the U.S., with the traditional large-pickup market cooling considerably because of rising fuel prices. On the Australian side, a U.S. export contract would provide Holden with the additional volume needed to maximize production efficiencies in its Australian plants.

Another Holden rumor emerging Down Under is the potential for a medium-size, rear-wheel-drive Holden to become the next-generation Pontiac G6. At the 2004 Sydney Motor Show, Holden surprised showgoers by unveiling the TT36, a lurid magenta pink concept car, which set industry tongues wagging about a return of the much-loved Torana.

© Source: article on insideline
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