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Holden returns to China


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Holden returns to China
GM's second attempt to crack China's luxury market
Link to Original Article @ AutoWeek

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SHANGHAI - Shanghai General Motors will begin producing the Holden Statesman sedan in Shanghai in a few months, industry sources say.

Local assembly is a gamble for General Motors. Another luxury model from its Holden subsidiary in Australia flopped in China last year. The Statesman will face stiff competition.

But it may be GM's best option. The luxury segment is booming in China. Sales rose 36.6 percent in 2006 to 17,940 units, according to Automotive Resources Asia, a consulting firm here.

GM's other full-sized luxury entrant is the Cadillac SLS, a stretched version of the STS. It starts at 498,000 yuan, or about $64,000 at current exchange rates. The Statesman would give buyers a less expensive option.

To be competitive, it should be priced below $51,500, analysts say. Even at that price, the going will be tough because the Holden name lacks cachet in China.

The lengthy Australian sedan will compete with a stretched version of the hot-selling Audi A6, designed with more room in the rearr for passengers. A stretched BMW 5 series will also be a competitor.

The previous Holden variant offered in China, the Buick Royaum, sold poorly in that country's growing luxury segment.

In June 2005, Shanghai GM introduced a rebadged Holden Commodore sedan, called the Buick Royaum, in China. GM canceled local production last August.
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I am glad they are giving it a second shot. It was not clear if it would be a Buick Royaum again or a Holden Statesman/Caprice in China. There must have been something they did wrong they can do right this time. I am sure Daewoo will be getting a new Statesman too. I look forward to seeng photos. I am sure GM China is going to modify this car some how. It may even have a different interior than the Statesman and Caprice. Only time will tell.

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I'm now convinced Buick-China will end up with a unique US-Based-Zeta Buick Lucerne. I don't see any reason why it couldn't be produced in Shanghai along side the Holden Statesman.

Holden won't be coming to the US, so Pontiac can use modified Holdens in the US. Buick can't do this while being sold next to Holdens(China, for now. Maybe elsewhere in the future.) and Pontiacs(US & Canada). If Buick’s plan is to consolidate its global offerings down to one consistent line-up, it's the only possibility that makes sense.

We'll see how this plays out.

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