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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Holden cuddles up to Pontiac

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Holden cuddles up to Pontiac

Ian Porter, The Age, 02/12/07

GM Holden is having to forge an alliance with the small Pontiac division of GM so it will be able to secure all the funds needed to develop the next Commodore range.

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Holden boss Denny Mooney with the Pontiac G8 that will be exported to America

GM Holden is having to forge an alliance with the small Pontiac division of GM so it will be able to secure all the funds needed to develop the next Commodore range.

With the parent company General Motors under financial pressure and model cycle times shortening all the time, GMH might have had trouble securing another $1 billion or more to replace the VE Commodore in four or five years.

The Australian subsidiary posted a loss of $145 million in 2005 and, while it is believed to have climbed back into the black in 2006, the returns in Australia may not be enough to justify the investment needed for a new Commodore.

``I see a long term relationship with us and Pontiac,'' GMH executive chairman Denny Mooney said at last week's unveiling of the G8 in Melbourne.

``To overcome the inertia inside the corporation to get the investment funds you need to do new cars, you are bet ter off having a partner,'' he said.

With two divisions committing to a new Australian-built model from the start, there would be an increased likelihood of the investment being approved and of GMH's Elizabeth assembly plant retaining its position as a production centre for large rear wheel drive cars.

``I can guarantee you, if Pontiac's with us, it's a lot easier to get the capital approved to do what we want to do,'' Mr Mooney said.

The blossoming relationship with Pontiac might also result in American-made cars coming to Australia as Holdens.

Pontiac has already marketed the Monaro in the US and has just agreed to take more than 30,000 Commodores a year starting in the last quarter of 2007.

The Commodore will be badged as the G8 model, a new sports sedan from Pontiac offering V6 and V8 power. The G8 will be based on the Commodore SS model.

It's not clear whether a closer tie-up between the two divisions would mean Pontiac designers would have significant influence over the design of the new Commodore.

GMH is one of GM's smallest divisions, making just more than 100,000 vehicles a year, around the same size as Saab. Only GM's specialist truck brand Hummer is smaller. Holden will not get back to near its full capacity of 145,000 units until the Pontiac contract comes on line late this year.

``Pontiac is not a global brand like Chevrolet or Cadillac. It's a local brand like we are,'' Mr Mooney said. ``They do between 250,000 and 300,000 vehicles a year.''

Mr Mooney said Pontiac would have trouble raising the funds needed to put the Zeta platform - on which the Commodore is built - into production.

By importing a rebadged Commodore, Pontiac gains access to the latest GM platform without having to build a new plant or invest in a new model.

``If Pontiac wanted to do their own car, even if they had a plant set up for it, the cost of the external sheet metal, the new body sides ... that's a lot of dollars, even if the capacity is there.''

Mr Mooney was quick to add that a close relationship with Pontiac, which has a reputation for sportier cars, would not preclude Holden selling cars to other divisions of GM.

He said GMH had sent a left hand drive Commodore utility to Detroit a year ago and it was currently being evaluated.

``It could be a GMC truck. It could be a Chev El Camino.''

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In other words.. That G8 that is coming here is it. There will be no new G8 coming in the next few years. Someone else said before that G8 was it and Holden would be working closer with Pontiac. I personally said the Pontiac/Buick/GMC channel was becoming Holden North America. It is the same way Saturn became Opel/Vauxhall North America. Cost is a factor in todays market. In order to play, GM has to be global. This is using your resources to your advantage. Holden like Pontiac is a local brand. Pontiac is not the division selling over 700,000 cars a year. Times have changed. GM is changing with them.

The article refernces using other Holdens as North American GM products too.

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Again you're forgetting that Holden only has two models—The Commodore sedan, wagon and Ute, and the lwb Caprice/Statesman—most of Holden's product is rebadged Opels or Daewoos (Chevrolets). It isn't possible for BPG to become Holden North America. Holden is Chevy, Saturn and BGP all under the same brand.

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Mr. Mooney defends the blandness of the G8. He knows there are differences in the brands and he knows that Pontiac is the brand not being represented in the G8. Holden is being well-represented and served by this car. It makes a fantastic Holden.

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Again you're forgetting that Holden only has two models—The Commodore sedan, wagon and Ute, and the lwb Caprice/Statesman—most of Holden's product is rebadged Opels or Daewoos (Chevrolets). It isn't possible for BPG to become Holden North America. Holden is Chevy, Saturn and BGP all under the same brand.

I know they are not. You have misunderstood me this time and before or either I am not making myself clear. I know Holden has two cars and imports the rest. The way I reference it is Saturn is becoming like Opel/Vauxhall. Holden is sort of like Australian Pontiac/Buick in away. Pontiac does not have one unique model. Everything it has is from "another" division or it shares with another division. They use other GM platforms at Pontiac just like Holden uses Opels and Daewoos. So Pontiac and Holden are quite like each other like Mr. Mooney said. That was my point. That is the point I have been making. You read and assumed I was saying Oh all Holdens are like Pontiac and Buick. Some of them, but in the grand scheme of things, Holden is more like Pontiac or the BPG group than any other American GM division. That is all I was saying. I was not offended or upset, I wanted explain.

I hope that Pontiac can infuse more Pontiac into the Holdens. I hope that they do not become too Pontiac and alienate or offend Austalian car buyers.

Edited by NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

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Mr. Mooney defends the blandness of the G8. He knows there are differences in the brands and he knows that Pontiac is the brand not being represented in the G8. Holden is being well-represented and served by this car. It makes a fantastic Holden.

:deadhorse:

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He said GMH had sent a left hand drive Commodore utility to Detroit a year ago and it was currently being evaluated.

"It could be a GMC truck. It could be a Chev El Camino.''

There's someone in these boards that will love reading this :AH-HA_wink:

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Croc, you can see in the article what I'm talking about. Mr. Mooney so much as says it in several places.

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