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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Holden VE Ute off to US?

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Holden VE Ute off to US?

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04 September 2007

Stephen Ottley

The VE could be going to the US but don't hold your breath for a diesel engine in the workhorse.

Speaking at its launch last week in Melbourne, Holden chairman Chris Gubbey confirmed two examples of the ute that are being tested in North America.

It is a clear indication of GM intentions to sell the ute in the US as a Chevrolet El Camino.

GM powerbroker Bob Lutz makes no secret of the fact he'd like to see the car in the US market, but Gubbey isn't so forthcoming.

“It's definitely not a done deal. We have prototypes over there. They are reviewing the vehicle. Holden is now the centre for rear-wheel-drive for General Motors. We're looking at any opportunity we can to export any product we come out with,” he says.

Gubbey says the car has received a positive reception from GM officials, but says a deal hasn't been worked out.

“The guys who have seen it in the US are really excited about the design. They just have to balance whether that fits the demographics and segmentation of their own markets,” Gubbey says.

Holden design director Tony Stolfo says it is now a requirement, given the local car market and global climate, that the company share resources.

Stolfo also says he has drafted a concept for an El Camino version of the ute, but Gubbey insists the US arm has not had a hand in the ute's styling.

“You can't design and build a car specifically for Australia. You have to find a dance partner,” Stolfo says.

But though the export deal seems only a matter of time, getting a diesel engine in Holden's Ute is far less likely.

Gubbey confirms the company is investigating a diesel engine, but says a diesel ute won't fit the market demand.

“We're looking at all the alternative types of propulsion. But again, you have to look at the car's size and type, and the type of customer who's looking for the car.

“You're more liable to see some of the alternatives coming in the smaller variants. This is a weekday workhorse and a weekend warrior, a practical car during the week and a sportscar at the weekend.

“The aspirational buyer who wants to buy a ute has a pretty fixed idea what he wants to see under the bonnet.”

Holden engineering executive director Tony Hyde is more blunt in his diesel views: “We'd love to have one. We're waiting to see what happens with the VM Motori deal. I don't mind venting my frustration. We are definitely interested.”

Herald Sun:

http://carsguide.news.com.au/story/0,20384...7-21822,00.html

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It is a clear indication of GM intentions to sell the ute in the US as a Chevrolet El Camino.

Just the way God intended! :thumbsup:

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You keep taking your eye off the ball, now what did Lutz say again?

My eye is smack dab on the ball, the problem is that I know what brand the ball should be, and its not Pontiac.

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