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Bob Lutz on US Ute: "Odds are it will happen."

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Bob Lutz on US Ute: "Odds are it will happen."

Posted Sep 19th 2007 9:28AM by John Neff

Filed under: Trucks/Pickups, GM, GMC, Pontiac, Australia

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A few weeks ago we wrote about an email exchange between "Maximum" Bob Lutz and a GM Inside News forum member by the name of MonaroSS. In the exchange, Lutz claimed he and his colleagues were behind a move to bring the Australian-built Holden Ute to the U.S., but that "it won't be a Cheverolet." Never one to leave a quote like that hanging, Mike Levine from PickupTruck.com cornered "Maximum" Bob in California and asked if he could expound upon the status of a Stateside Ute, to which Lutz replied, "Odds are it will happen," and "We'd love to do it." Sounds promising.

In reference to his line that a Ute sold in the U.S. would not be badged a Chevrolet, Mr. Lutz added, "The Chevy product portfolio is too full to add this to it. We'd do it as either a Pontiac or GMC." Most have assumed a U.S.-spec Ute would be badged a Pontiac since from the A-pillar forward it would be identical to the forthcoming Pontiac G8 sedan, but Bob thinks a revival of the GMC Caballero might be cool, too.

[source: Pickuptruck.com]

The biggest obstacle to selling the Ute in the U.S., besides exchange rates, is production capacity. Holden will likely max out the capacity of its Australian production facilities producing Zeta-based vehicles for a number of markets, including the U.S. Lutz says the total capacity is around 300,000 units, so divide that between Commodores and Utes for Australia, Luminas for the Middle East, Camaros and G8s for the U.S., etc., and there'll likely be only a sliver left to make Utes for the U.S. Either way, Lutz indicated that we'll learn the fate of a Yankee Ute come January at the Detroit Auto Show.

source:

http://www.autoblog.com/2007/09/19/bob-lut...it-will-happen/

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GMI had a huge dispute on this.

i think it should be a chevy SSR. or a GMC, how bout Syclone or Typhoon? Cabellaro is really yuck.

Pontiac and trucks, not sure it makes sense.

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NOT SSR... no way. That name sucks, just like HHR & DTS and all alphanumerics.

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i think SSR would really springboard off the appeal of the last SSR, from a name recognition standpoint....

faster, lighter, sexier, the new SSR!

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At least please, not a Pontiac.... Give it to GMC if you're not gonna give it to Chevy.

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GMC Syclone, please. This would be totally out of character for Pontiac.
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GMC Syclone, please. This would be totally out of character for Pontiac.

These are 'out of character' for Pontiac...

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A sporty, RWD, V6/8-powered performance machine with added utility and perhaps a stick isn't.

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Uh, with GMC, seller of trucks for a century, in the same showroom? :huh:
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Far easier to pitch this as 'excitement' than 'professional grade' given that its likely GM will spend next to nothing on unnecessary cosmetic changes; this resembles nothing in the GMC lineup while it shares everything with the G8. GMC arguably has a small, sporty truck - the V8 Canyon. GMC buyers are likely to ask with the 4WD and crew cab is; Pontiac buyers likely won't. And even if all that's wrong, they're all in the same showroom anyway, so what's the difference.

And ultimately, this may add 2-3k/mo to Pontiac's numbers. GMC is clearly here to stay. Is Pontiac's future similarly guaranteed? Wouldn't it be nice to add in 25-30k more sales a year to Pontiac's tally?

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Pontiac wouldn't be my first choice for the Ute, but, Pontiac needs any help it can get for hot RWD cars. They may need it just to balance out the negative image from the G6 GXP. Now that I think of it, it would actually be a good fit for Pontiac.

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Well, there are precedents for GMC to have a wild hair in the lineup... Sprint SP, Caballero Diablo, 1500 Street Coupes, the original Syclone, Typhoon... it would fit in nicely with that tradition... styling-wise, it could further cement Pontiac and GMC's long sistership. I just think GM needs to focus their remaining divisions like a laser on mission... this, as a Pontiac, would blur Pontiac's mission, imo, especially with the imminent rebranding of Torrent, and the loss of Montana and Aztek, all of which were perilously close to being labeled as trucks. I believe it will be guaranteed to sell fewer units badged as a Pontiac v. GMC, but maybe with AU production constraints, that is ok with GM.
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Well, there are precedents for GMC to have a wild hair in the lineup... Sprint SP, Caballero Diablo, 1500 Street Coupes, the original Syclone, Typhoon... it would fit in nicely with that tradition... styling-wise, it could further cement Pontiac and GMC's long sistership. I just think GM needs to focus their remaining divisions like a laser on mission... this, as a Pontiac, would blur Pontiac's mission, imo, especially with the imminent rebranding of Torrent, and the loss of Montana and Aztek, all of which were perilously close to being labeled as trucks. I believe it will be guaranteed to sell fewer units badged as a Pontiac v. GMC, but maybe with AU production constraints, that is ok with GM.

I think it would fit nicely as a Pontiac. Rwd, V8, stick, and would handle like a performance sedan. Traditions need to start somewhere after all.

GMC has trucks built for utility, Chevy has trucks built for utility at a lower price than GMC, and Pontiac can have a car/truck built for performance. GMC shouldn't have a truck that outperforms Pontiac's midsize car.

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Pontiacs should be performance cars and GMC is Pontiacs truck division. Slap a GMC emblem on this in a Pontiac showroom and it will sell.

Lets get down to basics here. There is not other car in this market like this [only a Forester is close] so it can and will get noticed no matter the name plate. If they really want it they will buy it.

I see too many get hung up over a name as it is the product that sells it not the name. I don't think too many people say Gee I think I will buy a Camry because I like the name. Most cars from Japan have crap for names and few really care. This is a unique product in todays market and most will buy it because it is different. Many of todays young drivers were not born when the last Camino rolled out and they will love this one because it is new and different.

I am sure there has to be another National Park or mountain GMC can name it. As a Gentelmens pick up it will fit in GMC nicely.

As for a GMC name I am thinking "Sturgis"!

We could even offer a Hells Angels edition as the One Tougher Truck. In a commercial the driver [an Angel member] get out and takes a ball bat to a Tundra with a Yuppie driving it at a light. Then they could say the Professional Grade no matter what the Profession.......... :lol:!

The only negitive is this may kill off all the Caynon 2 wheel drive sales like anyone would notice.

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How about: GMC Barstow. GMC Sonora. GMC Montana.

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a GMC sturgis hooters edition would be the way to go. make the truck the color of the wing sauce. mmmmmm, wings and hooters. i'll buy that truck!

like i said in GMI, the wagon G8 should be a higher priority than the ute.

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Having a front half identical to the G8's might scare off some potential G8 buyers. I'd rather see it as a black GMC with a professional grade parmiggiano-grater grille. I can't imagine it selling very well, though, since has room for only one extra passenger, and it doesn't have the cargo utility of a large truck. It also brings back unpleasant images of those beat-up El Caminos with chrome spinners and primered fenders.

But at least we know for sure it'll drive better than any other truck. Fuel economy might be decent, too, with a 2.8 DI V6 or 2.9 VM diesel.

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I'm kinda on the wall with this one.

It looks more GMC, but having this in the line up would render the Canyon useless, unless they were used for work purposes..

So my heart says GMC (really Chevy), but makes good sense for Pontiac....

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Four Wheel Drive Crew Cab = GMC

Rear Wheel Drive 2 Door = Chevy

Rear Wheel Drive 2 Door with lots of weird $h! (like removable hard top) = Pontiac

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This is going to be very tricky....

IF GM is not going to change the sheetmetal, then it needs to become a Pontiac. If sheetmetal changes are in store, I'd rather it be a GMC.

Logically, it makes sense as a GMC. People would probably notcie it more and buy more if it were a GMC. Numbers-wise, it makes sense as a Pontiac. This would give Pontiac another 100% unique vehicle to sell and it'd give them a much needed numbers boost. However, will people accept it and buy it as a Pontiac or will it flop entirely?

I'd like to see something like this to HELP Pontiac but I honestly think it would be more successful as a GMC.

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I say Pontiac, especially if the front end is going to look almost exactly like the G8. It would be rediculous to throw it at GMC with a G8 face. It screams cheap.

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I say Pontiac, especially if the front end is going to look almost exactly like the G8. It would be rediculous to throw it at GMC with a G8 face. It screams cheap.

i think it really depends on what it looks like...

if that gmc grill doesnt fit, then it might not want to compromise their presicion built image...

if the G8 ute, looks like it does... i wouldnt be too interested... looks kinda ugly

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This is going to be very tricky....

IF GM is not going to change the sheetmetal, then it needs to become a Pontiac. If sheetmetal changes are in store, I'd rather it be a GMC.

Logically, it makes sense as a GMC. People would probably notcie it more and buy more if it were a GMC. Numbers-wise, it makes sense as a Pontiac. This would give Pontiac another 100% unique vehicle to sell and it'd give them a much needed numbers boost. However, will people accept it and buy it as a Pontiac or will it flop entirely?

I'd like to see something like this to HELP Pontiac but I honestly think it would be more successful as a GMC.

Sheetmetal def needs to change depending on the brand of vehicle... no ifs ands or buts.

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