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douglask

Sportwagon saved by exports

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Holden’s VE Commodore wagon was no certainty - until its export potential emerged

By MARTON PETTENDY and BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS 16 October 2007, www.goauto.com.au

GM HOLDEN has confirmed that its export potential is the major reason for the VE Sportwagon’s being – and that it will have a smaller cargo area than the model it replaces.

As a result, Holden concedes the next-generation Commodore wagon, which officially broke cover at last Thursday’s Sydney motor show opening in the shape of the VE Sportwagon concept, is likely to attract fewer business buyers than the VZ Commodore wagon it replaces – a model it says was one of the world’s biggest wagons.

If approved for US exports, the Sportwagon would follow in the footsteps of the VE Commodore SS sedan (to be badged as the Pontiac G8) and, despite reservations about slimmer profits due to the strong Aussie dollar (see separate story), the VE Ute.

"Sportwagon is next cab off the export rank," a GMH executive told GoAuto. "The Ute is now under study and the wagon will follow it." The success in the US of wagons like the Dodge Magnum shows Americans have rediscovered the wagon.

"It's smaller inside but it will gain with private sales more than what it loses in fleets sales – maybe not in terms of (sales) volume, but definitely in terms of (profit) margins. There was no money in fleet sales anyway."

Speaking at the Sydney show last week, design boss Tony Stolfo said Holden is investigating all export opportunities for the vehicle. If given the green light, North America would be the wagon’s first port of call outside Australia and New Zealand.

While he would not divulge any more details about wagon exports, Mr Stolfo did mention how many he would like to see crossing the Pacific.

"We'd love to see it exported," he told GoAuto. "It has big export appeal. If you look at the (Pontiac) G8… it’s a natural."

"10,000 (units per annum) would be good," he said.

Mr Stolfo indicated that there are still some legislative and governmental hurdles to overcome before final confirmation can be made of any pending export deal.

Don’t expect VE-AWD

GM HOLDEN has always said the VE Commodore sedan and its utility and wagon bodystyle derivatives are "package-protected" for all-wheel drive, but don't expect to see an AWD version of the Sportwagon from Holden any time soon.

Asked if an AWD Sportwagon was possible, Holden design chief Tony Stolfo said part of the VE architecture’s flexibility includes the provision for it.

"It's been designed to take 4WD, with a transfer case moulded into the floor. When you start exporting to cold-climate markets (then) it has international appeal," he said.

Another GMH executive said the limited US demand for AWD, except in the colder northern states, made the technology difficult to justify for production.

"We wouldn't get our money back on it," he said.

Full article:

http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf...A25737500813BE2

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I'd bet that they simply don't have the production capacity to build enough AWD cars to make it profitable. Cars like this really need a facility with more production capacity if GM really wants to take advantage of the potential of Zeta.

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I'd bet that they simply don't have the production capacity to build enough AWD cars to make it profitable. Cars like this really need a facility with more production capacity if GM really wants to take advantage of the potential of Zeta.

Which means Oshawa should be have this soon. :smilewide:

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This is definitely good news for those of us seeking a wagon as our next purchase. I can't wait until GM announces that Pontiac (or Buick) will be offering this sportswagon in late 2008 as 2009 model year cars (I can dream, right?).

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That wagon would make it easier for me to get Otto and Angus from one place to another. :scratchchin:

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