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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Chevrolet says no but export still on for VE Ute

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Chevrolet says no but export still on for VE Ute

Words - Joe Kenwright

Though it seems one export door has closed for the Ute, opportunity is still knocking

One door may have just closed for Holden and its benchmark new VE Ute range, but two doors are still open for a US export ute at Pontiac and GMC.

Senior Holden sources confirmed Holden has been told that the mainland US Chevrolet range is full and there wasn't a natural gap for the VE Ute. In some ways this has been a relief as local production capacity arguably would not have supported a high-volume Chevrolet-badged US version of the VE Ute.

Recent upward movements in the Australian dollar have also made it difficult to achieve a US retail figure that would support Chevrolet's mass-market positioning based on sharp pricing.

The Pontiac and GMC scenarios are totally different, however. There is one school of thought that a Pontiac-badged VE Ute would be a natural addition to the G8 range. However, Pontiac has shown even stronger interest in the Sportwagon (more here) which is a closer fit with the sporty, performance image that Pontiac is attempting to revive across its range.

Whether Pontiac would want such a strong Holden presence in this range with three body styles could be an issue, however.

The wildcard as always has been the GMC brand. According to Holden sources, recent research has confirmed that loyal GMC buyers see their vehicles as being a cut above any Chevrolet, as their vehicles carry the identification of the "corporation".

This positioning would appear to be perfect for a niche GMC-badged version of the VE Ute. As long as a further restyle was implemented to project the GMC brand character and separate the product from the Pontiac G8 sedan.

Providing a business case adds up for a GMC-badged VE Ute that is visually separated from the export Pontiac G8, there are those at Holden who are still optimistic that an export VE Ute is still in there with a good chance.

SOURCE:

http://www.carpoint.com.au/car-review/2837988.aspx

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Loyal GMC buyer to General Motors: If the Ute isn't going to be a Chevy, make it a Pontiac. Bring over the G8 sedan, wagon, and Ute. The Ute as a performance-based utility (car-based pickup) fits better with Pontiac than with the "Professional Grade" image you're trying to convey with GMC. Plus, why spend the extra money to "restyle" the Ute into a GMC when you've already spent that money on Pontiac. Isn't the goal to MAKE money?! A GMC Ute sitting on the lot next to a Pontiac G8 at a combined P-B-G store will just perpetuate badge engineering like the Torrent and G5.

Also, Caballero is a horrible name!

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