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William Maley

Holden Ute Not Coming Due To High Tarrifs

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William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

August 22, 2012

The dream of the Holden Ute coming to the states has made a resurgence when General Motors announced the Holden Commodore would be coming as the Chevrolet SS. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news to the small group who cling onto this dream, but the Ute will not be coming.

A report from the Herald Sun states that if Holden was to export the Ute to the U.S., the vehicle would fall under a light commercial tariff rate of 35%, three times higher than the tariff for passenger vehicles.

"We were hopeful at one stage, we thought we might be able to duck in under it, but it was ruled out. With the dollar where it is, exports can only be pursued that are niche ... and profitable in this environment," said Richard Phillips, Holden's executive director of manufacturing.

Source: Herald Sun

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


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That is disappointing. The only silver lining is that the Chevy SS and El Camino replacement are (or will be) built here in North America. Australia is great and all, but we need the jobs and work here.

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Funny that it would get a light truck tarrif...it's really a 2dr sedan w/ a large open trunk..

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I would have expected that the US-AU free trade agreement eliminated the tariff for Australian light trucks.

With the VF Commodore intro just a few months away, it's probably not worth the trouble of bringing it here now. I'd rather them spend the tooling up Oshawa to handle VF Ute production.

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Same old, same old.

I care less and less about new GM products every day, and the one that might change my mind never comes.

Edited by Camino LS6
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It's that cut and dried for me.

If it ever does come to Oshawa, likely it will only be offered in a v6 automatic - they can keep it if that's the case.

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It's that cut and dried for me.

If it ever does come to Oshawa, likely it will only be offered in a v6 automatic - they can keep it if that's the case.

why would you make that assumption? If it came to Oshawa it would likely be because it is sharing with Camaro.

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It's obviously a vast conspiracy by GM to thwart Camino LS6's hopes and dreams.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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It's obviously a vast conspiracy by GM to thwart Camino LS6's hopes and dreams.

A lot of us have had all kinds of hopes and dreams dashed by GM. conspiracy or not...

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It's that cut and dried for me.

If it ever does come to Oshawa, likely it will only be offered in a v6 automatic - they can keep it if that's the case.

why would you make that assumption? If it came to Oshawa it would likely be because it is sharing with Camaro.

Not really.

The word I have picked up on goes as this. 2015 The Camaro is going Alpha and it will move to a new plant in Canada. It may be at Oshawa but not on the same line it is now.

Once that line is free'd up it would pick up the Caprice police cars due to the fact GM has had issues with many department not being able to buy an import police car. Also issues with value of the dollar etc. If moved to Canada the import issue is not in play as they are not considered imported if from NA.

They also may move the Super Sport here after a short import run. GM is also looking at the possibility to also do a V6 version here for Chevy too.

If they expand the old Camaro line for these models it would create the perfect place for this.

I had hope because of the small numbers they would have gotten a break on the tarrif but it was not to be. If the could do these in Canada there is no terrif and with the number of other VF based models being built it would make a low volume ute possible.

GM will not live or die with or without a ute but it would be nice to offer something no one else has.

But agai if the economy does not improve it could scuttle a lot of plans on a lot of things.

Edited by hyperv6

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It's that cut and dried for me.

If it ever does come to Oshawa, likely it will only be offered in a v6 automatic - they can keep it if that's the case.

why would you make that assumption? If it came to Oshawa it would likely be because it is sharing with Camaro.

Hyper has the right of this, it won't be sharing with Camaro. As for the rest, I expect that some asshat beancounter will decide that it only makes sense to sell it as a V6 automatic. It would be the crowning insult after all of the false starts this thing has had.

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So, GM is not as clever as Ford or Subaru, both of which have skirted the chicken tax without trouble. Bolt seats in the bed and get it over with.

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So, GM is not as clever as Ford or Subaru, both of which have skirted the chicken tax without trouble. Bolt seats in the bed and get it over with.

Good point.

Also, why wasn't this an issue when the G8ST was approved?

Just more excuses from GM.

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So people would have to buy a Ute with useless seats occupying the box. Then they'd have to remove the seats, remove the fixtures and buy a custom bed-liner that would accommodate for the modifications made? I guess a spray-on liner would be OK, but then wouldn't you have holes where the seat rail bolts are?

I'm sure there's a huge market for that.

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  • Built a Ute
  • Throw some seats in the bed while it's exiting the assembly line
  • Ship to America Land
  • ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿
  • PROFIT! (but probably not)

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So people would have to buy a Ute with useless seats occupying the box. Then they'd have to remove the seats, remove the fixtures and buy a custom bed-liner that would accommodate for the modifications made? I guess a spray-on liner would be OK, but then wouldn't you have holes where the seat rail bolts are?

I'm sure there's a huge market for that.

Yep, just like extra seats taking up the area in the back of the Transit Connect Cargo Van... They ship 'em over here full of seats as a "Passenger Vehicle" and remove the seats and interior behind the B pillar and send the seats back to Europe. If that is cost effective for the Transit Connect, it could work for the Holden Ute.

Wow, it would be SOOOO hard to put some sealant on some plastic plugs once the seats are removed. Geez.

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Ford builds the Transit in Turkey. They put windows in the side and a seat in the back and make a truck a car. They then import it then trash the seat and the glass to make a truck. No Tarrif.

The issue is they sell a hell of a lot more Transits vs what they would utes. Also the fact is the seat in the back of the Transit meets safety standards where a seat in the back of a ute would requre a roll bar etc.

The point is you can fudge this only so far and not the ute.

I see no issue with a 320 plus V6 being offered as it would only increase the volume and keep a car like safe in production. As gas prices climb V8 sales and truck sales drop. The V6 could just keep a car line like this alive.

It is ok not to buy one but at least have the sense that it would increase volume at a low cost. The fact is even with police sales this car will never be over 50,000 units at best case.

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So, GM is not as clever as Ford or Subaru, both of which have skirted the chicken tax without trouble. Bolt seats in the bed and get it over with.

Good point.

Also, why wasn't this an issue when the G8ST was approved?

Just more excuses from GM.

Different time and different place and much worse economy.

The fact is I think they are just waiting to move things here vs just doing it for one year down under. They have gone to the point to say they could even export models from Canada.

There is a lot more in play here.

Lets face it the Super Sport was delayed because of the engine and moved up a little because of NASCAR. GM has been walking a tight rope on getting things done with the coming and going of drivetrains and platforms.

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The Transit Connect is designed to have seats right from the factory. The Ute isn't, meaning more money would have to be spent just developing a proper set of seats, safety equipment and an assembly process.

This is an already pricey vehicle and I doubt its target audience will spend north of 35K to buy it. And then even more cash to have the dealer take off the installed equipment.

Who really wants to buy a vehicle that needs to be 'fixed' when it's at the dealer? This isn't a question of beancounting. Nobody in any business would in their right mind allow this. Especially GM, which was bailed out and has a legion of naysayers out to find any excuse to chastise the company. Those people would have a field day.

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Like I said, keep an eye on Oshawa and the VF program. Yes, we won't get the Ute as long as Australia is bulding the VF family of cars exclusively. But, if you backtrack a bit you'll notice that it's strongly hinted that some production of the VF cars will move out of Australia in the very near future. When that happens — when the Chevrolet SS moves to Oshawa, anyway — the chances of the Ute coming to America will increase.

I also find it interesting that, locally, the Kentucky State Police has begun to phase out their Crown Victorias in favor of the Caprice, with 125 units being purchased — 100 for use by the KSP and 25 for use by the Commerical Enforcement Division. It's my understanding that the KSP was actually considering holding out for the Taurus Interceptor because of the Caprice's Made-In-Australia origin. I have to wonder what changed their mind?

Edited by black-knight
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Not to be the skunk at the picnic, but bringing a Ute to North America is an incredibly dumb idea. American's like trucks. If the truck has a crew cab and all-wheel drive, the better. It is not like Americans don't know what a ute is. The Chevrolet El Camino and the Ford Ranchero drove the American highway system for decades. They were marketed to people who needed utility, but did not want a drive something with the stigma of a farm or work vehicle.

Today, the world is upside down. Trucks today are cool. The bigger, the badder, the better. The most popular vehicle in the USA is the F-150 pickup truck. The Chevrolet Silverado is one of Chevrolet's top sellers.

It is interesting that to date, Ford has not seen fit to revive the Ranchero. Chevrolet has not seen fit to revive the El Camino. No major Japanese manufacturer, not Toyota, not Nissan, not Honda, not Mitsubishi has seen fit to jump into the ute business. The Koreans, the Germans, and the Italians have all chosen to stay on the sidelines.

Do ute fans know something that all of these manufacturers don't know? Its possible, but I don't think so.

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