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Holden's Coupe 60 stalls

Star car: Coupe 60 hogged the Melbourne motor show limelight for Holden.

Business case for reborn Monaro on hold as General Motors tackles greener pastures

3 Apr 2008

GENERAL Motors seems unlikely to even look at a business case to put Holden’s stunning new-generation Monaro – the Coupe 60 – into production because it is concentrating on green vehicles that will help it comply with looming Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in the United States.

The American auto giant’s global product vice president Bob Lutz said at the New York auto show last month that work had stopped on the next-generation C7 corvette to enable the company to develop more environmentally friendly technology.

He also said there was no way work could begin on any Coupe 60-style project in the meantime.

“The problem with it is that it is one of those projects like the Corvette C7 has got to be put on the backburner as we wrestle with this whole fuel economy equation,” Mr Lutz said.

“We are going to be inventing so many hybrid systems for so many vehicles and going to transmissions with a lot more gears than six, all in the name of meeting fuel economy targets, and then what has to be deferred is the stuff that we, as enthusiasts, would all like to do, like that Coupe and the C7 before that.” The GM position is a heavy blow to the Coupe 60 project as Holden cannot complete the project by itself.

13 center imageLeft: GM global product vice-president, Bob Lutz.

GM Holden president Mark Reuss told GoAuto when the Coupe 60 was presented at the Melbourne International Motor Show in March that the company would need a substantial amount of volume to come from exports for it to work.

When asked at the New York show about the Coupe 60, GM’s general manager for Pontiac, Buick and GMC Jim Bunnell said: “It will take both of us to make a business case for that one.” When pushed on the subject, Mr Bunnell said that the VE architecture might be too old for a Coupe 60-style program by the time the company was in the position to proceed.

“You wouldn’t invest a lot of money on your current architecture base. If you were going to do it, you would wait for the next one,” he said.

“But never say never.” Mr Bunnell said the sleek concept car had certainly grabbed the attention of both fans and GM-brand dealers in the US.

“It certainly generated a lot of interest. We had dealers call us and say, ‘That is the car, let’s do it.’” He said one enthusiastic dealer even used a graphic design program to put a Pontiac nose on the Coupe 60 concept car to show how good the model might look.

While the Coupe 60 and the next-generation Corvette projects have been placed on the backburner, the Cadillac CTS Coupe is going ahead. Mr Lutz confirmed in New York that the CTS Coupe, first shown in concept form at the Detroit auto show last January, will come to Australia to join the CTS sedan.

“It makes sense,” said Mr Lutz, who did not comment on when it may arrive.

Read more:

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