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It’s official: Holden’s tarmac-tearing trade ute

Red hot: The first official images of Holden’s VF Commodore lapping the Nurburgring have trickled online.

Export hopes high as Holden launches publicity drip-feed for VF ute at Nurburgring

Holden logo31 May 2013

UPDATED: 4/06/2013HOLDEN has started the drip feed of official images showing its most red-blooded ute yet tackling the tortuous Nurburgring circuit in Germany, sparking fresh hopes of a renewed export program for the Commodore-based light commercial to the United States.

The images, posted on the Holden website today, show a lustrous red VF Ute SS V Redline captured against the famous Armco wall of the track that is fast becoming a proving ground for car-makers hell-bent on establishing bragging rights with rivals.

Other shots show a helmet-clad driver – believed to be Mark Reuss, the former Holden chief who now heads up GM’s North American division – and a close-up of the racetrack-honed Brembo brake calipers tucked in behind the $48,490 Redline’s bespoke 18-inch alloys.

Holden director of product launch communications Craig Cheetham said the Redline’s trip to the unofficial home of performance benchmarking was a rare case of good timing for the car-maker rather than a carefully planned exercise.

He said the Holden team was at the track in April completing some “final engineering work” on the car ahead of its showroom launch in Australia in a few weeks’ time.

“We test and develop cars all over the world, and we happen to have a ute in Europe that we were doing dynamic testing on, and we had some space on the manufacturers’ pool day,” Mr Cheetham said.

“We decided to take advantage of that.”

However, he would not be drawn on the idea that the ute was there to set a performance benchmark for a commercial vehicle, or whether the apparent involvement of Mr Reuss – an experienced engineer and the key decision-maker for all new models in the US – signalled a forthcoming export program for the two-door as a reborn Chevy El Camino.

“You’ll have to wait and see,” he said.

Holden is believed to have filmed the VF ute’s drive on the Nurburgring as part of its marketing for the commercial vehicle, which traditionally has showroom sales split almost evenly between V6- and V8-engined models.

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