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Holden ute export tip

Past use-by: Holden's VZ Ute will be replaced this year.

Holden boss hints its upcoming VE Ute could be a frugal option for GM in the US

Holden logo19 Apr 2007

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

GM HOLDEN chairman Denny Mooney has hinted that a VE Commodore-based utility or pick-up could step in for larger US pick-ups if proposed US legislation curtails their sales. "There is no question that it could potentially help," he told GoAuto last week.

Mr Mooney was careful not to officially confirm the existence of a VE Commodore-based utility, let alone any export plans for such a vehicle. However, his point on this model’s overseas potential was clear in light of the US Bush Administration’s proposal for higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards – and GM vice-chairman Bob Lutz’s criticism of it.

"If the fuel economy standards (rise), the larger vehicles on everybody’s portfolio will come under scrutiny, because you can’t meet the new requirements with some of these large vehicles," Mr Mooney said.

"That’s where fundamentally Bob is on this, especially in the US. If the American consumer still wants full-sized pick-up trucks, you can’t get 30 miles to the gallon from a truck – it just physically isn’t possible.

"And his comment is if somebody has got some brainstorm on how we can get 30mpg from a full-sized pick-up truck, then come on in and tell us. We don’t know how to do it.

"The politics in America is that (the vast majority) of full-sized pick-up trucks ... may not be around." Mr Mooney said Holden ute’s relative compactness could become a distinct advantage. "We have a capacity of 145,000 to 150,000 (units) each year," he said. "In the scheme of 66 million new cars per year, this does not make or break our ability to make some of these (rear-wheel drive) vehicles. "There is still a place there for smaller, low volume (vehicles)."

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