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US not ready for Holden ute – yet

New direction: A downsizing trend in the US has seen vehicles like the Ford Transit Connect enjoy surprising success.

GM’s North American boss Mark Reuss says no to current ute, for now

Holden logo21 Apr 2011

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

THE president of GM North America, former GM Holden boss Mark Reuss, has revealed that while the current VE Ute is unlikely to be exported to the US, soaring oil prices and general downsizing trends could see a future iteration end up in America wearing the Chevrolet bow tie.

Mr Reuss said at yesterday’s New York motor show opening that he is watching the evolution of the massive American truck market with interest as consumers increasingly trade the expense and bulk of a full-sized ‘pick-up’ such as the Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Silverado for smaller utilities and vans, such as the Ford Transit Connect.

Based on the first-generation (C170) Focus, the latter is a compact front-drive panel van that has found surprising success in North America since it arrived there from Europe in 2009.

“The Ford Transit connect is a good example of that – it’s a little bit ahead of its time right now.

“But that type of micro segmentation is probably really relevant so I think the industry needs to offer those sorts of (commercial vehicles).

“I get the job done and I want to do it at a lot less operating cost and I still get to enjoy my vehicle – those are the sort of things that happen with these types of situations.” However, Mr Reuss did not close the door on US exports of Australia’s top-selling passenger car-based ute.

“The question is: are we going to bring the Holden Ute into the United States? I’m not going to talk about future product,” was Mr Reuss’ reply.

GM has struggled to topple the F-Series from the top of the new vehicles sales table in America – a position it has held for almost a quarter of a century. Last year the Blue Oval truck shifted 528,349 units against the Silverado’s 370,135.

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