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Slow lane for Aussie-made Chev SS

D for Detroit: GM says the Chevrolet SS will play in the small volume end of the US market.

Low sales targets do little to boost export volumes for Holden’s Commodore

Holden logo6 Sep 2013

HOLDEN has refused to confirm reports that its Commodore-based export program to the US will sell fewer cars in a year than the car-maker sells in Australia in a single month.

US car industry website Edmunds reported today that Chevrolet is aiming to initially sell 900 units of the Holden-built SS when it goes on sale in December – despite the car costing about $20,000 less than the equivalent HSV model sold in Australia.

Chevrolet has 3000 dealers across the US, Edmunds said. Eventually, about half the national Chevrolet network in the US will sell the car, it said.

However, Chevrolet marketing manager for the brand’s performance cars that include the Corvette, and the Australian-designed Camaro and Chevrolet SS, John Fitzpatrick, told Edmunds that annual volume would jump to only about 1700 to 2000 units a year, or little more than 10 to 15 per cent of Holden’s total Commodore export volume last financial year.

According to Fitzpatrick, the problem with the SS – it will sell in the US for $44,470 and feature a version of HSV’s 6.2-litre V8 engine under its aluminium bonnet – is that it is chasing buyers who would otherwise own a Dodge Charger SRT8, Chrysler 300 SRT8 or a Ford Taurus SHO.

Those cars sell in a part of the market that only accounts for about 5000 cars a year, he said.

Holden senior manager of public relations Andrea Matthews told GoAuto that the Commodore-based Chevrolet SS was never expected to do big numbers for the Australian arm of the global car-maker.

“It's not for Holden to comment on Chevrolet's sales forecasts, however we've always said that the Chevrolet SS is a niche export program for us,” Ms Matthews said.

“Any request for information on volumes need to be directed to Chevrolet. We will not be sharing forward volumes on this program.” Production of the Chevrolet SS export model started in Holden’s Elizabeth factory in South Australia a few weeks ago.

The US market will get a richly specified version of the car fitted with a 310kW version of HSV’s V8 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

It will also sit on 19-inch alloys that are slightly wider at the rear to improve grip.

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