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No Torana, says Holden

Non-starter: A mid-sized model like the Torana concept would cost as much as the VE Commodore to produce, according to Holden.

Torana nameplate will not be revived, says outgoing Holden sales and marketing chief

Holden logo30 Sep 2005

HOLDEN fans should forget about ever seeing another Australian-made Torana.

That is the view of outgoing GM Holden executive director of sales and marketing, Ross McKenzie.

Mr McKenzie, who will retire early next year after 32 years with Holden, told GoAuto this week that Holden’s future remained with making large cars and that GM Daewoo Automotive and Technology (GM-DAT) in South Korea was to be the source of small and medium cars for the brand.

"No matter how you look at it, there is not a business case to be made for a (locally-made) Torana," he revealed to GoAuto.

"If you take the concept car the guys put together, it is a fantastic looking thing. But the cost of developing and building that car is the same cost as a VE Commodore.

"There is maybe a little bit less steel in it, but if you look at the engineering and design costs you cannot make it cheaper (than a Commodore).

"Yet the market expectation would be that it (a Torana) would be significantly cheaper." Mr McKenzie said a Torana would, realistically, have to be priced from $25,000.

13 center image"You cannot get it (a Torana) to market for that price. It actually does not work (as a business case).

"We are looking to GM DAT as (an) out source of future small and medium-sized cars. They are doing some very interesting things developing low-cost cars that will be a good alternative (to a Torana).

"For us, the main game is still building six- and eight-cylinder Commodores." He said Holden was looking at alternative fuels, including diesel, and that its LPG Commodore package was well timed.

"We will continue to chase markets like the Middle East. Their guys were out here and their number for next year looks like 30,000-plus vehicles. It is not just Commodore, it is Caprice, which is a huge hit over there," he said.

Holden sales chief quits

ONE of Australia’s most experienced and successful sales and marketing chiefs, Ross McKenzie, has announced his retirement from GM Holden.

He will be replaced by one of General Motors’ international stars, Alan Batey, 42, who is currently vice-president of commercial operations (sales, marketing and aftermarket) at GM Daewoo Automotive and Technology (GM-DAT) in South Korea.

Mr Batey and GM-DAT chief Nick Riley were sent to Korea by General Motors to see if there was anything worth saving from the old collapsed Daewoo Motor.

They devised the strategy of selling Daewoos through GM’s worldwide brands as the only way of saving the company before the purchase was given the green light.

Mr Batey, who cut his teeth at Vauxhall in Luton, has also worked with Opel in Europe and was a regional director for GM operations in Holden’s biggest export market, the Middle East.

He will take over the reins from Mr McKenzie on November 1.

Mr McKenzie, 54, who started with General Motors Holden in the era of the HQ Holden, will continue to work at Holden on a range of special projects until the end of 2005.

He will officially retire on February 1 next year.

During his watch, Mr McKenzie rescued the Commodore by driving sales up from 35,000 sales (VK) to more than 110,000 local sales of Commodore and derivatives, orchestrated the marketing case for getting Holden out of the United Australian Automotive Industries (UAAI) joint venture with Toyota, elevated the Holden brand to the most trusted of all brands in Australia and presided over three years of market leadership in the six years since he assumed the top sales and marketing role at Fishermens Bend.

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