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New Grange has HSV's sights on Middle East

East beats West: HSV's top drop should hit Dubai inside 12 months.

Holden Special Vehicles expects Middle East to be Grange’s first export destination

28 May 2007

HOLDEN Special Vehicles chairman John Crennan has revealed the Middle East - not the United States - represents the biggest export growth potential for the all-new Grange flagship.

"The primary area is Middle East," said Mr Crennan at last week's launch of HSV’s version of the redesigned long-wheelbase WM Statesman, which has proved more popular in the Middle East for GM Holden than the short-wheelbase VE Commodore upon which it's based.

"In the Middle East Holden sells at a ratio of three-to-one long-wheelbase to short-wheelbase.

"So it makes sense that if we could get into that market, this would be a great opportunity for us. And we’ve got Phil (Harding, ex-HSV managing director) on the doorstep working pretty hard on that."Neither Mr Crennan nor Mr Harding’s successor, Scott Grant, would be drawn into speculating a timeframe as to if or when HSV will announce a long-wheelbase export deal involving the WM Grange.

"No export deal has been approved," emphasised Mr Crennan. "But if there was something that was going to happen, it will happen in the next 12 months."HSV said the Grange would need some extra investment for it to meet the various export-related legislation required.

20 center imageLeft: Vauxhall VXR8 (above) and Pontiac G8 (below).

"But we’ve had most of it licked with testing and that sort of thing," Mr Crennan said.

If HSV does win the contract to supply the Middle East with modified Grange sedans, they probably won’t be wearing HSV badges.

This mirrors the 300 ClubSport sedans to be exported annually to the United Kingdom over the next three years. They will be sold as the Vauxhall VXR – rather than the HSV ClubSport.

"In all likelihood, we would do whatever the customer wants," is the matter-of-fact reply from Mr Crennan.

"It might sound nice to have HSV as a global brand, but in fact if the main product being pursued in China was a Buick, then that could mean Buick Special Vehicles there in the Middle East that could be a Chevrolet.

"So it would be in accordance to what the customer would want out of the brand, and I dare say that we would complement their own brand," he said.

Meanwhile, it appears that Holden’s decision to export a vehicle based on the VE Commodore SV6 and SS models as the Pontiac G8 to the United States and Canada has muscled HSV out of contention for the time being.

"It’s pretty much complete (as far as the product is concerned)... there’s not much scope for us," Mr Crennan admitted.

Nevertheless, HSV is exploring other North American avenues with Holden, perhaps for a hardcore version of the Pontiac G8 to take on the likes of the Ford Mustang GT500.

"That’s a work in progress at the moment," Mr Crennan said.

"I don’t think there is lots of opportunity out there for us, but there may be some (in the future).

"That’s certainly something that we are doing a lot of work on, in conjunction with Holdens and Pontiac."

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