Could the strong Aussie dollar jeopardise GM Holden?s plans to export their new VE Ute? Bob Lutz, the GM global product development chief has, until recently been actively pushing for the export of the VE Ute to North America but now appears to have some doubts.
Currently in Germany at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Lutz had the following to say about export plans for the VE Ute;
"I will tell you, the business case isn't being helped by the continued strength of the Australian dollar versus the US dollar. The pricing we would need to make it successful ? the program is at the point where it might not be a sound business proposition.Or we would have to subsidise it, which we are basically not going to do. Or we would have to price it to the moon", said Mr Lutz
Although we?ve heard Mr Lutz get a little negative in the past ? earlier this year he suggested that GM may put all of their RWD platform development on hold, yet that never came to fruition.
There are currently two left-hand-drive versions of the VE Ute in Detroit undergoing evaluation and it is believed that plans for their export are well advanced. With exports featuring as a vital piece of the VE business plan any decision not to export the Ute to the States would be of some concern to GM Holden.
Lutz?s comments are not believed to be of concern to the G8 export program, production and export of which will go ahead regardless of slimmer profit margins. Deliveries of the VE Commodore based Pontiac G8 are due to begin later this year with GM Holden expecting to ship up to 50,000 units per year to the States.
Holden?s Elizabeth manufacturing plant will be in full swing when Pontiac G8 production begins later this year and production will need to be further expanded to cope with VE Ute export production.
If the VE Ute does make it to the US (we think it will) it will not be badged as a Chevrolet, according to Lutz. The two GM brands that are being considered are GMC and Pontiac. GMC is a brand traditionally associated with trucks and pick-ups and it seems likely that Pontiac will get the nod.
[Source: The Age]