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No Holden Ute for America

By James Stanford, 21 Feb 2013 News

wheels magazine, Holden, Ute, Sportswagon, America, EFIJY, SS V, VF, 2013

General Motors has ruled out introducing its new VF Holden Ute in America, but left the door open for the Commodore wagon.

General Motors has ruled out introducing its new VF Holden Ute in America, but left the door open for the Commodore wagon.

The news models, which were first shown to the world just days ago, will go on sale in Australia alongside the new sedan in July.

But hopes for a new-age Chevrolet El Camino in America peaked late last year with a media report on GM renewing its copyright for the El Camino name and suggesting the move preceded the return of the model.

But General Motors North America president, Mark Reuss, told Wheels that the Ute won’t join the VF Commodore-based Chevrolet SS in the US.

“We just can’t do it,” Reuss said. “We can’t get a price point that will work.”

GM came close to introducing the Holden ute as a Pontiac, showing the car at the New York Motor Show in March 2008, but the Global Financial Crisis and the demise of the Pontiac brand killed the program.

“We almost had it here and then everything went upside down,” Reuss said.

But Reuss explained the strong Australian dollar meant the new-age El Camino would be too expensive.

He said the last El Camino, which was killed off in 1987, was not a premium model.

“Dad had one, he used it to cart woodchips.”

There were some SS El Camino models made, but Reuss said the numbers were small and that utes in the US were not seen as muscle cars like they are in Australia.

“Some people think it would be really cool to do here, but they don’t think it would be cool to do here at a high price,” he said. “You would get to find that out in a very painful way.”

When asked whether a wagon version of the VF Commodore would also fail to make it to the US because of the pricing issue caused by the strong Australian dollar, Reuss made it clear the situation was different and that the wagon could make it Stateside.

“The wagon would be a much different formula if we did that,” he said.

Asked if it was too late to do a VF-based Chevrolet SS wagon if it had not yet been approved, Reuss said.

“It’s not too late for a wagon,” he said.

Reuss then recalled his time in Australia and his Calais V wagon: “That’s what I drove most of the time I was in Australia,” he said. “It was not a cheap date, but it was a great car,” he said.

Click here to read the full range review of the Holden Ute