GM’s Australian Holden division has been developing the kind of big-bore RWD vehicles we tend to think of as being quintessentially American for quite some time. But every time GM hints at repatriating one of these old-school machines to its spiritual homeland in the states, something goes terribly wrong. One classic example of this disfunction was the offshoot of GM’s last effort to bring Holdens stateside as the Pontiac G8, the G8 Sport Truck, a rebadge of Holden’s Ute. The travails of the G8 have been well documented, but the Sport Truck was killed before it even had the chance to lose GM money and be cut along with the Pontiac brand. Now, just as the memory of that savage tease was fading, GM’s Mark Reuss reveals that the El Camino could be back after all.
GM’s new North America honcho, former Holden boss Mark Reuss tells pickuptrucks.com
I thought we’d have a hard time putting Ute into Pontiac, but I know it was part of the broader strategy of doing that because they were both VE, there are reasons why you do that, but I think another brand with the Ute would be pretty attractive,
Huh? Reuss says Chevrolet would be a better fit for the Ute, especially because it would clear the way for a return of the El Camino name. Plus, freed from the performance pretensions of the Pontiac brand, GM could bring new versions with a direct-injection V6 that allow better fuel economy.
You have to look at this strategically and say, VE has got to be able to stand on its own on the world stage and I think now it is getting to be able to do that, from a fuel economy (perspective) and you will see mass come out of the car… It only gets more attractive on an export basis.
More practicality sounds like a good thing, given the distinct lack of comparable utility-oriented trucklets on the market. Not to mention the fact that GM still has no plans to replace its aging Canyon/Colorado pickups. But then, good luck building a utilitarian Ute, shipping it from Australia to America, charging a reasonable price and making a profit in the process. If GM is for real about bringing Utes to America, it should seriously consider producing them alongside the Caprice police vehicles instead of importing, as Reuss suggests. Whether the American market can soak up enough volume to justify such a move is still a huge open question.