The Truth About Cars » holden ute http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 14 Jul 2014 16:00:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » holden ute http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Holden To End Australian Manufacturing By 2017, Transition To “Sales Company” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/holden-to-end-australian-manufacturing-by-2017-transition-to-sales-company/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/holden-to-end-australian-manufacturing-by-2017-transition-to-sales-company/#comments Wed, 11 Dec 2013 05:41:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=677634 450x337xHolden-VF_Commodore_Calais_V_Concept_2013_800x600_wallpaper_01-450x337.jpg.pagespeed.ic.s3LoDh1Ve2

Holden informed the Australian federal and state level governments that it will cease car production in Australia by 2017, citing a “perfect storm” of unfavorable exchange rates, high production costs and a small but competitive car market that has seen sales of traditional Australian-made rear-drive sedans and Utes plummet in recent years. An estimated 3000 workers are said to be directly affected by the closure of Holden’s manufacturing facilities.

The news delivered a crushing blow to an industry still reeling from Ford’s departure earlier this year. Shortly afterwards, Holden appeared to re-affirm its commitment to Australia, but now it appears to be for naught. In a prepared statement, outgoing GM boss Dan Akerson said

“We are completely dedicated to strengthening our global operations while meeting the needs of our customers.

The decision to end manufacturing in Australia reflects the perfect storm of negative influences the automotive industry faces in the country, including the sustained strength of the Australian dollar, high cost of production, small domestic market and arguably the most competitive and fragmented auto market in the world.”

Long-time TTAC readers will be familiar with our extensive coverage of Holden’s on-again off-again manufacturing decision. At first, there was said to be two new global sedans, including a new Commodore (said to be based on the front-drive Epsilon II architecture), with Holden boss Mike Devereux publicly committing to building a new Commodore in Australia at the launch of the most recent generation.

Just as TTAC predicted, Holden will become a “national sales company”, presumably importing GM cars made in Korea, Thailand and even China.  The Thai built Colorado and Korean built Cruze and Malibu will comprise the future of Holden’s lineup, as demand for the Commodore and Ute has fallen consistently. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the end of protectionist tariffs on imported cars is also cited by many as the downfall of the traditional Australian car, with consumers opting en masse for Thai-built trucks and more fuel efficient Japanese, Korean and European vehicles.

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We’re Not Getting The Holden Ute, But Not For Reasons You’d Expect http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/were-not-getting-the-holden-ute-but-not-for-reasons-youd-expect/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/were-not-getting-the-holden-ute-but-not-for-reasons-youd-expect/#comments Mon, 03 Jun 2013 15:59:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=490631 ge5547549213459505029

Every so often, the same tired rumor will pop up again, like a particularly resilient pimple that habitually reappears in the same conspicuous spot. Thanks to the incessant hunger for clicks among auto websites, these rumors refuse to die, no matter how asinine they are. How many times have you seen a “BREAKING” or “EXCLUSIVE” story on the next Toyota Supra or some absurd BS fabrication regarding a diesel Mazda MX-5?

The latest round of bollocks concerns the Holden Ute, another car that tickles the fancy of enthusiasts on all sides of the globe, but would be a commercial nightmare if they ever tried to export it to America. One Australian publication is now claiming that a guerilla marketing campaign showing Mark Reuss lapping the Nurburgring in a brand new Ute is part of a ploy to export the Ute to America. Of course, other car blogs have been lathering themselves up into a frenzy over the prospect of a very expensive quasi-pickup that they will not purchase once it gets here.

Holden claims that there will be some kind of major announcement regarding the Ute next month. I’m going to be the first to say it will not be related to any Ute exports. There are two simple reasons here: the US-Australian dollar exchange rate is abominable as far as exports are concerned, and there is likely little to no demand for a very pricey product that is neither fish nor fowl. Who is going to pay $50k for Corvette powered pseudo-pickup wearing a Chevrolet badge. Did we discuss the UAW’s reaction to an Australian built pickup, or the whole “cannibalizing GM’s new ‘lifestyle pickup’ thing “either? Both of those matter, but would require their own articles to really get into.

One thing that is not a factor is the chicken tax. Not long ago, Holden used the chicken tax as an excuse for why it’s been unable to export Utes to America. TTAC commenters soon produced plenty of evidence showing that Australian cars and “light commercial vehicles” (i.e. pickups and Utes) can be brought to America duty free. So that excuse is out. I feel for Holden though. The Australian domestic car industry is going down the tubes, their signature product is about to become just another boring front-drive appliance and all they want to do is send some good product to world markets.

The problem is nobody wants it. No matter how loud the internet cries out for it.

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Holden About To Confirm American Commodore Exports – And Not Just Sedans, Either http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/holden-about-to-confirm-american-commodore-exports-and-not-just-sedans-either/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/holden-about-to-confirm-american-commodore-exports-and-not-just-sedans-either/#comments Thu, 17 May 2012 14:23:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=444814

Holden is expected to make an announcement regarding the export of its Commodore vehicles to North America – essentially confirming the existence of the forthcoming 2013 Chevrolet SS Performance – and apparently it may not be limited to sedans. Utes and wagons could be arriving at some point as well.

Australia’s Drive, an auto publication affiliated with the Sydney Morning Herald, said that Holden is coming “very soon”, possibly on Friday. And it gets even better

The export deal is expected to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars and form the basis for a crucial new V8-powered performance model for Chevrolet. It could also expand to involve ute and sportwagon variants.

Drive suggests that the recent $1 billion investment in Holden by GM and the Australian government not only re-affirms the Commodore’s place in Holden’s lineup (despite a growing shift to small cars, and the Commodore becoming more of a fleet car for companies), and that the next generation Commodore lineup – including the sedan, wagon, Ute and long-wheelbase versions, could be built in North America.

The low volume nature of the SS suggests that the car may be a test program for another large, rear-drive sedan as well as a halo vehicle for Chevrolet. A perfect storm of unfortunate events helped torpedo the Pontiac G8, but a new Caprice, with a more mainstream Chevrolet badge and a more defined focus could gain more traction in the marketplace. The lack of a small pickup to replace the Colorado could help pave the way for a Chevrolet Ute. And how about those LPG versions that are readily available in Australia. Maybe a CNG version, in line with GM’s full-size trucks? The possibilities are endless. Holden’s focus, on the other hand, seems to be shifting as well. Lots more rebadged Daewoo cars, and a focus on helping engineer cars for China. Today, the big, rear-drive sedan Commodore plays a role akin to the Chevrolet SS – a halo player that’s not the star of the show, but important for reasons beyond mere volume.

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