[update] Pontiac to get more Holden models, ute version to be named G8 ST
Despite the high value of the Australian dollar, General Motors will reportedly sell a re-badged version of the Holden VE Commodore Ute and wagon in the U.S. GM is already planning to import 50,000 Holden VE Commodore Sedans -- which will be sold here as the Pontiac G8 -- but other model were in doubt due to an unfavorable exchange rate.
In a recent interview, General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz indicated that the Australian Ute could still make it to our shores, although probably not in the form of a revived Chevrolet El Camino.
"A ute is a distinct possibility, if we do the Ute...it could be the most enthusiast-positive decision to bring back the El Camino. But, you look at its lineup and Chevy has too many vehicles. Now GMC, we could see that. You look at Pontiac, in the form of a power open bed wagon, sure...as a performance centered, sports-ute," Lutz said.
The decision to import the Australian-built vehicles was made to give Pontiac a new family of performance rear-wheel drive vehicles, boosting the brand's image as GM performance division. The new wagon will give Pontiac an entrant into the sport wagon segment which is currently dominated by smaller wagons, such as the Audi A3. Dodge recently announced that it would discontinue its large sport wagon, the Magnum.
The new Pontiac Ute -- which will be named the G8 ST for "Sport Truck" -- will only be available with a 6.1L V8 and will sticker for about $31,000.
Barring the continued devaluation of the U.S. dollar -- the Australian dollar has jumped from $.79 on the U.S. dollar in August to its current level of $.90 -- both the wagon and ute derivatives of the Commodore will make it to our shores.