Lutz Says Odds Are A Ute is Coming for GM's American Buyers
By: Mike Levine Posted:
09-19-07 00:17 PT
© 2007 PickupTruck.com
One of these
statements isn’t true.
smoking La Gloria Cubanas this evening with Bob Lutz. Or, it’s likely we’ll
see an American version of the new
Holden VE Ute this January in Detroit
at the 2008 North American International Auto Show.
we weren’t smoking Cubanas with Bob. This is California,
jeez! There ain’t no lighting up anywhere, even if you’re ‘Maximum’ Bob.
But if you’re
reading this you’re probably interested in
smoke of a different type – like the kind accompanying the sound
of squealing tires from a rear wheel drive Aussie V8 ute hooning on
tarmac north of the equator.
General Motors Vice Chairman of Product Development tells PickupTruck.com, “Odds
are it will happen.”
Mr. Lutz to elaborate on his recent
e-mail exchange with GM Inside News member MonaroSS, recounted
thread on GMI. MonaroSS wrote to Mr. Lutz, "Hope the new Ute
gets a more Chevy [El Camino] look if it goes Stateside, to which Mr.
Lutz wrote back, "Well,
that's what we want to do, but it won't be a Chevrolet!"
now says, “We’d love to do it. The biggest challenge
is exchange rates [between the U.S. and Australian dollars] but I think
it would do sensational over here. Over in Australia it’s the working
man’s Porsche but it’s perfect for pickup owners with light
loads and it gets close to 30-mpg with a V6.”
But it still
be an El Camino.
“The Chevy product portfolio is too full to add this to it,” says
Mr. Lutz. “We’d do it as either a Pontiac or GMC.”
brand has the inside track? You might think Pontiac (and so did I)
but Bob says not so fast.
“A GMC version would be nice. They [GMC] have the heritage and
we’d do it with a GMC front-end. It’d be good stuff for GMC,” says
GMC produced El Camino-based Sprints from 1971 to 1977 and the more
famous Caballero car-based pickup from 1978 until 1987.
the record, Mr. Lutz is in favor of resurrecting the Caballero nombre
if GM decides to bring over the Holden as a GMC saying, “Why
not call it a Caballero?"
question for GM is where does it make the most sense?
Holden a GMC would add extra engineering and marketing costs versus
going the relatively easier Pontiac-badged route. Pontiac’s all-new
2008 G8 sedan is based on the Holden Commodore, which is the same Zeta
RWD platform as the VE Ute. So think identical front sheetmetal and
probably some type of branding under the G8 umbrella.
been much discussion online of late amongst '–amino' enthusiasts
about the volumes needed to justify bringing over the VE.
comment on specific unit targets but he did say, “We’d be
doing this as a niche vehicle in small volumes. We really don’t
have the line capacity to do it otherwise because [a GMC or Pontiac Ute]
would be coming off the same line producing Holdens and G8s for Australia,
Asia, and U.S. markets and the capacity is only around 300,000 units.”
We’ll know by January whether this is going to happen or not.
to the Detroit Show and find out,” says Mr. Lutz.
to learn more about the history of utility-class pickups? Check out
our look back at these car-based haulers.