• Sep 20, 2006
The car above is a brand new 2007 Chevy Lumina SS, which is, in turn, a rebadged Holden VE Commodore SS. It's powered by a 6.0L LS2 V8 that dishes out 362 horsepower through the rear wheels. As you can see, it's left-hand-drive. It's ready to lay long, black strips of rubber on American tarmac.

There's just one problem.

Motor Trend, October 2006That boat it's getting on is headed to the Middle East. We have to wait (very impatiently) while the boys in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, etc. get to buy the car that belongs right here, right now. Oh, I know the word is that we'll see it as an '08 (or '09) Pontiac Grand Prix (see Oct '06 MT for more), but come on.

The development of the VE Commodore was not some state secret that never left Australia. Holden is a GM company. The General knew it was coming, and anyone with functioning eyes sees that Americans are more than willing to pony up for a rear-drive car. Or are those Chrysler 300s, Dodge Chargers, and Dodge Magnums I see all over the place just mirages?

The new Holden VE, its long-wheelbase WM siblings, and the absolutely killer HSV variants are great-looking cars with the right stuff under the skin. They would sell here today. Call it a Pontiac Grand Prix. Call it a Chevy Corsica for all I care. Just call it something and get it here -- the United States of America -- yesterday. This car should be The Big Deal for GM at the Cobo Center in January: a full-tilt-boogie, engine-revving, tire-squealing, Bob Lutz unveiling extravaganza. GM will own the show.

Own it.

So please, GM, just do this already. Bring the car. Market the living hell out of it. And watch it go.

(More photos, Holden's export press release after the jump)

[Source: GM Holden]

Chevy Lumina SS - Middle East market
Chevy Caprice - Middle East Market
Holden VE / WM exports begin

PRESS RELEASE:
GM Holden's First VE / WM Export To Middle East

GM Holden has dispatched its first shipment of all-new generation export versions of Commodore, Statesman and Caprice from Adelaide's AAT Port to its largest export market, the Middle East.

The 500 cars, prepared as the Chevrolet Lumina and Chevrolet Caprice, are destined for ports throughout the Middle East where they will be distributed into the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

The shipment represents an exciting new chapter in what has been Australia's longest and largest automotive export program.

GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Denny Mooney, said exports were a key part in Holden ensuring its South Australian vehicle operations continued to run at full capacity.

Mr Mooney said the Middle East market had grown into Holden's largest destination of vehicles, with more than 30,000 shipped there last year.

He said the Chevrolet versions of Statesman and Caprice had become major sellers, enabling Holden to invest $190 million in the development of the WM series to extend its place in the domestic and export markets.

"The long wheelbase Holdens are now our biggest seller overseas which has allowed us to take these all-new cars to a whole new level," Mr. Mooney said.

"Caprice will be among the most spacious passenger cars in the world – all designed, engineered and manufactured right here in Australia.

" Middle East customers seek many of the same vehicle attributes as Australians and the incredible value offered by the all-new Commodore is sure to build on our strong position in the region."

The VE Commodore has been prepared as a Chevrolet Lumina for the Middle East market and will be available in four models; the luxury LS and LTZ, and the sports S and SS.

The advanced 3.6-litre Global V6 six-cylinder engine will be offered on LS, LTZ and the S while the 6.0-litre V8 will be available the SS.

The WM Caprice has also adopted the Chevrolet badge but will maintain its well recognised brand name. It will also be available in four models; the luxury LS, LTZ, the sporty SS and the top of the range Royale.

The 3.6-litre engine will be available on the LS and LTZ and the 6.0L engine will be offered on the entire range.

Middle East Chevrolet Dealers, media and fleet customers had their first taste of the new VE and WM when they visited Australia in early September. According to Emma Pinwill, GM Holden's Export Manager, the feedback has been extremely positive.

"The main question we were asked was how quickly we could get them over there," Ms. Pinwill said.

"The cars will be sold through the 24Dealers we have throughout the region and from the initial feedback we have received we expect a large interest from private and fleet customers.

"With the huge advances in safety and the great styling of the VE and WM, we're confident these cars will enhance our already strong reputation over there."

All vehicles sent to the Middle East are carefully prepared for their month-long journey to ensure they are suitably protected.

The vehicles are washed and have external wrap guards applied before the exterior is covered with a thin protective covering.

Internal protection is added to the doors, seats, steering wheel and gear knob. All small items such as floor mats, keys and manuals are placed in the boot for safekeeping.

Chevrolet Lumina and Caprice models are expected to go on sale in early November.

Holden last year exported 60,518 vehicles around the world, a record for the company since its export program started in 1954. Cars were sent to every continent except Antarctica.



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  • 32 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      #13, the answer is not to kill Ope..er, Saturn. I think they are one of the few brands that has a chance. Replace Pontiac or Buick with Holden. Speaking of Buick, who wants to design cars for a marque that is catered to an older generation, that will die out before the next models are introduced? That is not good marketing. For example, Toyota created Scion so that they could hook customers as young people and keep them for LIFE. So yeah, Holden over Buick and Pontiac. Pontiac's style looks too much like a cheap rip-off of BMW anyway, with its grill design.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Man,

      wow - check out the Holden site and man these are what we need from GM

      wtf are they doing - I hope they pull a suprize on us and bring them state side in January.

      And I am sure GM can spen some $$ to refurbish a plant here in the USA adn build them here

      but, I don't have much faith on GM and I expect the cars to come here in 2009 with a redesigned frond end that will look boring adn ugly.
      what a shame, as those caras are good looking - the long wheel base one looks like an Audi A8 but that is not a bad thing and I love it
      • 8 Years Ago
      Why cant GM just make cars that look this nice IN NORTH AMERICA? Most of the cars they make here look like garbage IMO.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This reminds me of Subaru. Step in the right direction for GM to compete w/ Toyota & Honda. My $0.02
      • 8 Years Ago
      #13 - I thought about that as Pontiac is the worst brand in GM's stable, but stand alone Saturn dealerships would be a better fit than those Pontiac/GMC/Buick ones. Put Holden in with those? I think not.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Here, this will really PO everyone....even better pics of the cars. The Caprice from the side view is absolute KILLER!!!

      http://www.holden.com.au/www-holden/
      • 8 Years Ago
      I would love do have one of these cars. Does anyone have any numbers on how much it would cost to have one imported? Would it need to come through Canada maybe?Wonder what the major changes would need to be to comply with U.S. standards. mmm... any information let me know. Thanks!
      • 8 Years Ago
      These cars have such awesome interiors. Love that two-tone interior of the car on the MT cover. Add to that RWD, V8s and clean-cut looks, what's not to like?
      • 8 Years Ago
      The answer to this is so simple.

      Kill Saturn. Convert all the Saturn dealerships into Holden. Just import the damn cars as is with whatever few modifications that need to be made for DoT/etc.
      • 8 Years Ago
      GM, in their eternal stupidity will probably bungle this somehow.

      I don't see how the dropped the ball on the Monaro. Well, I do, because it didn't look like a GTO. Not that I care, I thought the Monaro was gorgeous, but apparently old baby boombers didn't think so.

      We need the Malloo as a new El Camino/Caballero.
      • 8 Years Ago
      One thing is for sure, the Holden has a much better looking frong grill than the fugly Pontiac.A majority of American styling lacks imagination. Bold moves? Try boring moves
      • 8 Years Ago
      To Chris Goldrick, way to go youngster, the Buick Grand National was absolutely an old man's car.
      By the way, this is sarcasm.
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