Bob Lutz on US Ute: "Odds are it will happen."
A few weeks ago we wrote about an email exchange between "Maximum" Bob Lutz and a GM Inside News forum member by the name of MonaroSS. In the exchange, Lutz claimed he and his colleagues were behind a move to bring the Australian-built Holden Ute to the U.S., but that "it won't be a Cheverolet." Never one to leave a quote like that hanging, Mike Levine from PickupTruck.com cornered "Maximum" Bob in California and asked if he could expound upon the status of a Stateside Ute, to which Lutz replied, "Odds are it will happen," and "We'd love to do it." Sounds promising.
In reference to his line that a Ute sold in the U.S. would not be badged a Chevrolet, Mr. Lutz added, "The Chevy product portfolio is too full to add this to it. We'd do it as either a Pontiac or GMC." Most have assumed a U.S.-spec Ute would be badged a Pontiac since from the A-pillar forward it would be identical to the forthcoming Pontiac G8 sedan, but Bob thinks a revival of the GMC Caballero might be cool, too.
The biggest obstacle to selling the Ute in the U.S., besides exchange rates, is production capacity. Holden will likely max out the capacity of its Australian production facilities producing Zeta-based vehicles for a number of markets, including the U.S. Lutz says the total capacity is around 300,000 units, so divide that between Commodores and Utes for Australia, Luminas for the Middle East, Camaros and G8s for the U.S., etc., and there'll likely be only a sliver left to make Utes for the U.S. Either way, Lutz indicated that we'll learn the fate of a Yankee Ute come January at the Detroit Auto Show.
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