• Sep 19, 2007
click above image to view more pics of the Holden VE Ute

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.

[Source: Pickuptruck.com]



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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  • 39 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Call me Mr. Negative but I just can't see too many people buying this thing. It's kinda cool and all and I'm glad GM is taking some risks but this just looks like another SSR/Prowler/GTO money loser to me. Is there no GM sub somewhere that makes a competent compact they could import to replace the junky Cobalt? The econo-car segment is really the only area in which GM is lagging the imports.
      • 7 Years Ago

      It might be a car based ute and not a real truck, but it is far better than the Ridgeline.
        • 7 Years Ago
        How so? One may presume you have driven this UTE for a while now and compared with your buddy's Ridgeline.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I know a lot of you guys "don't get" this vehicle, but for someone like me this is really a great option.

      I currently have an '03 Ranger 4x4 (awesome truck, btw) and a '94 Mustang Cobra. I love them both, for different reasons. However, two vehicles means more insurance, more maintenance, more tires, etc.

      This ute, with the nasty V-8 (*please*) would be perfect for me. I could roast the tires at the strip, or haul an engine, all with one vehicle. My only other option would be a used Lightning, which I've never been a huge fan of.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hear that?

      Its the cheers of mullet/beer gut middle amerika fatty's cheering! =)



      This thing is gonna get laughed off of US roads.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Does it get laughed off Australian roads, cuz, you know, both Ford and GM sell 'ute' versions of their big sedans down there. This is obviously sourced from there. I'd rather the soccer moms around here, who can't drive their big-ass SUVs driving one of these. At least I can see over a 'ute'. Now, mind you, I'm not an SUV basher, and I think people should be able to drive whatever the hell they want without the enviro-weenies bitching, but this is actually a damn good idea from GM. People still buy the PT Cruiser, and that's not worth a damn. This thing will actually haul something!

        Also, both Ford and GM have hopped up, steroid-enhanced versions of their 'utes' down under. I'd take an FPV Super Pursuit ANY day...DOHC 5.4L V8, 6-speed, 390+ HP and 380+ lb/ft of torque? Wooo-doggie!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Geez your posts are painful to read.

        By the way, fatty's != plural of fatty...
        • 7 Years Ago
        Well, Ivy, I personally would not buy very many of the new vehicle offerings out right now. But, being a person in the top 1% of US educational standings, I disagree with your snobbism. Just because you personally would never drive one does not mean that other "smart" people wouldn't. I'd take a Ute over any MB, Bimmer, Audi, Saab, or Volvo. Not that you could get one for the same price, anyways. It's a decent vehicle, doesn't look bad, and has diverse functionality. Yes, I don't have a large family to haul around, but I'd rather drive a Ute that can haul our bikes and snowboards than some over-priced coupe that'll need a roof rack.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Although I have always found the El Camino a pretty cool idea, this does not seem like the right idea for GM. Instead of making a sport truck, a la the failed SSR, I would like to see them focus on developing a small truck replacement for the Colorado/Canyon. Not that the Colorado is a bad truck, but there is room out there for a smaller truck, now that everyone else has made their "compact" trucks midsized. You could even base it off a unibody chassis, if you wanted, but make it a definite truck with reasonable towing and payload capability, along with a real bed (no more carpet in the bed).
      Ben K.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I really don't care what GM calls it. How about the G7? This vehicle rocks and I like the Pontiac version! It doesn't have to be retro, the versatility is great. Holden even has a crew cab model. I like sports cars and pickups, but neither is really practical for me. This is the perfect solution, a real crossover! Fun to drive, no bouncing truck bed, handles like a sports car and can be powerful. But, I can go to Home Depot and pick up a few things. I still see alot of ElCamino's on the road, they are at least 20 years old and still going strong. This is a no brainer, the sooner the better. GetRDone!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Finally a smart move.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Smart Move?
      How about make a world class small car with decent materials and a Camcord beating midsize, and a green machine Prius killer....then we can worry about niche goofy 70's throwbacks. GM is making some progress with the new Opels and Buick but Chevy is horrible. Even the Chevy website feels low rent.

      Besides, the G8 gets what 14-20mpg with the v8? Why not just buy a real truck with those numbers, what is the advantage to this car-truck? This is a neat "concept" to look at but in reality it will fail like the SS-R and Subaru thing before it. Come on GM stop with the crazy ideas and get back to blocking and tackeling.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ever heard of the Volt? What the point of sinking money into another "World Car" when you have one in the making. I would rather see them pour that money into the battery technology for the Volt. The Astra when it arrives willl be a worthy challenger to the likes of the SentraCorrolaCivic.

        Word is, the battery development is coming along nicely. So much so, that Toyota deemed it necessary to take cheap shots at it.

        The MalibuAura duo is GMs true big test. If these were to fail, they're in for a struggle.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Amen.

        Just another car that all the enthusiasts clamor for and then no one buys because the compromises made.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If I could get the crewman, I'd be sold. If I was still a single young kid, I'd be all over the two door. But it looks like this thing will be upscale, limited production, and not exactly a bargain.

      Oh, well.

      Have y'all seen the flatbed on the holden site? You'll either love it or hate it, but go check it out!
      Ignacio
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ute = SSR part 2
        • 7 Years Ago
        @Ignacio
        Screams SSRII, but the SSR had much bigger issues that made it a failure. These might succeed in Australia, but I'm certainly not sure about NA.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @Ignacio
        The SSR should never have been produced. It's one thing to base a crossover or compact SUV off of a car chassis, but to base a car off a truck chassis is totally asinine. On top of that, they neutered it with incapable powerplant.

        14-20 mpg? Yeah right. The '06 GTO was rated 17/25 mpg and that's with a 6.0 liter V8 without displacement on demand. If they import it and market it under GMC, there's no way it'll have a V8 standard. It'll most like get a one of Holdens Alloytec V6's or a small turbocharged V6 like the 2.8 found in the Saab 9-3, yielding far better mileage and a great option for GMC's loyalists seeking more fuel efficient and exciting vehicles.




      • 7 Years Ago
      Someone once suggested the the Lumina line be used for testbed vehicles. This could be one of them.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I would strongly consider buying this unibody Ute over a body-on-frame small truck with a similar sized bed. Why? A V6 version of the Ute would likely achieve similar or better fuel economy to the large-displacement I4 found in the Tacoma, Frontier, Colorado, Canyon, et al., while still driving like a car. Payload and towing capacity are not an issue as I would use it primarily for making Home Depot runs. The greatest challenge to bringing the Ute to the US is not branding but pricing, especially considering that you can get a new entry-level Tacoma for under $14,000 and a new entry-level F-150 for $15,000 (after discounts/rebates). This would not be a viable alternative to someone in the construction industry or anyone who relies on towing and payload capacities, but for everyone else - why not?
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