click above for more high-res images of the Holden VE Sportwagon
Holden wasn't sure if it was going to build a new VE Commodore Wagon when developing its new line of rear-wheel-drive Zeta-based sedans. Wagons are fleet darlings in Australia, and the new one from Holden was for some reason switched from the long-wheelbase Caprice and Statesman platform to the shorter Commodore platform. That reduced the wagon's cargo capacity, which in turn threatened its very existence. But after hearing that its parent company, General Motors, was interested in importing the VE Sportwagon as a Pontiac G8 wagon, Holden gave the wagon a green light in good faith that there would be additional sales from exports to offset the loss of fleet sales.
Well, Holden just lost the U.S. market, as Bob Lutz told Australian journalists at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show that the VE Sportwagon, a higher-octane version of the VE Commodore Wagon, would not be coming to America. His reasons include the cost of meeting U.S. regulations and the fact that Yanks don't seem to be interested in wagons at all anymore. Audi, BMW and Mercedes offer them but sell hardly any, while Dodge tried to make the sport wagon mainstream again with the critically-acclaimed Magnum. We all know how that turned out.
We bet that if the Magnum were a hot seller, GM would then have no qualms importing the VE Sportwagon. As it stands, though, without the Magnum, a Pontiac G8 wagon would be competing with Audi, BMW and Mercedes wagons for a small slice of this very niche segment's sales.
[Source: Goauto.com via GMInsideNews]