• Jan 15, 2010
Holden VE Ute – Click above for high-res image gallery

As if General Motors hasn't endured enough turmoil in the last year, Pickuptrucks.com is reporting that GM North America president Mark Reuss is championing the idea of a stateside Holden VE Ute. Pardon us for thinking this issue was dead and buried in 2009, interred in the graveyard of stillborn ideas. Reuss, who ran Holden for GM during the VE's development, has a soft spot for the admittedly excellent platform that we only shortly knew as the Pontiac G8. While that dalliance was only marginally longer lived than Jay Leno's move to prime time (the promised G8 Sport Truck was announced and then canceled before birth), Reuss thinks that GMC or Chevrolet could proudly park the Ute in U.S. showrooms.

Rather than let all the hard work done to bring the G8 to fruition go to waste, Reuss is also reportedly looking for a slot for that car, as well. If GM can get the Ute classed as a truck in North America, it might play a significant role in Corporate Average Fuel Economy ratings, and that may be enough reason alone to offer a neo-El Camino. A revised G8 popping up under another GM moniker would be welcomed by the auto punditry, though may still fail to move enough units to make an impact. There's no denying that niche vehicles such as the Ute and G8 have a following, but we wonder how much focus these efforts are stealing from the pivotal vehicles that must launch and continue to sell without a hitch. As exciting as a Ute might be, a flawless and successfully marketed launch of the new Chevrolet Aveo is likely far more important to GM's financial health at this point than some hoon sled.



[Source: Pickuptrucks.com]


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  • 58 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ah Yes, more backwards thinking from GM. When will they ever learn? Slowly but surely they are slipping back into their old ways.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's fun to dream.

      Make mine a Chevy El Camino LT1. V6, 6speed (pref manual of course, but the auto isn't bad) steel wheels, A/C, power windows and locks and call it a day.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Abort, abort, abort! Mark must have spent too much time down under. He clearly doesn't understand what a cultural laughing stock the El Camino is. And these are the bright new stars under which GM is going to turn a corner to restore the glory days of American automaking? Lutz should use the Foce strangle-hold on him.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Force" strangle hold. Comment editing system, anyone?... Anyone?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, it is. If that's news to you then I'm guessing you reside south of the Mason-Dixon line and have most of the parts to an IROC Camaro arranged in no particular order on your front lawn. You people can "1 Star" me all day long, but that neither makes the El Camino cool nor a Chevy-badged VE Commodore a good idea. I would think you'd want your tax dollars invested a tad more wisely, but hey, this is the crowd that thinks a CTS-V wagon is a great idea so I guess common sense is on backorder here all around.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I want one, just because we have not been able to buy them all this time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Looks like a 90s car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I want one, but I would never buy one. Nothing against GM or Holden. If i want a truck, i'll get a truck. If i want a sports car, i'll get a sports car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm kind of there with you. I like it a lot, because it reminds me of a big version of the Honda Del Sol. The 2-seater coupe factor is cool. I'd never buy one though ( maybe used, for kicks ) and i'm not sure who the car is for.. ya know?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I've been wondering if Mark Reuss was as out of touch as his father was back in the day (Lloyd Reuss, GM president '90-'93). I'm trying my darndest to keep an open mind, but it's not looking good.

        Here's a tip for a car company that desperately needs sales: don't waste your time building cars that primarily appeal to the sort of people who can't qualify for car loans.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I want one too, but i think they need one with a crew cab.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ theweegeean: Didn't Holden scrap the Crewman years ago? That photo is of a VZ...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sea Urchin, they do make one with a crew cab, it's called the Holden Crewman:

        http://www.nextcar.com.au/rt.i.holden.VZ.crewman.ss.bridge.JPG

        It's disappointing that there's no really good compact crew-cab truck in the US with a four-cylinder engine, but them's the breaks. BTW, Interesting fact for you Sea Urchin: the Chevy Colorado with four-cylinder and crew cab gets 21 mpg overall (18/25 mpg), and that's with a lot of power (185 hp) at low revs (four-banger hits max power and torque at around 3000 rpm). That's the same mileage as Ranger and Tacoma four-cylinder automatics, by the way.

        To be honest, I don't understand why more people don't look at the Chevy Colorado. It's not the greatest truck but it gets 20 mpg if you want a four-banger 4x4, 21 if you want a crew cab, and its four can tow up to 3000 pounds. If you want a nicer interior you should really honestly get a car, trucks (especially compacts) aren't built for luxury but rather cheap utility. I can understand the issues many people have with the flexy chassis but it's still a decent four-cylinder truck that can do most anything anybody would want it to do.
      • 5 Years Ago
      near useless ,why would anybody buy such a toy ?
      Forget it GM ,you have enough problems without adding to them .Stick to marketable vehicles -not weird niche vehicles.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My question is this...

      If it is too expensive for Chevy to offer the G8 re-badged... why not send it to Buick as Grand National/Park Avenue (sporty or lux, respectively)...

      Second, about the Ute.

      Do American light truck buyers still buy standard cab trucks? I hardly see them anymore. At minimum, they seem to be extended cab, reverse-door setups, or otherwise full on 4-door crew cabs, even in the small trucks.

      If Americans demand more passenger capacity or internal cab storage space... will they accept the distinctly 2-door, 2 seat Commodore Ute?

      It may be more sporty than Colorado, but that doesn't matter much if people are demanding more interior space than a standard cab pickup, or a 2 seat car.

      I'm just sayin'...
        • 5 Years Ago
        I hate to say it, but to an extent you're right. I think the compact truck market's problem is that the compact trucks that people loved to buy in the eighties and nineties went so far in terms of content and features that they spoiled us Americans.

        Some guys say "I want a four-cylinder four-by-four automatic", others say "I need a crew cab", others say "I want a vehicle that's as simple as possible, no leather, no frills", many people say "I want a compact truck that's as cheap as humanly possible but still high-quality" and others say "I want something sporty, put a V-8 in the Tacoma please".

        American tastes have changed so much since the heyday of the compact market back in the eighties that old-school expectations aren't enough anymore. It used to be that a regular cab and four cylinder was enough, but it isn't any more. Consumers expect a crew cab for their families, four-wheel-drive for off-road expeditions and good fuel economy for the drive back and forth to work. And they want plenty of power for sportiness.

        This truck just won't do it for Americans.

      • 5 Years Ago
      ya know? I'm done with this car. Would certainly take some of the other variants.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This will never work.

      Ask Subaru how their Baja is doing.

      2 more seats and very capable 4 season car.....
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd rather see this come over as a new GMC Sprint/Caballero than a new Chevy El Camino.

      For one, Chevy has enough different models in dealerships, including the Avalanche, which is a kinda-sorta-similar concept.

      For two, unless the Ute is built in America, it'll have to be a bit expensive in order to get any ROI. And GMC is a much more appropriate division to sell more expensive vehicles.

      Third, they'd escape any negative "El Camino" brand connotations by offering a "Professional Grade" GMC version instead. Granted, the vehicle type alone would make the connection for buyers in the know. But those who don't (including the 18% of the population that doesn't know that GMC is a GM brand) wouldn't have those connotations.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Um, *what* negative El Camino brand connotations? Elkies are awesome.
        • 5 Years Ago
        seriously.

        i dunno when the Elco-bashing started, but that vehicle was practical. It's the only truck 99% of Americans ever needed: i towed a boat with it, and loaded dirtbikes innit- without a ramp mind you. it's the only truck i ever owned or would care to own. the Aussie Utes are my reason for seriously contemplating a move down-under, and while i tried my best to ignore the American "truck as substitute for wang," the posts on here from Americans who just don't get the Elco/Ute really gives me pause with regard to how 'Murican i could possibly be.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is easy, and I hope Reuss, Lutz and Whitacre are listening:

      Commodore: Chevy Impala
      Ute: Chevy El Camino

      This really is a no brainer.

      A car based truck doesn't really fit GMC's "professional grade" marketing (not that GMC should have survived the bankruptcy as a retail brand). The SSR was a very cool, but overpriced, waste of time and effort trying to fill the void left by the F-body hiatus.

      If Henderson single-handedly killed Pontiac and all the G8 variants, then there's no reason for them not to happen now. It couldn't take that long to splice a Malibu-like front end on them.

      Too bad they already sold the factory that built the Sky/Solstice. That one shouldn't have died either, and could have brought something fresh to Buick.
        • 5 Years Ago
        dragonsforgens6

        GM has spent billions to bring the Epsilon II platform to carry their brands forward in the new global market place. The platform can singularly manufacture 7 different models on one line. This is GM's new global platform to maximize and improve all automobile production from now on.

        The old Zeta platform that still exists in Elizabeth, Australia (and the one one in Oshawa, Ontario) just can't cut the mustard anymore. The economics of any venture in the future with these dated technologies will rapidly gobble up any future profits derived from them. Furthermore, shipping costs and an extremely impoverished US dollar would eat up any profits before the products even got out the door. Would anyone want to buy a $40,000 Chevrolet Caprice in America? Not likely.

        I hope you are listening.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Reuss is beginning to sound more like Lutz everyday.

      This controversy with the Holden Commodore (Pontiac G8 / Chevrolet Caprice) and Holden Sport Ute (Chevrolet El Camino) will not just go away. These are truly unique products from down under. Unfortunately there is no room for them at the new GM.

      No wonder, Whitacre & Co is adamantly pursuing another course with the Epsilon II platform which will soon underpin all GM cars in this category.

      The Land of Oz is fighting for its heritage, but I fear they have already lost this battle, and a FWD Epsilon II platform is being readied for their facility in Elizabeth.

      You fought valiantly mates, but the General is in charge, not the peons.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Jamie,

      You'd be right except Alpha is going to be able to replace Zeta AND Sigma 2 and will be as versitle as Epsilon 2 is for the FWD cars.

      GM will have 5 car platforms: Gamma (FWD Mini/Micro), Delta (FWD Compact), Epsilon (FWD Mid-size/Large car), Alpha (RWD Mid-size/Large Car), and Y-Body (Sports car).

      Zeta and Sigma 2 share much more in common than people realize. Alpha was based off of both Zeta and Sigma 2 and is designed so that it can replace them.
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