Could Chevrolet sell a reborn El Camino in the United States? Let's ask an expert, General Motors International Operations boss Tim Lee, what he thinks. Speaking to the Aussies at CarPoint.com.au, Lee had this to say: "I think here in the US that vehicle has a tremendous amount of cache so if we could [import it] we would if it makes sense."

Great! So, we'll be getting a pickup car within the year, right? Well, not so much. Lee continues, "You tell me about what the Aussie dollar is going to do over the next 12 to 24 months and I'll tell you the export potential of cars like that." Obviously, nobody can say with certainty what the exchange rate between the US and Australia will be in two years, but as of right now, the Aussie dollar is worth a nickel more than a US dollar.

To quote Mr. Lee once again, "You can't make a business case of something like that." Indeed you cannot.

But what about the Chevrolet Caprice PPV, isn't that built in Australia? Indeed it is, and the upcoming Chevy SS performance sedan will be important from Oz as well. Thing is, Mr. Lee says the SS "will have to take a very premium price position" in order to be sold in the States, and that's apparently not in the cards for an El Camino.

Also not an option: Building the Australian Zeta-chassis machines in the US. Being that we've quoted Lee so many times already, here's one more to close out the discussion: "We will not be investing one penny to implement the Zeta architecture in the United States. I am the chief manufacturing officer of the company – that is written in stone."


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  • 71 Comments
      The Wasp
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't think the 5% difference between the US and AU dollar is a deal-breaker. The deal-breaker is that the car in Australia is already too expensive for American tastes. Australians are apparently willing to spend a bunch of money on this car and it's hard to imagine Americans would pay so much when they can have a very nicely appointed full-size truck or Camaro for the same price. I'm glad that Tim Lee isn't wishy-washy just to play with the journalists -- on the other hand, I hope they are being a bit more imaginative behind the scenes and not just thinking 'the current version would be too expensive, it's impossible'.
        Dark Gnat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @The Wasp
        "truck or Camaro" There is the answer right there. Why not have both in one package?
      domingorobusto
      • 1 Year Ago
      I want a ute very badly, it would almost perfectly fill my needs. But unfortunately, I know that my tastes in vehicles a considered strange by the mainstream public, and this probably wouldn't sell in anything close to the numbers nceessary to make any kind of bussiness case for itself. So it'll probably never come over. Which makes me sad. All day long.
        md_stew
        • 1 Year Ago
        @domingorobusto
        Your right, except when you think about it\'s platform twin the SS. The two combined could double whatever they were planning for the SS.
        Daniel D
        • 1 Year Ago
        @domingorobusto
        The business case is fine. Even if it sold 5000 to 10000 units a year, Holden would be very happy. The problem purely is the Australian dollar. You guys keep thinking US production numbers for viability. Holden turns a profit on cars at production numbers, the US parent can't keep manufacturing a car at without loosing bucket loads of cash. Need to keep that in mind when thinking about sales volume for Aussie imports.
      JamesC
      • 1 Year Ago
      "We will not be investing one penny to implement the Zeta architecture in the United States" So it'll be built in Canada on the 'old' Camaro line?
      Carlos Hernandez
      • 1 Year Ago
      I like it. I'd buy it. Plain and simple.
      BipDBo
      • 1 Year Ago
      It sounds like they don't want to make the same mistake when they released the European built Saturn Astra at a time whent the dollar was particularly weak and the Euro came out of the gates strong.
      Kawatwo
      • 1 Year Ago
      A sports car with a bed that can haul a motorcycle. What's not to love? Just do it. Make a brand new one off the Camaro as one guy already suggested. I believe there is a huge market for something smaller than the current big trucks that would t better mileage and be fun to drive. http://www.autoblog.com/2013/01/16/el-camino-revival-hopes-scuttled-by-aussie-dollar/#ge
      buckfeverjohnson
      • 1 Year Ago
      Or is it a weak USD?
        Scr
        • 1 Year Ago
        @buckfeverjohnson
        You nailed it.
          Aussie Aspie
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Scr
          Nope. Due to the current mining boom the Aussie dollar is strong against all major currencies, not just the Greenback. Get the Chinese to stop buying our ore, and you'll get your El Camino.
      rlhmarines
      • 1 Year Ago
      What was NOT said in this interview is that Zeta platform is dead for the future but Alpha plus or whatever its' called, will be the newer lighter rwd platform going forward for GM. The Zeta will fade out in 2016 and the next gen global rwd platform will be its' replacement. This new 2013 VF Zeta is a tweaked VE Zeta which dates back nearly 10 years now from which we got the Pontiac G8 short wheelbase and the Police Patrol Chevrolet Caprice long wheel base cars here in the U.S. The new 2014 Chevrolet SS sports sedan this spring will be on the newer VF platform
      Mendy Hartsook
      • 1 Year Ago
      The good old Aussie "Ute" (pronounced Yoot!) Vehicles not only cost much more in Australia, but they retain much more of their value during resale. The depreciation rate is nowhere near what it is in the US.
      Bob Funn
      • 1 Year Ago
      Its coming and then its not, its coming and then its not. So tired of this already...
      turbomonkey2k
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sorry, but that Holden ute is too ugly to be a reborn El Camino. If the truck-car is to be reborn in the USA there's only one right way to do and that is to make it dead sexy and throw in some styling cues that hark back to the 68-72 model like the reborn Camaro did. I don't know if anyone was watching last night but a restored 1970 El Camino SS went for nearly $70 thousand dollars. The uninspired Holden with its weak eroded-bar-of-soap design language won't cut it in today's market. It will just fail the way the boring GTO (holden monaro) did less than a decade ago.
        Robert Ryan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @turbomonkey2k
        Have you seen a mid 1970's El Camino and a SS Ute together? I have No contest, the El Camino looks like a very bloated 1970's Chevrolet.
      FuelToTheFire
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why the hell would anyone want a truck for little girls, like the El Camino, when you can get a manly-looking, mich safer, much more capable truck for less? The fullsize trucks nowadays are much more comfortable, more fuel efficient, and more luxurious than before. Plus, driving them makes you feel macho. You feel extremely safe driving them, and you feel indestructible. You feel as if you are commanding the road.
        Dark Gnat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        LOL - much more comfortable and luxurious....no, that's not girly at all. The Ute is a sport truck for people who need to haul light loads, and who want to haul ass.
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