GM Holden has been in the international spotlight of late thanks to its new VE Commodore sedan, but the Aussie subsidiary is now getting attention because of its poor financial performance. Despite the Commodore maintaining its position as the number one selling vehicle down under in 2006, total revenues were down 7.8% over the period, which meant that Holden ended up with a substantial $123.7 million loss.

To its credit, the results were skewed by the costs associated with launching the VE range, along with a host of other reasons. Management blames exchange rates that favored imports, higher fuel costs and heavy discounting of older VZ series models as justification for the poor results.

Things were very different only a few years back. Under the guidance of Peter Hanenberger, Holden turned consecutive profits in excess of $200 million for the years 2002, 2003 and 2004. Things went sour when Hanenberger was replaced by American exec Denny Mooney, who just last month left the job to Chris Gubbey, who's stepping in following a stint as executive VP of Shanghai General Motors.

Holden's survival is vital to GM's revival of its rear-wheel drive heritage. Apart from the Camaro coupe, Holden engineers are also rumored to be developing several other rear-drive models for GM including a new Pontiac GTO, Chevrolet Impala and a V12 Cadillac flagship.

[Source: GoAuto News]

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