Holden Ute Could Still Come to the U.S. as an El Camino, GM's Reuss Says

Ute-side-560
By James Stanford for PickupTrucks.com

Mark Reuss, General Motors' newly installed president of GM North America, says the Holden VE Ute may still come to the U.S. If it does, it could wear the famed Chevrolet El Camino badge.

Reuss raised hopes for a resurrected El Camino during an interview at the North American International Auto Show.

In January 2009, GM killed plans to sell the Ute as a Pontiac.

“I think another brand with the Ute would be pretty attractive,” Reuss said. Asked whether the potential brand for a U.S. VE Ute was GMC, Reuss volunteered “or Chevrolet”, raising the prospect that the model could be sold with the El Camino nameplate if it were to make it Stateside.

Reuss knows the Holden VE Ute intimately. He was the president of GM’s Australian division at the time the company developed its U.S. export program.

GM had announced that it planned to bring the VE Ute to the U.S. as a Pontiac G8 Sport Truck during the 2007 New York Auto Show. U.S.-specific development work, including engineering side airbags to meet federal safety standards, was carried out but the project was cancelled before a single ST made it into showrooms.

Reuss indicated he wasn’t convinced that the original plan to bring the Ute into the U.S. as a Pontiac, to be sold alongside the VE-based G8 sedan, was the best solution.

“I thought we’d have a hard time putting Ute into Pontiac, but I know it was part of the broader strategy of doing that because they were both VE, there are reasons why you do that, but I think another brand with the Ute would be pretty attractive,” he said.

Reuss said that, if anything, bringing a VE Ute and sedan to the U.S. was more compelling than it was the first time around given the cars now run upgraded V-6 engines, as well as a V-8.

“We didn’t have direct injection in these cars when we’re looking at this the first time,” he said.

“You have to look at this strategically and say, VE has got to be able to stand on its own on the world stage and I think now it is getting to be able to do that, from a fuel economy (perspective) and you will see mass come out of the car,” he said.

“It only gets more attractive on an export basis.”

As for a possible time frame, Reuss wasn't specific and mentioned he had a lot to do in his new role.

The business case for the Holden El Camino will be assisted by the fact Reuss is also looking at ways to return the VE sedan-based G8 to the US market.

Reuss indicated the VE models would need a significant redesign before re-entering the U.S. market.

“The exact G8 car coming back, I don’t know that we’d do that because we would get crucified for not having some of the uniqueness for another brand designed into that car that we did for Pontiac and we designed a lot into that car for Pontiac. It wasn’t just a facelifted VE, it had colors, dials, ride and handling that was different and it was for the American market,” he said.

Reuss was asked whether it be tailored in a similar way for another brand?

“If we did something with VE it would be the same approach with integrity of another brand,” he said.

GM Holden president, Alan Batey, who worked under Reuss as his Australian sales and marketing chief, said he was hopeful Commodore Ute and sedan could both be sold in the U.S.

“It is too early to say what is definitely going to happen, all I can say is that there is absolutely ongoing discussion as you heard from Mark,” Batey said. “He sees possibilities, we have to wrestle those down in the next few months, find out what we can do and when we can do it and come out appropriately with the right product plan,” he said.

Comments

Of all the global vehicles to bring stateside that wouldn't be in my top 10 list. Not enough room inside, excess fuel economy, poor load capability, etc. Keep that POS in Australia or lose more money. There's no demand for that thing here.

I think it'd sell and meet target sales w/o too much difficulty. Let's see, it rides basically like a car, handles like a car, fuel economy of a car, utility of a truck - seems to me like a winner! All this does is give buyers yet another option when choosing their next vehicle. Someway get the after-market folks (SEMA flavor!) to produce tonneau covers for it and now your local hardware and autopart stores can use the Ute for their work/runaround/delivery vehicle...while saving gas at the same time. Also, why would it need a V8? Now you'll have people buying this over the new Camaro in the Chevy camp which clearly should not be the case. Put in one of their new high-tech V6's that already has V8 power and then some. Suspension would be four-wheel independent i would venture to guess, and perhaps down the road a beefier rear suspension could be adapted for more rugged quasi on/off road applications since it has a bit of a truck appeal. Thoughts?

Put the camaro front end on it and youre good

It was dropped here because of poor sales, don't really see how that's changed. I believe the reason it sells well in other markets is because they lack the variety of trucks in the same category it would compete in, which would now include SUV's. If deemed profitable it would already be here.

A v8 in a pickup about the size of a 70's japanese imported pickup? It doesn't get any more nichey than a vehicle geared for a young or single person wanting a sports car-like pickup. Just another wet dream from an OEM looking to increase sales in the most convenient way.

they tried this last year and failed miserably if they try again and actually succeed This ford lover will be adopting a chevy into the family but I'm not keeping my fingers crossed again.

if anything ford should read this and bring over the Falcon Ute.


I understand that they can't bring the G8 back over but They can make a new nova..all they need to do is throw a Camaro's front end on the things.

a 26k 4 door Camaro........sounds better than my 94 Taurus GL

..or just bring back the SSR at a reasonable price....i loved the SSR

Lets hope it's rated to tow a trailer over 500lbs

Love it, would buy it, please send it over. Seriously - I bought a 2004 GTO brand new. I would love to get a El Camino SS with a LS7 or LSA. I could even live with a LS3 if they offered a manual with it.

Hard core truck guys won't buy it, but what about all those suburbanites that fled the truck and large SUV market when fuel prices skyrocketed 2 years ago? There is a market for it. A 4 door version would be a better seller. Why would it need a V8 anyway? It would be a tire burner with a V8 - sounds like fun:)
Attract people to a car like truck (truck like car?) - get them hooked on the utility - then sell them a conventional pickup. Sounds like a good strategy.

"It was dropped here because of poor sales, don't really see how that's changed."
It, the Ute was never sold in the US.Pontiac as a brand was dropping like a stone, so the poor sales never reflected the quality of the vehicle.
"Lets hope it's rated to tow a trailer over 500lbs"
A 4000lb trailer with IRS.

They (trucks based on car platforms) have been here since at least 1957. Ford sold over half a million in the 22 years they were available, vs almost twice that many F series in one year. Modern trucks in America ride and drive nearly as well as cars, I see many women driving crew cab trucks. What would be the advantage of a car based truck in America today?

Niche vehicles will not sell well past the first couple of years.
Plus it is U.G.L.Y.

In other GM news , GM completely abandons the Colorado/Canyon and concentrates on full size trucks for the next spike in gas prices then asks Obama for another handout .

@Taylor - I tripped across a Canadian story on the auto industry bailout. Canada's contribution to the Auto Industry was 1/5 of the US contribution based on the size of the auto industry. It worked out to 2,000,000 dollars per auto worker, or the government could of purchased every vehicle made by GM and Chrysler for the same price as the bailout. I assume the US bailout would of generated similar numbers. It doesn't sound like a good deal to me.

Would be a very impressive vehicle to be introduced into the USA.

Quick, manoeuvrable, easily driven by women as it is but a 2-seater "car" in reality.

Mike

I had a 2001 GMC Z-71 to haul my motorcycle and a 2000 WS6 T/A for fun. I was itching to buy the Pontiac G8 ST to kill both birds with one stone.

As a die-hard Pontiac guy I'd be all over a V-8 GMC Ute. I'd pass on a Chevrolet.

No bow-ties in my garage.

I wonder if they deicide to bring if they will make the Maloo into the SS, if so then look out Ram SRT-10 you'll be passed at the lights by the 425HP Maloo (which means thunder in aboriginal)

@Chris - it's interesting to hear your comments re. Chev and GM. Many guys say they are the same thing. It's refreshing to hear someone state different. Statistically many guys look at it the same way as you.

If there will be a new El Camino,why not a GMC Cabellero version? And if not that,then a Ford Ranchero and Dodge Rampage as well....
Throw in a VW Rabbit pickup too...

Yeah, what Paul said on Jan 14, 2010 5:40:14PM. More variety of truck will increase sales and give truck shoppers more choices. If you can't import them [without yielding to 25-percent tax], build them right here in the US.

Much agreed, more variety is sorely needed in trucks, not cars that wannabe trucks.

Its towing rating is 1600Kg (3520lbs)for the manual so 500lbs is a joke to it.
When Toyota introduced the Prius there was zero historical market. this at least has the El Camino in its heredity.
This vehicle in HSV guise lapped the TopGear test track faster than an Aston DB9. It is a capable vehicle.

This would make a great Chevrolet El Camino, just like the old days. I love El Caminos and have owned six of them over the years and presently drive an all-original '79. It is a fun car-truck and a damned handy automobile. I hope they bring it back and we can lose those big-assed pickups on the market now.

Down here we don't know a culture of anything but a weld body utility (ute for short). Its a culture we grew up with and you can easily fit a ton in the back. In recent years Ford and Holden (GM) Australia made all ute's with a larger cab while also creating a longer wheel base and our love of V8's meant better sales than sixes. We may pay more for fuel but we can't help ourselves to V8 power especially when driving long distances. Amazing power, great fuel economy (for a V8), great handling, american V8 power and really attractive to the young guys. They are a looker and if they make it over there with the "pontiac" and "chev" mods they will look swwweet!
SENSATIONAL!

As much as I want to like this idea, I can't help but think about what a conceptual disappointment the GTO was. I fear this would be the same.

I think it's a great idea and would be one of the first to put down a deposit. I currently drive a GTO and have been looking for a second car with more utility--a ute would be absolutely perfect.

Well,its ugly....It will only be a niche cartruck...Like the Chevy SSR..a total flop..

THE KICKER FOR BRINGING THIS UTE TO AMERICA, IS THE WIDESPREAD POPULARITY OF THE CRAFTSMAN TRUCK RACING SERIES. THE PENT UP DEMAND FOR PERFORMANCE TRUCKS NOW, HAS TO BE PRETTY DAMN AMAZING. GET AFTER IT, MARK!

It will not sell.. Look at the Subaru Outback. They could not give that car away. It will be the same with this platform if it is brought to the US.

@DB - do you mean the Subaru Baja? The Outback is a wagon style SUV that sells very well.

These things are the trademans vehicle of choice in Oz. Large load capacity, easy loading as its tailgate is car height not truck height, hard and soft tray covers are available.
They handle really well, once you've driven one, you'll think even the best american trucks handle like boats.
Heaps of power and surprising amount of room inside.
Sure it's not a truck, but really what use is a truck? they never go off road (or very rarely) and chew far more fuel than the G8.
I think once it starts selling and people come to see all the advantages of the vehicle, it will become a good seller

@DB - do you mean the Subaru Baja? The Outback is a wagon style SUV that sells very well.
-------------------
My bad.. yes the Baja.

THREE MAJOR PLUSES GOING FOR A DOMESTIC UTE. 1. NOVELTY FACTOR. 2. HYPER-AGRESSIVE PERFORMANCE STYLING WITH MATCHING PERFORMANCE. 3. OBVIOUS TIE-INS WITH POPULAR TRUCK RACING SERIES. THIS COULD VERY WELL BE THE "NEXT BIG THING" THAT EVERYONE'S ALWAYS LOOKING FOR. IT MIGHT EVEN OUT SELL FORD'S 412 BHP MUSTANG GT IF CREW CAB AND AWD ARE BOTH OFFERED. AND YOU DAMN WELL KNOW THAT FORD WON'T JUST HAND OVER THIS POTENTIALLY LARGE SEGMENT TO THE GENERAL. EXPECT A FORD SUPER PURSUIT VERY SHORTLY. IT MIGHT EVEN BE IN THE PIPELINE RIGHT NOW. EXPECT THESE TWO COMPANIES TO UNDER-PROMISE AND OVER-DELIVER. LET'S SEE WHERE WE ARE IN EIGHT MONTHS. YOWZA!

I'm an aussie who own's a VY Commodore Ute, you guys don't know what you're missing out on. The Aussie ute, Ford or Holden, is an icon over here. We have ute musters that draw thousands of utes together to celebrate the cars.

The reason they cut this the first time is because there was no interest in the sales department. I talked to a couple different Pontiac dealerships (In Canada) and no one knew what I was talking about. I have been to Australia and drove many utes and they are INCREDIBLE!!! I have drove alot of different vehicles from fully loaded trucks to small trucks to muscle cars and this tops them all. It has the capabilities of a truck and the performance of a muscle car!! Also the fuel economy of a car. The one i drove would get 600 kms off a tank of fuel which was only 70 liters. My equinox gets about the same fuel mileage!! I would be the first one in a dealership to order one and if anyone knows of someone I can email to show support for this let me know!

Get the fuel economy down and use the 2.0 turbo that they will use in the 2011 Buick Regal. Think outside of the box.

Get the fuel economy down and use the 2.0 turbo that they will use in the 2011 Buick Regal. Think outside of the box.

Holden has a 3.0 litre V6 SIDI that performs on a par with what you suggest

It was disheartening that the Pontiac ST never materialized. I hope the El Camino makes a comeback. I need to replace my Chevy S10 Crewcab "airhauler" with a vehicle like this. I just haul an occasional lawnmower, sheet of plywood, and my most favorite...haul azz. Most people that drive pickups large and small don't haul anything 90% of the time except for air. I know there are a lot of nay sayers out there, but you never know it may be a hit and help GM prosper into the future. I own 2 Aussie built cars...my '04 GTO and a '08 G8. Great solid cars. I don't like FWD cars, nor 4 cylinder engines. So if GM was to appease the nay sayers I would simply spend my money with BMW or Mercedes Benz to get my V8 RWD. And just borrow my buddy's pickup for that occasional sheet of drywall.

I was all set and waiting to buy one, I would love an El Camino type vehicle, I was really sad when it was dropped. I am nursing my old truck along hoping this Ute will come to the US, I will buy it immediately.
Please, over 2 million people responded to the naming of this car when it was going to come over, doesn't that tell you anything? I don't need a full size truck, I need an El Camino!
Greg

bring back the el camino!!! while ur at it, bring it back in sedan form as the new Chevelle!!!!! now that would be sweeeeet. imagine a new chevelle with an ls7 in it. might as well bring as many muscle cars to market as we can because soon it will be too late.

I'm a truck guy and I've never ever cared for crap like the Ridgeline and the Avalance, never much interest in the Subaru Outback (which I suppose really is an Ute). But for some reason I LOVE Utes. If you want to glean a look at them check out Top Gear and Top Gear Australia. In an episode of TG Australia they used a Ford Falcon to haul gold ore up out of the super pit in Kalgoorlie. So by no means are they under-powered, the Falcon even has a fully floating cab! I really hope this happens, and soon... I could use a replacement for my slowly dying Hombré.

A new updated El Camino, count me in!!!
I have a 72 SS El Camino V-8 in red with racing stripes now (Fun yes, but thirsty at the pump).
Yes it's not a TRUCK, but if you’re like me most of the time my El Camino not carrying anything but me!
When the need strikes my El Camino takes on the task of hauling a load, in style.
To have a new smaller model would be fantastic; I don't mind being a little green as long as it's fun too.
I'm 52 and ready to see a new El Camino hit the streets, Chevrolet where waiting.
I'll be in line to own one, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

I'm still first in line at my GM dealer to buy the first one that comes in. Not everyone in town is going to buy one, but enough of us will...

@ DB

"It will not sell.. Look at the Subaru Outback. They could not give that car away. It will be the same with this platform if it is brought to the US."

Yeah, that's the same reason people pick Mustangs and Camaros over WRX's. >rolleyes<

You meant Baja, but the problem you are implying lies with the first word, not the second. As in, "SUBARU". They can't give any of them away.

As a person that has pretty much driven pick-ups exclusively since I was a teen, this Ute really interests me.
I currently have 2 ElCaminos as well
a 59 and a 66, and tho they are not daily drivers, I still put them to work occaisionally.
But a car with a pick-up utility is something that appeals to me.
My Ranger rides rough and the fuel mileage is not much better than my 82 Dodge.
Both my 82 Dodge & 79 Chev ride nicer than ANY car or truck on the market now (bought the 79 new, bought the Ranger new).
99.9% of the time, I am the person in the car, and I just despise climbing 4ft up into the current pickups of today.

I occaisionally tow trailers, and more often than not, am carrying something around that just wont fit into a car.

The Ute appeals to me for the fuel mileage, sportiness, and the utlility. The fact that it is a 2 seater is actually a point in it's favor as well.

I'm not single---and I do have a family----we have a van for the peoiple hauling chores.

The comment that Ken makes is exactly that GM began subscribing to during the 80's, 90's and today. There is a big misconception. Whom ever is in the market for a Camaro will not buy a Ute if it is offered with a V8 or otherwise. Just like a Corvette customer will not buy a Camaro if it is offered with a more powerful engine. Producing the Ute as a El Camino will actually increase GM's market base. Even if a Camaro customer is lost to the El Camino, so what? Both are GM products and no less Chevrolet.
GM must produce the El Camino and stay loyal supporting it by ongoing production and making it as good and powerful as possible. Offer it from a V6 to a V8 option as it is in Australia by Holden.
There is an old saying: "DO NOT EXPECT DIFFERENT RESULTS IF YOU KEEP DOING THE SAME THING" If GM continues to think like Ken is and has been doing for the last 30 years it will never recover. It must go back to its successful business plan of the 60's with the added technological edge of today!

america doesnt deserve the ute, they are too ignorant as most of these comments prove. holden doesnt need to waste any more money on them either. obviously usa doesnt understand the idea of a ute.

the ute cant be looked at in the same light as the ssr. the ssr was a joke. i never thought about the ssr but i would buy a ute in a second. it would be the perfect car for where i am in my life. build it...

I own an 1987 El Camino and would by a new one in a heartbeat. this vehicle would be awesome.



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