Revealed - All-New Holden Ute (Pontiac G8 ST)

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderador® Super Moderator

    Jul 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Wulingyuan, Hunan, China
    The last Ute thread disappeared when I tried merging new content to it, so here's a fresh new one full of info. Conversions are also included.

    FOR RELEASE: 2007-08-21



    Sets new standards in performance, safety, comfort and flexibility

    GM Holden today unveiled its all new VE Ute range - the latest iconic model in a line-up that spans almost 60 years of Australian motoring.

    VE Ute is Holden's first completely new ute design since the VU series in 2000. It offers more features, more useable interior space, greater storage flexibility and more performance than any of its predecessors.

    Holden invested an extra $105 million on top of its $1 billion VE Commodore sedan program and carried out more than 650,000kms of reliability testing on the new VE Ute.

    Launching the new range in Melbourne today, GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director Chris Gubbey said almost 60 years of history had established the Holden Ute as a true Australian icon.

    "The ute's development tells the story of Australia. Today's ute is about working hard, playing hard and enjoying an active lifestyle," Mr Gubbey said.

    "VE Ute raises the bar in this segment and sets new standards in safety, comfort, flexibility and performance, and all at the great value price you'd expect from Holden."

    Holden's world-class design and engineering expertise has created a vehicle that successfully integrates sports car performance, ride and handling and workhorse practicality.

    Sharing the same genetic make-up as the multi-award winning VE Commodore sedan, the all new VE Ute was designed, engineered and built in Australia.

    It will be the first locally produced ute to offer the acclaimed Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) crash avoidance safety technology standard across the range. High levels of safety carry through to the vehicle's structure which incorporates the same high-strength steels introduced in VE sedan.

    VE Ute's interior offers increased cabin comfort and significantly increased storage space. The tray has a new cargo liner fitted as standard.

    Performance is stepped up and there are wider wheel and tyre combinations across all models. A new-to-the-range SS V model marries 270kW (362hp) of V8 power with high-level features.

    These include 19-inch wheels, dual zone electronic climate control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, alloy pedals and a premium audio system, setting a new standard in the ute segment.

    Introduced in July 2006, Holden's VE range has won a host of accolades including Wheels Car of the Year, News Ltd's Car Of The Year, MOTOR's Bang For Your Bucks and People's Choice Award.

    Design Overview


    Holden designers captured the dual role of today's ute as a practical workhorse with recreational sports car credentials. A priority was to create more practical cabin space and storage flexibility.

    Like its sedan sibling, VE Ute has authoritative stance and poise. The signature raked bodyside and distinctive flared wheel arches feature prominently.

    The silhouette features a coupe-like integrated roof-line and retains the classic Holden Ute proportional trait with the tray perfectly balanced above the rear wheels.

    The clean presentation is aided by the use of a single piece body side outer which runs from the A pillar to the tailgate. The new one-piece side structure delivers significant quality improvements through dimensional stability and repeatability.

    There are unique wrap-around tail lamps and tailgate hinges are now fully concealed. Dual and quad exhaust systems enhance the VE Ute's sports car appeal.
    Interior Features


    VE Ute introduces several design solutions that increase interior storage space, improve rear compartment access and add more convenience features.

    The cabin interior draws on the award-winning VE sedan, with individual treatments increasing buyer choice.

    Specific centre stack features, mouldings, displays and illumination colours create maximum differentiation between variants.

    The aggressive quality standards applied to VE sedan were also applied to ute, with critical areas such as part-to-part fit, material surfaces, storage openings and other treatments reviewed to the tiniest detail.

    Rear seat access has been opened up with a quick release seat latch now standard. Storage volume behind the seats is now 245 litres (8.7 cu. ft.), a significant increase over VZ Ute's 90 litre (3.2 cu. ft.) space.

    There are two storage compartments beneath the load floor and all models except Omega and SV6 have dual cargo nets in the rear panel. A new rear centre T-panel provides a striking visual element.

    Exterior Features


    While the new ute takes many of its design and styling cues from the successful VE sedan, its body structure has more than 60 unique panels.

    The rear structure has been significantly reinforced to accommodate the load-carrying capacity and robustness required for a light commercial vehicle.

    The cargo area is more functional and versatile. A heavy duty moulded cargo liner is now standard fitment.

    It helps protect the tray space and load materials from damage. Floor corrugations allow water run-off and easy cleaning.

    The flush-fitting soft tonneau cover (all models except Omega) features Holden's unique 'snap lock' clipping system. The six cargo tie-down hooks have been redesigned for improved functionality.

    Safety Technology


    VE Ute incorporates more standard safety features than its predecessor and benefits from the largest crash modelling program Holden has undertaken.

    The focus was on crash avoidance and providing optimum occupant protection should a crash occur.

    Safety technologies were benchmarked against the world's leading brands and major engineering programs delivered a stiffer body structure and significantly increased usage of advanced strength steels. Seventy seven per cent of VE Ute's structure is advanced strength steel.

    Load path strategies established for VE sedan have been adapted for VE Ute with a focus on side and rear impact. Structurally optimised crush zones help absorb crash energy.

    VE is the first locally produced ute equipped with the acclaimed Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) safety technology standard across the range. This integrates traction control, anti-lock braking systems, electronic brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution to help prevent skidding in critical driving situations by applying corrective braking to different wheels and reducing engine torque.

    New dual-stage driver and passenger front airbags, which inflate in two stages according to impact severity and respective seating positions, further enhance occupant safety.

    Other protection features include a steering column ride-down mechanism and breakaway brake pedal.



    The new VE Ute is all about performance, whether as a day-to-day commercial workhorse or a two-door sports car in its own right.

    The Omega Ute offers a four-speed automatic transmission paired with Holden's locally built 3.6 litre V6 Alloytec engine, delivering 180kW (241hp) of peak power and 330Nm (243ft-lbs) of peak torque.

    The six-speed manual Omega has the more powerful High Output V6 Alloytec, delivering peak power of 195kW (261hp) and peak torque of 340Nm (251ft-lbs), with dual exhausts added.

    SV6 utilises the same combination of High Output V6 engine, six-speed manual transmission and dual exhausts but adds sports suspension. Five-speed automatic transmission with Active Select is optional.

    The SS and new high-end SS V Ute models are powered by Holden's 6.0 litre Gen IV V8, which delivers 270kW (362hp) of peak power and 530Nm (391ft-lbs) of peak torque. It is matched to a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with Active Select.

    Wheel and tyre packages are larger across the range. The entry level Omega ute moves from 15-inch to 16-inch steel wheels. At the performance end, SV6 and SS utes move from 17-inch to 18-inch alloys as standard and the new SS V boasts 19-inch alloy wheels.

    Quad exhausts add to the performance package on SS and SS V models.

    Ride and handling


    Holden's chassis engineers have translated the luxury smoothness, great linear handling and steering feel of VE sedan into the ute driving experience.

    At the same time, they have maintained the ride comfort characteristics and sporting appeal of the successful VZ Ute. The result is a balance between passenger car comfort, sporty handling and the practical requirements of a load-bearing commercial vehicle.

    Rear suspension was a primary focus for change and the new ute delivers even greater lateral grip and linear response during cornering. VE Ute also benefits from larger fade resistant brakes and larger wheel and tyre packages.

    Further Feature Highlights


    All-new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system - 20 fan speeds
    High quality instrument clusters with larger dials and displays, night mode dash illumination, 16 personalisation options, multifunction driver display
    All models satellite navigation and telematics capable
    Blaupunkt audio systems
    Six disc CD player (SS and SS V)
    Sports-contoured seats (SS and SS V)
    Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity
    Euro-style flat blade wipers
    Locking fuel filler door
    One touch lane change indicator
    LED high-mounted stop lamp (SS and SS V)
    Dual zone electronic climate control (SS V)
    Projector headlamps (SS V)
    Alloy faced pedals (SS V)

    Accessories include:

    Super Box
    Hard tonneau cover
    Cargo tie-down rails
    Sports bar
    Ladder and roof rack
    Sports decal kit
    Interior luggage organiser
    Colour selection

    A varied and expressive colour palette emphasises ute's sports persona. Three exciting new colours - Atomic, Crunch and K-Pow - are included in a total of nine exterior colour choices.

    Available on all models

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    Heron White - solid white
    Phantom - metallic black with silver highlights
    Redhot - highly chromatic solid red metallic
    Nickel - mechanical dark silver with coarse metallic highlight
    *K-Pow - highly chromatic metallic blue with purple undertones

    Additional colours available on SV6, SS and SSV

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    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Ignition - chromatic red orange metallic with fine mica gold highlight
    *Atomic - metallic green, bright and packed with chroma
    *Crunch - a green-biased metallic yellow
    Morpheous - purple metallic
    * denotes new colours

    Holden VE Ute Range:

    Omega (new) - 3.6L V6, peak power 180kW (241hp), peak torque 330Nm (243ft-lbs), four-speed automatic and 3.6L V6 195kW (261hp) peak torque 340Nm (251ft-lbs) six-speed manual;
    SV6 - 3.6L V6 195kW (261hp) peak torque 340Nm (251ft-lbs) five-speed automatic and six-speed manual;
    SS - 6.0L V8 270kW (362hp), peak torque 530Nm (391ft-lbs) six-speed automatic and six-speed manual;
    SS V (new) - 6.0L V8 270kW (362hp), peak torque 530Nm (391ft-lbs) six-speed automatic and six-speed manual;

    Fuel Economy (based on ADR 81/01)

    Omega (auto) 11.3 L/km
    Omega (manual) 11.4 L/km
    SV6 (auto) 11.6 L/km
    SV6 (manual) 11.4 L/km
    SS & SS V (auto) 14.0 L/km
    SS & SS V (manual) 14.5 L/km



    Holden today strengthened its position at the premium sports end of the ute market by introducing an all new SS V model to its VE Ute range.

    Reflecting the trend towards premium performance products, VE SS V Ute offers enthusiasts an exciting level of high-end performance, comfort and style.

    Features include 19-inch alloy wheels, projector headlamps, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a 150 Watt premium audio system. It is the first locally-built ute to offer the acclaimed accident avoidance system (ESP®) and dual zone electronic climate control as standard.

    Other highlights include sports car cockpit-style interiors, with new rear T-panel, hero colour-keyed instrument panel and cluster, centre console sports gauges, large colour screen multi function display, full map satellite navigation availability, leather-faced seat trim and sports profile leather wrap steering wheel.

    Power comes courtesy of Holden's 6.0-litre Generation IV V8 engine which delivers 270kW (362hp) of peak power and peak torque of 530Nm (391ft-lbs), teamed with flagship six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission.

    "We introduced the new V Series on VE sedan as a way of offering customers extra value and features normally only available on special editions," Holden's Executive Director Sales, Marketing and Aftersales, Alan Batey said.

    "The response from the market was overwhelmingly positive so we've decided to extend the V Series to the ute range.

    "Sports models traditionally account for the major percentage of Holden's sales in this segment so we have increased our mix for VE from two to three sports variants, starting with the SV6 and moving up through to SS and now the new SS V.

    "Each model takes a step up in terms of features and performance with the new SS V the ultimate hero of our ute range.

    "At the same time we've improved our entry level offering for fleets and business customers with the new Omega model.

    "Omega offers more storage space and flexibility than Holden's previous entry level ute. We have also introduced a range of new standard features including ESP® and dual stage airbags.

    "Our customers now have more choice, more flexibility and more features as standard. They can find the ideal ute to match their work and lifestyle needs at a value for money price," he said.

    Omega Ute offers two variants of the advanced 3.6 litre Alloytec engine. The Alloytec V6 teamed with the four-speed automatic delivers peak power of 180kW (241hp) and peak torque of 330Nm (243ft-lbs).

    The six-speed manual Omega offers the High Output Alloytec engine, delivers peak power of 195kW (261hp), peak torque of 340Nm (251ft-lbs) and has a dual exhaust system.

    SV6 has the High Output Alloytec V6 matched with five-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch wheels and dual exhausts. Standard features include sports facias and sports suspension.

    The traditional sports ute, SS, provides the step up to V8 power and performance. Standard features include quad exhausts, Bluetooth phone connectivity and six disc CD player with MP3 compatibility.

    All models have the option of satellite navigation and all are telematics capable.



    Development Cost

    $105.1 million – (on top of $1.03 billion VE Commodore program)


    Durability 500,830 km
    Reliability test trips 23,810 km
    Captive Fleet 130,000 km

    Total 654,640 test kilometres

    Added to VE Commodore total
    of 3.42 million kms = 4,074,640 test kilometres

    Total dedicated test vehicles 87

    Key Dimensions

    Wheelbase 3009 mm (118.5 in)
    Front track 1602 mm (63 in)
    Rear track 1618 mm (63.7 in)
    Max width (includes mirrors) 2100 mm (82.6 in)
    Overall length 5055 mm (199 in)
    Height 1497 mm (59 in)
    Turning circle 11.7 metres (38.3 ft)
    Headroom 985 mm (38.7 in)
    Leg room 1071 mm (42 in)

    Kerb Mass

    Omega V6 auto (A/C) 1697 kg (3,741 lbs)
    Omega V6 manual (A/C) 1711 kg (3,772 lbs)
    SV6 auto 1740 kg (3,836 lbs)
    SV6 manual 1735 kg (3,825 lbs)
    SS V8 auto 1787 kg (3,939 lbs)
    SS V8 manual 1767 kg (3,895 lbs)
    SS V V8 auto 1806 kg (3,981 lbs)
    SS V V8 manual 1786 kg (3,937 lbs)


    Omega (man) 775 kg (1,708 lbs)
    Omega (auto) 794 kg (1,750 lbs)
    SV6 (man) 634 kg (1,397 lbs)
    SV6 (auto) 633 kg (1,395 lbs)
    SS (man) 617 kg (1,360 lbs)
    SS (auto) 597 kg (1,316 lbs)
    SS V (man) 528 kg (1,164 lbs)
    SS V (auto) 508 kg (1,120 lbs)

    Body Structure

    Primary underbody structure (engine compartment, front floor assembly and rear rails) shared with WM Sedan - additional reinforcements and steel crossmembers support tray floor and accommodate spare wheel. Structure provides more room behind the seats than VZ and increased storage space.

    Employs cost-effective technology – high strength steels, tailor-welding, ‘walk in’ front end. Composite floor panel reduces mass, streamlines production. More than 60 panels unique to ute - common with VE sedan from B pillar forward. One-piece side structure replaces former multi-piece side. Stiffer base structure gives more ride refinement - sense of safety and solidity.

    Torsion and bending modes (structural twisting and bending under applied loads) increased significantly over VZ. Trimmed body modes: 22.5 hertz for bending; 27.5 hertz for torsion. Passenger cabin integrity maximised through multiple load paths and use of high-strength steels – 77% of structure is advanced strength steel.

    Crash requirements drove necessity for stiff joints, which promote better noise and vibration outcomes. Achieving sedan-style noise and vibration targets required intensive analysis and development work. Addition of extensive noise insulation, sealing baffles and absorbent materials ensures more car-like driving experience. Global GM system - Dimensional Technical Specification - used to achieve ‘best of the best’ dimensional quality.

    All-new tailgate - concealed hinges for more integrated appearance; cargo tie-down hooks redesigned for improved functionality. New pull-bar door handles and improved door swing contribute to lighter door-opening effort. Doors are bolt-on for easier repair. New door seals enable consistency of finish, insulate wind noise and lessen water/dust intrusion.

    Exterior Systems

    Moulded cargo area and tailgate liner standard on all models - extra features and flexibility. Improvements to tailored tonneau cover reduce wind thump and resonance at high speed by 50 per cent. Front end module creates a walk-in front end, improving production efficiency, facilitating quality fit and finish.

    Improved headlamp technology - better lighting for cornering, broader spread, whiter light on low beam, improved high beam performance. Unique wrap-around tail lamps integrated into body side; LED stop lamp located on roof capping (SS and SS V); SS V Ute has projector headlamps.

    Flat blade wipers improve wipe quality at all speeds, integrated aerofoil blade element reduces wind lift, improves acoustic performance; ‘wet arm’ feature improves cleaning performance. Acoustic windscreen dampens high frequency noise typically transferred through windscreen to cabin. Side channels improve water management.

    Two rear bumper fascia designs support differentiation between models and exhaust configurations (single and dual). One-piece rocker panel mouldings replace previous two-piece design. Aluminium front bumper beam has computer-tuned crush characteristics.


    Instrument panel – locked down’ to cross-car beam; strong, rigid component adds extra dimensional stability and integrity, improves steering column stiffness. Further features include a burst-through passenger airbag, redesigned glovebox – almost 50 per cent larger than VZ.

    Door bins - longer, wider and deeper - accommodate 600ml drink bottle. Carpet - layered with a high-tech acoustic insulation material.

    Insulator moulded to shape and attached to underside of the engine hood reduces noise from the engine compartment. Large sound-deadening component behind the engine bay; acoustic package between transmission and tunnel also provides thermal barrier.

    Safety Systems

    Significant amount of ute safety development program completed virtually - no mule or prototype stages. Side and rear impact was major focus and more than 1500 barrier tests were performed virtually. Five actual barrier crash tests – one frontal, two side and two rear.

    Use of high strength steel improves structural rigidity, maximises sectional efficiency. Clearly defined load paths minimise passenger compartment intrusions. Side impact load paths - B pillar, instrument panel cross-beam, three floor cross-members, rocker, door intrusion beam, cabin bulkhead/crossmember, structural roof bow.

    Rear impact - rear longitudinal rail, rocker, side tray reinforcement structure, spare wheel crossmembers, number six crossmember at the rear of the rails.

    Advanced adaptive occupant restraint system - dual-stage front airbags, front seat pyrotechnic seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters. Driver and front passenger airbags inflate in two stages, according to impact severity and respective seating positions. Further features - ride-down steering column, breakaway pedals, optimised door trim profile.

    Chassis Dynamics

    Development - 20-month, 50,000 kilometre ute-specific chassis development program on top of eight-year VE sedan program.

    Primary focus - rear suspension. Stabiliser bar diameter reduced to 12 mm (from 16 mm on VE sedan). Other changes reduce oversteer during limit handling and improve lane change behaviour. Front suspension tweaks give additional roll understeer. Front stabiliser bar diameter increased to 24mm (from 23 mm on VE sedan), resulting in greater lateral grip and linear response.

    Linear Control Suspension

    Front - multi-link strut, with direct acting stabiliser bar. Forward-mounted steering rack and dual lower links with individual ball joints at the outer end. Hydraulically damped bush in the forward end of the tension link for improved ride isolation. Lateral link has a rubber spherical joint, providing lateral stiffness for precise handling. Front geometry features negative scrub radius, short spindle length, high castor and short mechanical trail. Fully adjustable in camber, castor and toe.

    Benefits include improved road connection; better on-centre steering feel; sharper handling and improved directional stability during manoeuvres such as high-speed lane changes; desensitisation to external influences such as crosswinds and camber changes.

    Rear - multi-link (four link) independent system with coil-over shock absorbers and decoupled stabiliser bar. Major features include high lateral stiffness for handling and improved longitudinal compliance for ride, with elastic bushes fore and aft. A rubber isolated suspension frame double isolates the vehicle body from road imperfections and drivetrain vibrations.

    Fully adjustable in camber and toe. Benefits include improved vehicle response; sharper handling; better isolation and ride comfort; reduced sensitivity to payload changes.

    Omega ─ suspension biased to higher ground clearance. SV6, SS and SS V - sports suspension.

    Steering system

    Steering rack is mounted forward of the front axle centreline (rear-mounted on VZ) - retains a variable ratio gear, with 15% change from centre to lock.

    Steering efforts are lighter and benefits of forward-mounted positioning include a significantly stiffer system which maintains a degree of lateral force toe change, stabilising the vehicle on turn-in. Combined with approximately 10 per cent faster ratio on-centre compared with VZ, provides enhanced steering feel, precision and greater driver connection to the road.

    Stiffer structural engine sump improves engine beaming stiffness and reduces vibration input to the powertrain mounting system. Steering ratio and valve calibration initially determined by computer analysis. Final tuning completed with a combination of objective measurement and subjective vehicle evaluation.


    16-inch package for V6-powered models. 298mm x 30mm vented front rotors; 302mm x 22mm vented rear rotors. Twin piston compact aluminium calipers (front), single piston aluminium units (rear).

    17-inch package for V8 powered models. Shares the same calipers - attachment bracket modified to suit 321mm x 30mm vented front rotors and 324mm x 22mm vented rear rotors.

    Benefits of the new system include stiffer brake pedal feel, increased fade resistance and improved noise and vibration performance. Brake actuation - performed by a front/rear split 26mm master cylinder with a tandem 8+9-inch vacuum booster. A brake apply sensor on the brake pedal replaces two switches, delivering noiseless operation. Pedal release system helps to reduce lower leg injuries in a frontal impact.

    Bosch Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) - compares vehicle movement with the steering wheel to determine if the vehicle is moving in the intended direction. If skidding appears imminent, ESP applies brake pressure to individual wheels as appropriate and if necessary reduces engine power.

    Traction Control System (TCS) recognises rear wheel slippage and adjusts drive and brake force accordingly. Reduces wheel spin when accelerating on wet or icy roads and in ‘split’ conditions, e.g. when vehicle has two wheels on bitumen and two on a gravel verge.

    Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) detects wheel lock-up under hard braking and reduces brake pressure at the affected wheel, improving braking efficiency and assisting the driver to maintain steering control so the vehicle remains directionally stable.

    Electronic Brake Assist (EBA) maximises braking pressure to optimise performance in emergency braking situations.

    Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) regulates the brake force applied to each wheel to ensure optimal balance between front and rear brakes, which helps to minimise stopping distances.

    Wheels and tyres

    Omega: 16-inch x 7-inch steel wheels; 225/60 R16 102H tyres.

    SV6, SS and SS V wheels and tyres match VE sedan counterparts:
    18-inch x 8-inch alloy wheels; 245/45 R18 96V tyres (SV6, SS)
    19-inch x 8-inch alloy wheels; 245/40 R19 94W tyres (SS V)

    Tyre pressure - increased to 250kpa (from 200-220kpa) – or 36psi.

    Engine cradle - design delivers a stiffer, stronger structure for improved handling and noise and vibration performance. The frame adds torsional and bending stiffness to the front structure and contributes to improved overall crash performance.

    Rear differential

    Features include double isolation ─ isolation from the rear suspension frame by rubber bushes at three points and isolation from the body at four points ─ gear set and bearing improvements. Multi-plate clutch limited slip differential system allows more progressive breakaway characteristics, vehicle tuning for maximum grip out of corners and improved durability.


    V6 Engines

    Improvements over VZ:
    • more aggressive pedal map for livelier more responsive launch feel;
    • variable intake manifold helps increase peak power and torque across rev range;
    • inverted tooth chain design and re-tuned harmonic balancer reduce drive noise;
    • diecast oil pan further isolates the driver from powertrain noise and vibration;
    • Bosch E77 engine control system with digital engine sensors for crank and camshaft positions; front and rear oxygen sensors for better cold start and cold running performance;
    • New engine cover with acoustic insulation for further noise reduction.

    Lightweight all-alloy Alloytec V6 operates with advanced double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. A combination of high feature technologies allows it to extract more power from less fuel, with fewer emissions. The variable intake manifold facilitates maximum torque at low to medium engine speeds and increases power at high speed.

    Equipped with variable cam phasing on exhaust as well as inlet camshafts for increased efficiency. Electronically controlled and hydraulically actuated, continuously variable cam phasing brings outstanding camshaft operational flexibility, permitting variability of valve timing to maximise performance, fuel economy and emissions control.

    V6 Transmissions

    Four-speed 4L60E automatic

    The 4L60E four-speed automatic transmission (Omega) is mated to the 180kW Alloytec V6 engine. This transmission has been developed over time to an increasingly high level of refinement and has been extensively recalibrated.

    Five-speed 5L40E automatic with Active Select

    Optional on SV6 - Active Select with tap up/ tap down control located on the shifter. Retains performance mode liftfoot, which detects sporty driving and holds gears rather than allow upshifts. A powertrain braking feature recognises long downgrades and selects a lower gear.

    Six-speed Aisin AY6 manual

    Standard on SV6 and Omega (195 kW Alloytec). Refinements over VZ include isolated shift assembly that reduces transmission noise, improves comfort with less vibration through the gear knob. Reduction in gear lever length provides a sportier shift feel, clutch pedal travel is reduced by 15 per cent with a new clutch pedal ratio. An over-centre assist spring reduces clutch effort and provides sportier feel.

    V8 Engine

    Refinements for VE include:
    • Increased power and torque.
    • Single-piece engine cover with acoustic insulation.
    • Larger capacity oil pan - increases service interval from 10,000km to 15,000km.
    • Performance-oriented calibration and a high-flow exhaust for improved launch feel.
    • Design changes to exhaust manifolds support Euro 3 emission requirements.

    V8 teamed with six-speed manual transmission. Optional six-speed automatic transmission with Active Select

    Calibration changes to V8 pedal map have resulted in a smoother ramp-in of torque during acceleration, meaning more progressive power delivery and improved driveability.

    V8 Transmissions

    Six-speed 6L80E automatic with Active Select

    Optional on SS and SS V - delivers world-class shift quality. A wide 6:1 gear ratio spread allows a steep first gear for launch acceleration and a very tall overdrive top gear for low rpm highway cruising. Fifth gear is also an overdrive gear. It has a rigid aluminium case for low noise transfer to the vehicle and high torque capacity. Features clutch-to-clutch shifting. For most gear changes, the clutch is engaged in one gear at exactly the time it is released in another, optimising performance. Second gear has a free-wheeling action; second gear clutch engages while the first gear clutch spins freely, allowing greater smoothness at lower speeds. Features performance mode liftfoot and powertrain braking.

    Six-speed Tremec T-56 manual

    Improvements over VZ include shorter gear ratios for improved launch feel, better acceleration and improved overtaking performance in fifth gear. There is increased synchroniser capacity in all gears and linear bearings replace bushes on shift rods inside the transmissions.

    Shift efforts are reduced (around 30 per cent less effort) and shifts are faster. A fully isolated remote shifter (VZ semi-direct) reduces noise into the cabin and allows less vibration through the gear knob. Shorter shift travel at the gear knob enhances ergonomics and provides a sporty shift feel. Clutch pedal travel is reduced, pedal peak effort is reduced by 20 per cent.

    ‘Power’ button

    Models equipped with 5-speed and 6-speed auto transmissions with Active Select no longer have a console ‘Power’ button to change the transmission shift map to a sportier mode. This is now achieved by moving the Auto lever sideways across into the ‘Tap’ gate.

    If the lever is then moved forward or back it will activate the tap up/tap down functionality. If the lever is simply moved across into the tap gate and left untouched, it will still shift automatically but will be in Sports mode. In addition, to alert the driver that Sports mode has been selected, the transmission will downshift one gear in anticipation of the driver requesting a more responsive reaction.

    Omega utes with four-speed automatic transmission retain the ‘Power’ button on the console.

    Driveline and differential

    The straight propshaft geometry reduces driveline angles, providing improvements in noise and vibration. Lighter ZF double-isolated differential provides increased torque capacity and improved efficiency. A premium transmission fluid improves oil stability and durability, leading to better shift consistency.

    HVAC System

    All new VE HVAC system is the product of a six year development program. Total dedicated test kilometres: 220,000. (VE/WM/Ute combined). The new HVAC module is smaller and lighter than the VZ unit. Compact design allowed more efficient packaging.

    System meets stringent global performance targets - operates from minus 20°C to 50°C ambient temperature and higher. Fully electric operation (vacuum-controlled in VZ). Delivers quieter mode changes and increased reliability. Controls integrated in radio head unit. Electronic climate control display (SS V) part of integrated multi-function display. Linear controls - a selection of 20 fan speeds ─ infinite speeds when in Auto mode. Electronic variable displacement, clutchless air-conditioning compressor enables real world fuel consumption savings and provides optimum refrigerant flow for any conditions.

    Features include:
    • Seamless operation. Infinitely variable displacement, ramps up or down as required; can ramp almost immediately from zero to full displacement in high cooling demand situations.
    • Refrigerant charge reduced by 27% – should reduce recharge service costs and environmentally beneficial.
    • Slimline washers and mini-block fittings improve durability, reducing chance of refrigerant leakage.
    • Straight airflow path from evaporator reduces noise, increases airflow and provides dual zone performance improvements.

    More even distribution of airflow through the new ducting layout optimised by virtual analysis using computational fluid dynamics. Nine ducts in the Omega Ute compared with five in the base VZ.

    Side window demist has individual ducts - improved window clearing. Heating and demisting performance in cold conditions improved; airflow to defrost/demist mode increased 38%. Heating warm-up rate is improved. While in foot mode, demist operation improved with ‘bleed’ of some air directed to outer dash vents, windscreen and side windows.

    Powertrain Cooling

    New Condenser Radiator Fan Module - mounting system improves isolation from body structure. Power steering cooler integrated into the condenser - 20% reduction in fluid temperatures during power steering abuse testing. Downflow radiator design allows better core face exposure to the airstream. Twin puller fans improve coverage of the radiator core (70% versus VZ 55%) - increases cooling efficiency and improves high speed performance. Three fan speeds on Alloytec V6 models (two in VZ). V8-powered models retain two fan speeds.


    GM Local Area Network (GMLAN)

    This GM global system underpins all VE electrical functions and acts as the communication link between all electrical modules.

    Due to body style, routing of VE Ute wiring is significantly different from VE sedan from the front windscreen rearwards. Improvements to wiring harness designs have helped to increase production efficiency – VE Ute is faster to build than VZ. VE has up to 21 electrical modules (base VZ Ute nine) depending on specification. Omega has 18, compared with VZ base model’s nine. Communication speed - increased from VZ (8 kilobits per second to 33 kilobits per second on VE) – resulting in a faster and more reliable flow of information.

    GMLAN benefits include:
    • Improvements in speed, quality of communication, reliability of electrical components and feature functionality.
    • Reduced wiring. Communication to the instrument cluster is fed by one wire, compared with 17 in VZ.

    More efficient servicing through more rapid problem diagnosis. Improved electrical architecture allows simple dealer fit of items such as telematics and navigation.


    Primary driver interface is the steering wheel controls and cluster; secondary interface is the centre console. Larger dials, displays and fonts. Different cluster illuminations depending on model. Night mode dash illumination – minimal functions, such as speedo, remain lit. Full illumination turns back on automatically if a warning occurs. Sixteen personalisation options and functions are accessible whenever the vehicle is stationary. Includes driver’s door only unlock/both doors unlock; select horn chirp when locking; setting pre-determined time for exterior lighting to remain on after exiting vehicle, etc.


    All Blaupunkt audio units have phone input, auxiliary audio jack, a help button built into text screens, integrated HVAC controls, hazard switch and dynamic distortion limiting. All models telematics capable. Diversity system provides improved FM reception in multi-pathing conditions. A centre rear roof-mounted diversity antenna replaces the previous power mast. It reduces wind noise and is less prone to accidental breakage. Positioning away from the engine further contributes to outstanding AM/FM reception.

    Navigation – optional integrated turn-by-turn or full map (SS V) navigation.

    Help function - built into text screens explains features at the touch of a button.

    Bluetooth phone interface is operated via a single steering wheel switch, interacts with the audio system for mute, volume and tone control. Microphone housed in overhead console.

    Lane change indicator function – a touch of the stalk produces three flashes.

    Fuel gauge accuracy is improved through extensive testing and development and the combination of a new saddle fuel tank design, two fuel sensor devices and totally new software.

    Remote key

    VE Ute has a fixed shaft or a flip key, depending on model. All have replaceable batteries and battery life is expected to be around five years.

    A panic button on the back of both keys allows drivers to activate the horn and flash indicators if required. Many people will use this feature simply to locate their parked vehicle. A transponder embedded into the key head acts as an immobiliser, significantly improving immobiliser reliability.


    VE Ute benefited from the most extensive validation activity Holden has ever carried out. A specialist stand-alone validation unit formed specifically for VE programs facilitated a considerable increase in validation activities and sharpened the focus on vehicle testing.

    Tests included the full gamut of durability schedules, including general, rough track structural, corrosion testing, long-term reliability and trailer tow.

  2. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderador® Super Moderator

    Jul 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Wulingyuan, Hunan, China
    Bob Lutz Says Odds Are A Ute is Coming for GM's American Buyers


    By: Mike Levine Posted: 09-19-07 00:17 PT
    © 2007

    One of these statements isn’t true.

    We were smoking La Gloria Cubanas this evening with Bob Lutz. Or, it’s likely we’ll see an American version of the new Holden VE Ute this January in Detroit at the 2008 North American International Auto Show.

    Of course we weren’t smoking Cubanas with Bob. This is California, jeez! There ain’t no lighting up anywhere, even if you’re ‘Maximum’ Bob.

    But if you’re reading this you’re probably interested in smoke of a different type – like the kind accompanying the sound of squealing tires from a rear wheel drive Aussie V8 ute hooning on tarmac north of the equator.

    To this General Motors Vice Chairman of Product Development tells, “Odds are it will happen.”

    But wait, there’s more.

    We asked Mr. Lutz to elaborate on his recent e-mail exchange with GM Inside News member MonaroSS, recounted in a discussion thread on GMI. MonaroSS wrote to Mr. Lutz, "Hope the new Ute gets a more Chevy [El Camino] look if it goes Stateside, to which Mr. Lutz wrote back, "Well, that's what we want to do, but it won't be a Chevrolet!"

    Mr. Lutz now says, “We’d love to do it. The biggest challenge is exchange rates [between the U.S. and Australian dollars] but I think it would do sensational over here. Over in Australia it’s the working man’s Porsche but it’s perfect for pickup owners with light loads and it gets close to 30-mpg with a V6.”

    But it still won’t be an El Camino.

    “The Chevy product portfolio is too full to add this to it,” says Mr. Lutz. “We’d do it as either a Pontiac or GMC.”

    So which brand has the inside track? You might think Pontiac (and so did I) but Bob says not so fast.

    “A GMC version would be nice. They [GMC] have the heritage and we’d do it with a GMC front-end. It’d be good stuff for GMC,” says Mr. Lutz.

    GMC produced El Camino-based Sprints from 1971 to 1977 and the more famous Caballero car-based pickup from 1978 until 1987.

    And for the record, Mr. Lutz is in favor of resurrecting the Caballero nombre if GM decides to bring over the Holden as a GMC saying, “Why not call it a Caballero?"

    But the question for GM is where does it make the most sense?

    Making the Holden a GMC would add extra engineering and marketing costs versus going the relatively easier Pontiac-badged route. Pontiac’s all-new 2008 G8 sedan is based on the Holden Commodore, which is the same Zeta RWD platform as the VE Ute. So think identical front sheetmetal and probably some type of branding under the G8 umbrella.

    There’s been much discussion online of late amongst '–amino' enthusiasts about the volumes needed to justify bringing over the VE.

    Mr. Lutz wouldn’t comment on specific unit targets but he did say, “We’d be doing this as a niche vehicle in small volumes. We really don’t have the line capacity to do it otherwise because [a GMC or Pontiac Ute] would be coming off the same line producing Holdens and G8s for Australia, Asia, and U.S. markets and the capacity is only around 300,000 units.”

    We’ll know by January whether this is going to happen or not.

    “Come to the Detroit Show and find out,” says Mr. Lutz.

  3. Fareo

    Fareo New Member

    Dec 13, 2004
    Likes Received:
    new UTE thread with a shit ton to read! :bowdown:

    thanx tri :x:
  4. I really like GM, and wish them all the best, but that thing is ugly as sin. If people want pickup trucks they should buy pickup trucks.
  5. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderador® Super Moderator

    Jul 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Wulingyuan, Hunan, China
    It's a car, not a truck. A car I can fit shit in the back of without having to own a godawful American truck. :bowdown:
  6. SilverTurtle

    SilverTurtle New Member

    Sep 27, 2007
    Likes Received:
    ATX/hill country
    there's been alot of talk about this car lately... and when we were in Detroit for the Camaro 40th and '57 Chevy 50th Anniversaries, I got to talk to a couple of GM folks about it... seems like the GMC brand will get the nod, but I still can't figure out how they're gonna sell that if they couldn't sell the SS/R.
  7. But really, how often do you need to move lot of shit? Probably not very often, but you're stuck with that thing all the time.
    EDIT: The whole idea of a car/truck kind of reminds me of El Caminos that look like
    and are driven by people like:
    Now, I know the stigma may be unfair and undeserved, but it is there.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2007
  8. Fareo

    Fareo New Member

    Dec 13, 2004
    Likes Received:
    no more then i do for a mid sized truck, i seem to put my bed to good use more then i thought which is why i still have one. but i dont need a 3500 long bed 4x4, i dont have a ranch, i just like having the extra space. the UTE offers the samething but with sports car feel. win + win = win

    so your saying...

    this guy .. looks like he drives something


    like this??


    ooooooh kaaayy... sure ... :ugh2:

    do you think all black people eat watermelon and fired chicken as well? :hsugh:
  9. Fareo

    Fareo New Member

    Dec 13, 2004
    Likes Received:
  10. There are certain social stigmas associated with that type of vehicle. I didn't invent them, but they're there. I have no idea where you are trying to go with the watermelon comment, but race baiting has nothing to do with this discussion.
  11. Fareo

    Fareo New Member

    Dec 13, 2004
    Likes Received:
    :ugh: you can call it whatever you want, stigmas, race baiting, it still the same thing.

    your saying that because some of 1 thing does "this" all the other ones are gonna get judged on that.

    some trailer trash drive el caminos so all el caminos are associated with white trash

    some mexicans eat rice and beans so all mexicans are assoicated with rice and beans

    some middle eastern people are terrorists so all middle eastern people are assoicated with terrorist

    sure these exsist, but that doesnt mean you have to embrace them? this could be why Chevy isnt an option for a home for the UTE? and if most people who drive el caminos are trailer trash, how many trailer trash folks do you know are gonna run out and buy one of these for $30,000...


  12. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderador® Super Moderator

    Jul 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Wulingyuan, Hunan, China
    Pretty often, and I don't like having to depend on borrowing my friend's truck. I also like the fact that it is a car so I can humiliate ricers, dart through traffic, take it to the drag strip and tackle the mountain twisties. There isn't anything else like it on the road. :bowdown:
  13. Mr. Jack

    Mr. Jack Go Fast - Turn Left

    Jun 15, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Washington State
    WTT: Testicles or Kidneys for Holden UTE equipped with 6speed manual, and 6.0


    I <3 trishield(for sharing wealth of holden information)
  14. Yop

    Yop New Member

    May 26, 2006
    Likes Received:
    So it looks like these would be released as '09s then if it happens?
  15. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderador® Super Moderator

    Jul 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Wulingyuan, Hunan, China
    I guess, all the work done for the G8 should apply to the Ute since they're the same thing. We'll know for sure this winter.
  16. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderador® Super Moderator

    Jul 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Wulingyuan, Hunan, China

    Photos and Words By: James Stanford Posted: 09-25-07 00:00 PT
    © 2007

    We're mighty pleased that James Stanford agreed to drive the 2007 Holden VE SS Ute on our behalf. James has written for Australia's Herald Sun newspaper and currently scribes for GoAuto.

    For full Aussie ute effect, we're leaving James' words for this story undiluted and as strong as the sting of an Irukandji jelly.

    To help you gringos out translating: tyres = tires, bonnet = hood, sheila = girlfriend, tub = bed, beer = beer.

    OK, you're on your own now, mates. Enjoy!

    You better start stockpiling tyres now. If the Holden VE Ute makes it to the US in the near future – and I’ll bet a slab of cold ones it does – you guys are going to need plenty of the black stuff.

    With a 362-horsepower V8 shoved under the bonnet of this weapon, the VE Ute makes a mockery of No Smoking laws by torching the rear tyres on demand.

    Holden has just launched the all-new model in Australia, where powerful utes are often regarded as affordable two-door sportscars as well as workhorses. There's no negative trailer-park stigma with car-body utes Down Under - the machines are so sought after that they have a better resale values than their sedan siblings.

    Based on the VE sedan, which is headed to the States with a Pontiac front end and a Pontiac G8 badge, this Holden is a low riding car-based ute available with V6 and V8 engines.

    Aussies have a long history of these street friendly cargo carriers, with the first real ute created when a farmer requested a car he could use to carry all his produce and take the family into town. The resulting 1934 Ford V8 ute started an Aussie fascination with the mild load haulers that has grown stronger as more horses have been crammed under the bonnet.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    It’s easy to see why Aussies love their utes.

    Firstly, they are pure two-seaters.That means there’s room for your sheila, but not her mother. She has to either ride in the rear tub, where you can’t hear her, or stay at home.

    Just as convincing is how much bang you get for your bucks. A ute is usually about $5,000 Aussie dollars ($4,330 USD) cheaper than the equivalent four-door sedan. To translate, that adds up to 3,703 cans of beer or about a dozen rear tyres.

    Competition has spurred on the development car-based utes in Australia, with Ford developing utes based on its rear-drive Falcon sedan. The Blue Oval performance utes comes with a 349-hp 5.4-litre V8 and a wickedly smooth turbo 4.0-litre six that pumps out 329-hp.

    Holden was always going to hit back and turned its attention to the Ute after launching the all-new VE sedan last August. It dropped its hard-working flat tray One Tonner and the stretched crew cab Ute models and concentrated on the two-seater.

    The development bill for the Ute came in at a relatively cheap $105.1 million Aussie (USD $91 million), but all the hard work had been done of the VE sedan, which cost $1 billion Aussie (US $953,000).

    The front of the Ute, from the B-pillar onwards is essentially the same as the VE sedan. That means it carries over all the improvements, including moving the steering rack forward of the front axle, as well as improved engine noise and vibration damping.

    Much of the Ute looks like a VE sedan, but the primary underbody structure is actually borrowed from Holden’s WM Statesman/Caprice luxury sedans with a relatively long wheelbase of 118-inches (3,009-mm) which allows for extra room in the tray. That’s right, a Ute using the same base as the most expensive models in the Holden range.

    We should make it clear right from the word go that the Holden Ute was never meant to cart big and heavy loads. The Ford ute rivals do that better. Holden said 75-percent of the Utes it sells are sporty models. The VE Ute is not a traditional pickup truck, it has minimal ground clearance of just 3.9-inches (10-cm) and there is not a leaf-spring to be found. The rear suspension of VE Ute is more sophisticated than what you’d find at the back of the Ford Mustang.

    Stick your bonce underneath the Ute and you’ll discover the same four-link independent suspension as the VE sedan with coil-over shock absorbers. This makes for car-like handling, but along with the low profile rubber, means the SS Ute is only capable of carrying a relatively low total of 1,360-pounds (617-kg). Go for the optional 19-inch rims and the load capacity drops to just 1,164-pounds (528kg).

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The towing limit for all VE Utes is 3,527-pounds (1,600kg). The VE Ute is only available with a metal tub and there is no option of a flat steel or aluminium tray. Holden has fitted the Ute with a one-piece body side and uses high tensile steel for 77-percent of the body struck to make it as stiff as possible.

    Holden designers wanted to make sure the Ute would stand out in the street. It came up with something that looks like an El Camino that has been chewing on steroids for the last 20 years.

    The muscular SS, with its sleek roofline and bulging wheel arches causes blokes to stare like they are watching a Bondi bikini contest. That’s certainly what happened when the testosterone fuelled Utes rolled though Tumbarumba, Jingellic and Khancoban at the Australian launch last week.

    Mind you, any new cars tend to cause a fuss in these small country towns of New South Wales.

    The SS draws the biggest crowd.

    Holden crammed the L98 6.0-litre Gen IV V8 under the bonnet, which pumps out 362hp and 391 ft-lb. That’s enough to sling the 3,895 pound (1,767kg) Holden Ute from zero to 100-km/h (62-mph) in just 5.5 seconds. The acceleration in itself is impressive, but the guttural roar being belted out the quad pipes in the rear bumper makes it even more enjoyable.

    There was a time when the Holden V8s were so muffled that you couldn’t tell what was under the bonnet. Those days are gone and the new V8 trumpets to all around that this is a vehicle that must be taken seriously.

    The standard transmission is the Tremec T56 six-speed manual which has been improved with a nice light clutch or a GM-sourced six-speed automatic. Both do the job well enough, but the stick shift is the most fun.

    Despite their power levels, Australian utes haven’t had the benefit of traction or electronic stability control until now. The VE has both, which is a nice safety net to have. Thankfully, anyone after a bit of fun can just flick the switch and the traction aids turn off. The prospect of a Ute that couldn’t perform circle work (donuts) would have been too much for the Ute fraternity.

    With or without stability control engaged, it's clear the VE Ute is a handling star. Just like the VE sedan, the Ute feels like its body was carved from granite.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The SS Ute simply drives like a refined muscle car. Its firm suspension tune, which can be a bit jolting on rough roads, means there is almost no body roll in the turns and the car sits flat under hard braking and heavy acceleration.

    The meaty steering is direct and gives you all the feedback you need. You can place this baby wherever you want in a turn.

    Even on slippery gravel tracks of country in New South Wales, the SS is remarkably well behaved. With the stability control turned off, you can come hooking into a turn, get on the gas just before the midpoint and powerslide your way out of the turn like a rally ace.

    You have to treat it with respect, but the VE Ute is very predictable. It has an impressive amount of grip on the tarmac. With fresh rubber on the rear, you can accelerate very fast without breaking traction.

    On the other had, if you are in the mood for a Bridgestone barbeque, just press a little harder with your right foot.

    Even when you aren’t smoking them up, the SS Ute can get you into a lot of trouble. Most highways in Australia have a speed limit of 100-km/h, and the VE Ute goes past that in second gear. The super tall gearing also means the VE Ute lumbers along at highway speeds doing about 1,200rpm, which is perfect for covering endless outback miles.

    The SS costs $39,990 Aussie (US $34,650) and comes standard cruise control, cloth sports seats, six-stack CD, Bluetooth phone preparation, leather steering wheel and sits on 18-inch alloy wheels.

    A more luxurious SSV is available for an extra $5,000 Aussie (US $4,330), adding leather seats, dual zone climate control, projector headlight lamps, alloy-faced pedals, colour-coded instruments, a 6.5-inch colour information screen, sports steering wheel chunky 19-inch rims.

    Both models benefit from an improved interior which features 245-litres of space behind the seats as compared to 90-litres of the previous model.

    It should be mentioned the SS Ute comes with a plastic tub liner a soft tonneau cover and six tie-down points.

    Before you take this beast out for a run, take my advice – tie everything down really hard.

  17. Mitchj

    Mitchj OT Supporter

    May 2, 2005
    Likes Received:
  18. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

    Oct 23, 2005
    Likes Received:
    won't open
  19. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderador® Super Moderator

    Jul 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Wulingyuan, Hunan, China
    Works fine. It is the 21st century sports car. :bowdown:
  20. Fareo

    Fareo New Member

    Dec 13, 2004
    Likes Received:
    it hauls bricks and hauls ass! :x:
  21. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderador® Super Moderator

    Jul 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Wulingyuan, Hunan, China
    Holden's VE Ute export deal could be close as GM ramps up Aussie production

    US trader: What a Pontiac-badged VE Ute may look like. Digital image: Chris Harris.

    5 September 2007

    HOLDEN has factored a major new export program – believed to be the new VE Ute – into its production plans at its manufacturing plant at Elizabeth in South Australia.

    General Motors Asia Pacific president Nick Reilly yesterday confirmed that the Australian production plan included export models that had not yet been announced, before referring to multiple US export models.

    At this stage, Holden has only announced it will export the VE Commodore to the US to be sold as the Pontiac G8.

    The just-released VE Ute is expected to follow and left-hand-drive versions are currently being tested in the US.

    In Australia for the APEC conference this week, Mr Reilly said Holden planned to increase annual production at Elizabeth to 147,000 from next month, which would take the plant to full capacity.

    When asked by GoAuto if that number would come to include Ute exports to the US, Mr Reilly replied: “Part of the reason we are getting to max capacity is the increased US volume.”

    Mr Reilly said that would not necessarily mean going to a third shift at its South Australian operation.

    “With our projections on the various vehicles we may or may not sell in the US, we think we can produce that at Elizabeth with two shifts, with a bit of overtime right now,” he said.

    “If they start to sell much better than we anticipated, then we would have to look at doing something else and clearly a third shift would be a possibility, but the products going into that market, the range of sale is quite big.”

    The reference to more than one US model and the fact another model has been factored in to the Australian production plan gives hope that a VE Ute plan has been approved. However, Mr Reilly was not about to confirm that yesterday.

    “We haven’t necessarily announced all the programs we have planned at the moment,” he said.

    The latest information on the US Ute plan comes after General Motors’ global product chief Bob Lutz last week confirmed the VE Ute was under consideration.

    Left: Pontiac G8.

    According to, in response to a member’s emailed suggestion that the Ute should adopt more of a Chevrolet look if it is sold in the US, Mr Lutz said: “Well, that’s what we want to do, but it won’t be a Chevrolet.”

    That still leaves the possibility of the Ute being sold as a Pontiac, with the same front-end styling as the G8 sedan. Alternatively, it could be sold as a GMC – a spiritual successor to the Sprint, which was a rebadged version of the old Chevy El Camino.

    While not confirming the Ute export program, Mr Reilly did say GM believed the VE Ute would not be hit with the 25 per cent import duty that applies to pick-up trucks in the US.

    Mr Reilly was upbeat about the future of Holden, and especially its renewed focus on exports, stating the company was bouncing back after a significant realignment of its business model as domestic sales of large cars slid. This included investment in its South Australian plant and 600 job cuts this March, all aimed at improving its production efficiency.

    He said Holden also had to rely more on imported models and increase its own exports to counter reduced domestic sales.

    “Its old model of business was to produce the majority of what it sold, particularly in the large-car segment where it has held a leadership position … but that segment is now much smaller than it was and consequently Holden had to restructure and has had to remodel its business,” he said.

    “The model now has changed into one where 50 per cent of Holden production will be exported, but a significant amount of our sales in Australia will be imported. So we have got a different model mix and we have had to make some changes in order to make ourselves profitable.”

    Mr Reilly said he expected Elizabeth and Holden’s Port Melbourne engine plant to run at full capacity for several years.

    “I’m glad to say that after a couple of quite difficult years of restructuring, the outlook is very good, it is very much brighter than it has been for the last couple of years,” he said. “After what was quite a difficult time for everybody in Holden to go through that restructuring, to look at how we compete in a new world, I am happy to report that we are much better placed now financially as well as production-wise and sales-wise.”

    Mr Reilly said the Elizabeth plant was now in the top 10 to 15 per cent of GM factories globally (discounting wages), whereas it had been below average before the latest restructure.

    Despite this, Mr Reilly said the strength of the Australian dollar and the impact it was having on export revenue meant Holden must continue to cut costs.

    “We are not expecting that the Australian dollar is going to weaken much from the position it has got to. We have to keep the pressure on our productivity gains in manufacturing in order to sell into export markets. They have done a great job, but the job is not finished yet,” he said.

    He said Holden would now concentrate on regaining some domestic sales and called on Australian dealers to adapt to the new range of imported models.

    “We have lost a bit of market share because of this segment shift, which we want to get back and clearly we have to get used to selling a somewhat different mix to what we have done in the past,” he said.

    Mr Reilly said GM Daewoo-sourced Holdens had done well in Australia, but said there was still room for improvement, especially when it came to the Viva small car.

    “That model is due for replacement in the not-too-distant future … I think that will perform better in that segment,” he said.

    Mr Reilly confirmed the next-generation Viva would be built on a platform developed by GM Daewoo, which will also be used for the Opel and Vauxhall Astra. The GM Daewoo model, which will be sold as both a Chevrolet and Holden, will have a different exterior shape and different specifications to its Opel and Vauxhall counterparts.

    Mr Reilly also said the GM Daewoo team had global responsibility for the next-generation light-car platform that would be used for models across the same brands.


  22. Jake!

    Jake! Guest

    Currency cripples US Ute

    Global utility: A strong Aussie dollar has hurt the VE Ute's US export propects.

    Exchange rates slow plan for Ute to follow VE-based Pontiac sedan as second US export

    By JAMES STANFORD 16 October 2007

    THE soaring Australian dollar could cripple Holden’s plans to export the VE Ute to the United States.

    It has been widely anticipated that the new Ute would be sold in the US as Pontiac or GMC, but GM product chief Bob Lutz has told GoAuto the strength of the Australian dollar could see that plan shelved.

    When Mr Lutz visited Holden in Melbourne last week, the Australian dollar had pushed past the US90-cent mark.

    GoAuto asked Mr Lutz if that would be an issue when it came to deciding whether the VE Ute would be sold in the US.

    “That is why we are not announcing any plans for the Ute at this point because we have to wait and see how the Australian dollar develops against the US dollar, because at some point it stops making sense,” he said.

    “We would either lose money on the importation or sale, which we are clearly not going to do, or we would have to raise the price to the point where it no longer represents solid value.”

    GM Holden managing director Chris Gubbey said the value of the dollar would be part of decision-making process regarding whether the Ute goes to the US, but remained hopeful. “We have got Utes over there under evaluation so we still have hopes that that is something we could look forward to,” he said.

    Mr Lutz said if Holden imported more vehicles from the US, the currency issue would not be as pressing. “The problem is that we really don’t have enough of a product flow from the US to Australia at this point,” he said.

    “If you have a two-way flow you can tell yourself, ‘I don’t care what the exchange rates do, what I lose on one I gain on the other’, but we aren’t at this point yet.”

    Mr Lutz did not mention Cadillac cars being launched in Australia, but it clear any such move would help the Australia-US balance of trade.

    Mr Gubbey told GoAuto that Cadillac was still under “serious review,” but would not confirm the American brand would come here or when it might do so.

    As GoAuto reported last week, Mr Lutz also confirmed that a Torana-sized compact RWD vehicle based on GM’s new Alpha platform was in development and would be an obvious model for Australia. While the currency concerns could affect the plan to sell the Ute in the US, Mr Lutz said the Commodore sedan-based G8 was still on track to be launched in the US early next year.

    He added that GM would not change the prices it had just announced to cover for the rise of the US currency. “We reviewed the situation and at this point, the announced export program, which is the Pontiac G8 saloon is still looking okay, it is not looking as good as it did a few months ago, but it is still well worth doing,” Mr Lutz said.

    “What we don’t want to do is make the mistake that we made last time with the GTO, which was also a time in which the Aussie dollar strengthened as opposed to our original estimates. What we did then was keep the margin and passed it on in the price. So we got up into never-never land for a Pontiac and destroyed the momentum of the car,” he said.

    According to Mr Lutz, the G8 pricing – which starts from $US27,595 ($A30,450) for the base V6 model – is very competitive. “We are going to sell at a price that the average person interested in the car would perceive as fantastic value,” he said.

    As for the Ute, Mr Lutz would not say when GM would decide if the Ute would be sold to the US. “(There is) no firm timing on a decision and it is certainly way too early to announce that it is a firm program,” Mr Lutz said.

    “We just have to look at all aspects of it. How it would fit into the US model program. It is a great vehicle, I drove it today, it looks sensational, I think Americans would absolutely love it. I personally think it would be a smash hit, but we will see.”

    Mr Lutz said the rising Australian dollar could certainly prove problematic for local companies who export products. “Listen, any country that has a combination of relatively high wages and benefits, plus a very strong currency is going to find exports very difficult. That is a bad combination to have,” he said.

    “Obviously, if I was the government, I would worry about where the Australian dollar was going because a high currency does impact on your exports.” It is not all doom and gloom according to Mr Lutz, who said the exchange rate pain would probably ease.

    “These things tend to correct themselves,” he said. “If a country gets itself non-competitive from an exchange rate perspective, it results in a reduction in exports and sales and then imports rise and the currency falls to adjust.” Mr Lutz pointed to the US experience as an example.

    “We used to have a very strong dollar, there was zero export potential out of the US, we imported everything, and now we have got a low dollar and we are restructuring all of our industries to a somewhat lower wage and benefits rate and so I think the US is highly competitive,” he said.

    “It goes in cycles, you know, nothing is forever, so in the long term I wouldn’t get too depressed about it.”

    Mr Gubbey said the rising Australian dollar did hurt its export income, but added that Holden was not alone in this regard. “It makes it tough for all manufacturing in Australia, it is not just an automotive issue,” he said. “It makes being lean and efficient much more important, not just for us, but also our supply base.”

    Mr Gubbey said exports might be more difficult with such a strong dollar, but the company was not about to walk away from them.”

    “You can’t produce a world-class car and put that amount of money in it and just build it for the Australian market. You need to get that balance of being global,” he said.
  23. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderador® Super Moderator

    Jul 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Wulingyuan, Hunan, China
    Though it seems one export door has closed for the Ute, opportunity is still knocking

    Words - Joe Kenwright

    One door may have just closed for Holden and its benchmark new VE Ute range, but two doors are still open for a US export ute at Pontiac and GMC.

    Senior Holden sources confirmed Holden has been told that the mainland US Chevrolet range is full and there wasn't a natural gap for the VE Ute. In some ways this has been a relief as local production capacity arguably would not have supported a high-volume Chevrolet-badged US version of the VE Ute.

    Recent upward movements in the Australian dollar have also made it difficult to achieve a US retail figure that would support Chevrolet's mass-market positioning based on sharp pricing.

    The Pontiac and GMC scenarios are totally different, however. There is one school of thought that a Pontiac-badged VE Ute would be a natural addition to the G8 range. However, Pontiac has shown even stronger interest in the Sportwagon (more here) which is a closer fit with the sporty, performance image that Pontiac is attempting to revive across its range.

    Whether Pontiac would want such a strong Holden presence in this range with three body styles could be an issue, however.

    The wildcard as always has been the GMC brand. According to Holden sources, recent research has confirmed that loyal GMC buyers see their vehicles as being a cut above any Chevrolet, as their vehicles carry the identification of the "corporation".

    This positioning would appear to be perfect for a niche GMC-badged version of the VE Ute. As long as a further restyle was implemented to project the GMC brand character and separate the product from the Pontiac G8 sedan.

    Providing a business case adds up for a GMC-badged VE Ute that is visually separated from the export Pontiac G8, there are those at Holden who are still optimistic that an export VE Ute is still in there with a good chance.
  24. numbZ

    numbZ New Member

    Oct 12, 2007
    Likes Received:
    I'll take the 6.0 w/ a M6.
  25. Mjolnir

    Mjolnir WHM6D > *

    Mar 3, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Can I get a plain jane with the 4.2 I6 and a manual?

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