For many enthusiasts, Pontiac was just beginning to get on the right track when it was axed. Previously General Motors had indicated that it would pursue a strategy of sourcing vehicles from Holden in Australia. These were big rear-wheel drive cars that fit perfectly with Pontiac’s stated mission.
The Pontiac G8 was the best example of this, and it is a car much loved by enthusiasts today. Chevrolet is going to capitalize on that goodwill with a new performance sedan dubbed the SS. Everyone is talking about it as a de facto successor to the G8. GM says it’s much more than that, but we get the point: they are bringing it over as a model aimed at enthusiasts.
Auto magazines here in the United States have wanted Holden vehicles here in the U.S for a long time. The Chevrolet Caprice PPV is an example of that, as well as speculation around a new full-size Buick. One car that has been constantly talked about is the Holden Ute. It is, in effect, a modern day El Camino. The Ute is popular in Australia as a vehicle that offers a lot of cargo capacity, with good fuel mileage.
Cars with truck beds have never caught on in the United States, the El Camino being the exception. Clearly, developing an all-new El Camino in the U.S wouldn’t make business sense, but the Ute is a ready-made example. If brought over, the Ute would be classified as a light-commercial vehicle. Australian website AdelaideNow spoke with Holden spokesman Sean Poppitt about the possibility of exporting the car.
“Any speculation on the trademarking of the El Camino name is just that – speculation. However we are keeping our options open….we haven’t made a decision on the next generation Ute to its presence in export markets outside Australia,” says. He added that “there is the free trade agreement between the US and Australia which means we are not precluded from selling Australian-made light commercial vehicles in the US market.” Holden would much welcome any added export production. Still, we aren’t convinced that a new El Camino would be anything more than a niche vehicle.