by Alexander Corne
2003 Tokyo Motor Show Index by TCC Team (10/21/2003)
2004 Holden HSV Coupe4Enlarge Photo
Holden CEO Peter Hanenberger denied the body kit would be fitted to the 2004 Pontiacs to counter the ‘jelly bean’ critiques leveled at the sleek coupe, designed to resurrect the GTO nameplate in the U.S. Hanenberger, who retires late this year, says up to 200 of the Coupe4 models will be built next year priced about US$60,000, though there are no export plans in the frame — yet. However exports of the regular Holden Monaro to the United Kingdom will start later this year, the Holden Lion replaced by the Vauxhall Griffin badge. Asked how many cars would go to the U.K., where it will be sold in a premium market segment, Mr Hanenberger said: “If we do above 1000 it would be a dream (come true). We don’t need big volumes as a global niche manufacturer to be profitable and successful.”
2004 Holden HSV AvalancheEnlarge Photo
The HSV Avalanche will be specified to match luxury European off-roaders with high intensity discharge lamps, tire-pressure monitoring systems and on-board DVD entertainment systems, as well as leather sports seats.
Holden hopes for bilateral bliss
General Motors’ Australian brand Holden eagerly anticipated U.S. President George W. Bush’s visit Down Under country this past week when, it was hoped, the presidential push for a bilateral trade agreement will speed up the so-far long drawn-out process.
Holden is poised to ship its first batch of Pontiac GTO-badged LS1-powered Coupes to the U.S., but has several more models in the pipeline. Next up would be the replacement for the Chevrolet El Camino, based on Holden’s in-house V-8-powered Utility. Holden CEO Peter Hanenberger says it would be next to go should the U.S. “Chicken Tax,” which loads a 25-percent duty on imported utes, be waived under a new BTA. A BTA with Thailand is also in the mix, a new market Holden has just declared for its rear-wheel drive Commodore V-6 and V-8 sedans, which currently face an 80 percent import duty. Conversely, utilities made by GM in Thailand attract a five percent tariff slug entering Australia.
Mr. Hanenberger would not be drawn on the future prospects of next generation VE Commodore sedans or derivatives providing the underpinnings for future GM North America products, or for European markets for that matter, but the new vehicles, due late in 2005 in Australia will supply their chassis componentry to a range of GM’s larger vehicles towards the end of the decade.
Meanwhile, Holden’s all-new engine factory in Melbourne is set to start production of the High Feature V-6 engine family on October 29. First recipients of the engines will be Buick Rendezvous SUVs, with Saab, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, and other GM brands queuing up for the engines. Holden won’t get to use the HFV6 derivatives until this time next year for the final iteration of the VT Commodore series, dubbed VZ. The HF V-6 will be fitted to all Holden products from early 2005.