Economy focus puts hot Holden on hold
It’s all bad news for fans of the Coupe60, writes JAMES STANFORD in New York
THE Coupe60 project has been given the thumbs down by General Motors global product development vice-president Bob Lutz.
Even before Holden has conducted its own business case on the new-age Monaro, Lutz says it is not going to happen, at least in the medium term.
‘‘The coupe has had a sensational reaction and everybody who has seen it falls in love with it,’’ Lutz said at last week’s New York Motor Show.
‘‘The problem is it’s one of those projects like the Corvette C7 that has to be put on the back burner as we wrestle with this fuel-economy equation.’’
Lutz says research and development resources would have to be directed away from sporty cars.
‘‘We are going to be inventing so many hybrid systems for so many vehicles and going to transmissions with a lot more gears than six, all in the name of meeting fuel-economy targets.
‘‘What has to be deferred is the stuff that we, as enthusiasts, would all like to do — like that Coupe,’’ he says.
Former Holden design chief Mike Simcoe, who is now the executive director of GM exterior design, says the Coupe60 was unlikely to get up.
‘‘There is no plan, but, you know, stranger things have happened,’’ Simcoe says.
Jim Bunnell, the general manager of Buick, GMC and Pontiac, says that thoughGMhad no active plan for the Coupe60, it had received a lot of feedback about the concept that was revealed in Melbourne last month.
‘‘It certainly generated a lot of interest. We had dealers call us to say, ‘That is the car, let’s do it’,’’ Bunnell says.
There had also been hope that the VE Commodore Sportwagon could follow the sedan and Ute to the US, but these hopes have also been dashed.
Senior GM vehicle-planning executives say the Pontiac line-up was already full with the G8 sedan and G8 ute and there was no room for a third Australian model.
There is also some doubt as to how well the wagon would be received in a country that still prefers traditional SUVs.
The next Australian Holden with a chance of being seen in the US in some form is the longwheel-base Statesman.
Too hot: the GM focus on fuel economy has pushed cars such as the Coupe60 out of the production frame.