World­wide sales­man

Mark Reuss’s re­turn to the US could im­prove our ex­port prospects, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

THE chief is pack­ing his bags for home and try­ing to squeeze a Com­modore in his carry-on lug­gage. Ex­it­ing GM-Holden chair­man Mark Reuss re­turns to the US in a few days, rekin­dling a glim­mer of hope for an ex­port Com­modore to North Amer­ica.

As Gen­eral Motors’ new vi­cepres­i­dent of global en­gi­neer­ing and one of New GM’s top 10 ex­ec­u­tives, the su­per sales­man will be well po­si­tioned to sell the Holden mes­sage and the lo­cally built Com­modore to the GM em­pire.

Reuss re­fuses to guar­an­tee a firm ex­port com­mit­ment to the US, but says new mar­kets for the car ‘‘will hap­pen nat­u­rally’’.

‘‘Peo­ple are go­ing to see this plat­form and this car and will see world-class ef­fi­ciency and world­class value. They’re go­ing to come to us and ask ‘How can we get your car?’ ’’ he says.

GM-Holden had pinned its hopes on a promis­ing North Amer­i­can deal for a Com­modor­e­based Pon­tiac G8.

When it was an­nounced in 2007, GM-Holden had ex­pected to sell 30,000 G8s a year to North Amer­ica. But when GM axed the Pon­tiac brand ear­lier this year, the deal fell over.

The com­pany is now re­ly­ing on its ex­ist­ing ex­ports of Chevro­let­badged Com­modores to the Mid­dle East, South Africa, Brazil, Brunei and other mar­kets.

At the in­tro­duc­tion of two new hi-tech, di­rect-in­jec­tion V6 en­gines this week, Reuss said he be­lieved there were still many more ex­port op­por­tu­ni­ties for the Com­modore.

He says GM-Holden has changed the way it does busi­ness and will seek ev­ery ex­port op­por­tu­nity where it can.

‘‘I have a philo­soph­i­cal ap­proach here that our team at Holden has ex­e­cuted over the past 18 months, and that is a dra­matic im­prove­ment in the car all the time,’’ he says.

He says the com­pany will con­tinue to im­prove the Com­modore’s ef­fi­ciency and ap­peal without wait­ing for po­ten­tial new mar­kets. ‘‘I don’t care what it is . . . aero­dy­namic im­prove- ments, a de­flec­tor, low­er­ing the car . . . what­ever it is we’re go­ing to take it and put it in the car and cre­ate our own luck,’’ he says.

‘‘So that’s the plan. It’s a big change from the way we and many other auto mak­ers have op­er­ated.’’

Fly­ing the flag: de­part­ing GM-Holden chair­man Mark Reuss will be a cheer­leader for the Com­modore.

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