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