CA­MARO re­places iconic Monaro

Aus­tralia is def­i­nitely get­ting the Chevro­let Ca­maro coupe to re­place the Holden Monaro, re­ports PAUL GOVER.

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

BUT the good news from the US on the coupe is bal­anced by the tim­ing, which has slipped a year to 2012.

The right-hand-drive Ca­maro is al­ready well un­der de­vel­op­ment by the en­gi­neer­ing team at GM Holden, which has done all the main work on con­vert­ing it from a mo­tor-show dream to an Amer­i­can re­al­ity, but pro­duc­tion tim­ing has slipped along with the Ca­maro con­vert­ible.

Both cars are two years be­hind their orig­i­nal sched­ule, ac­cord­ing to Gen­eral Motors’ prod­uct chief Bob Lutz.

``I’m con­fi­dent it’s go­ing to hap­pen. It’s just go­ing to be a lit­tle bit later,’’ he said.

His words on the car con­tra­dict, and over­rule, the of­fi­cial sit­u­a­tion at GM Holden.

``We haven’t con­firmed the Ca­maro at all,’’ GM Holden pres­i­dent Mark Reuss said.

But even he knows the car is com­ing, as well as the de­lays that have forced a re­think on the tim­ing of the Ca­maro pro­gram be­yond the Amer­i­can coupe, which will hit the road to­wards the end of the year as a 2010 model.

Mr Lutz said the change had been forced by the fi­nan­cial trou­bles at GM Holden, which have re­sulted in pro­gram de­lays or can­cel­la­tions.

GM is not even con­fi­dent it has enough cash to turn the sec­ond of its ex­tended-range con­cept cars, the Cadil­lac Con­verj set for 2010, from a star at this year’s Detroit Show into a pro­duc­tion model.

``Some pro­grams, we’ve ac­cel­er­ated, es­pe­cially for the US mar­ket,’’ Mr Lutz said.

``Other stuff we can’t re­ally ac­cel­er­ate be­cause that means more money. In fact, in some cases we’ve done the op­po­site to man­age cash flow.’’

He said the Ca­maro pro­gram had been hit by the de­ci­sions.

``We looked at in­vest­ments that we could de­fer be­cause they were not crit­i­cal or vi­tal to the short-term sur­vival of the com­pany. To be to­tally hon­est, one of the things we pushed out a lit­tle bit was the Ca­maro con­vert­ible,’’ Mr Lutz said.

``Ini­tially, it was go­ing to be a year af­ter the coupe, now that’s two years. An­other thing we de­ferred was the right-hand drive ver­sion.’’

Mr Lutz is still com­mit­ted to the car, just as he is a huge fan of the VE Com­modore and Pon­tiac G8 cloned from the Aussie fam­ily favourite, but said it would take time to get the Ca­maro to Aus­tralia.

At the same time, he sees huge po­ten­tial de­mand for the Chevro­let Corvette ZR1. Pri­vate im­porters are bring­ing the car to Aus­tralia in sur­pris­ing num­bers for lo­cal con­ver­sions and sales.

``You’d be amazed. ZR1s are head­ing for Aus­tralia like there is no to­mor­row,’’ he said.

Mr Lutz rules out any of­fi­cial im­port pro­gram, but said the Aus­tralian de­mand for the ZR1 was proof his com­pany was do­ing a good job and had the mod­els to sur­vive and pros­per be­yond to­day’s cash cri­sis.

Two years away: The Chevro­let Ca­maro coupe will be ex­ported to Aus­tralia to re­place the beloved Holden Monaro two-door.

Fi­nal coupe: The last Holden Monaro built in 2006 was later sold on eBay to a Cen­tral Queens­land busi­ness­man for $187,600.

Con­cept 60: GM-Holden’s vi­sion of a mod­ern-day Monaro has been shelved but starred at last year’s Mel­bourne mo­tor show.

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