There are no plans to shift production of the Pontiac G8 sedan from Australia to North America in the immediate future, says Gary Cowger, General Motors Corp. group vice president-manufacturing and labor.

Production of the Holden Commodore-based G8 for the U.S. market recently began at GM Holden Ltd. Elizabeth plant in Adelaide, South Australia.

There has been media speculation that GM was considering moving production of the vehicle to an underutilized plant in North America.

“There are no plans in place to do anything like that,” Cowger tells reporters during a recent plant visit.

“Right now, we’re focused on getting the benefit of our half-billion-dollar investment right here and making sure we have a good launch of not only the G8, but of all of the new products here at Holden,” he says.

“I’m not going to make any plant announcements on locations of production. The G8 is coming on schedule. I think the plant is getting up to speed,” he adds, noting the Adelaide facility has made tremendous gains in productivity and quality.

“As long as the plant continues to make these kinds of gains, those are the things we look for.”

The strength of the Australian dollar against the U.S. greenback, alone, does not justify moving G8 production from the country, Cowger says.

“(The) exchange (rate) is clearly one of the things we look at, but there’s tariffs, shipping, inbound and outbound freight,” he says. “It’s landed cost that we look at from a manufacturing base.”

GM is looking forward to a successful sales launch of the G8 in the U.S. early next year, Cowger says. “I’ve driven the car and I think it will do very well in the market. “

Cowger says there has been much interest in a Pontiac version of the Holden Commodore Ute for the U.S. market but nothing has been decided.

“People will continue to look at the viability of it as long as you can make a solid business case out of it,” he says.