Having wrapped up a deal to ship its Commodore to the U.S. rebadged as the Pontiac G8, Australia’s GM Holden Ltd. now is looking to export the sedan to other overseas markets.
“We are looking at Europe,” Denny Mooney, GM Holden chairman and managing director, says. “There are 25 million vehicles sold each year in Europe. We would only need to sell 5,000 or 10,000 units. That would be big for us.”
Mooney says he believes exports will represent at least 50% of GM Holden’s business in the future.
“The (G8) announcement demonstrates the Australian automotive industry’s ability to deliver significant returns to the national economy,” he adds.
The export program will expand the Commodore model range at GM Holden’s Elizabeth, South Australia, plant to 18 domestic variants and 15 overseas versions.
GM Holden is spending A$25 million ($19.4 million) to prepare the G8 to meet U.S. safety standards.
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries CEO Peter Sturrock says the G8 program is an important boost for the Australian automotive manufacturing industry.
“It demonstrates Australian vehicle manufacturers can design, build and deliver vehicles of outstanding quality and competitiveness, anywhere in the world,” he says.
The G8 export program also is seen as a victory for Australian Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, who went to Detroit last January to meet withMotor Co. and Corp. executives to persuade them to direct more business toward Australia’s auto makers and components makers.
Macfarlane also reminded the U.S. auto makers of the Australian government’s plan to invest A$8.3 billion ($6.2 billion) in its auto industry through 2015.