CANBERRA – Holden Ltd. is looking to add Iraq to its list of export markets.

Holden WK Statesman should boost sales in Middle East region.

Holden Chairman and Managing Director Peter Hanenberger tells local media that, as yet, nothing is in place. However, the removal of Saddam Hussein and the likely end to trade sanctions could lead to the General Motors Corp. subsidiary shipping up-market cars to Iraq.

"At the moment, it's just a hope; we don't know how it would be done," Hanenberger is quoted as saying.

Holden already exports to eight Middle Eastern nations, including four that share borders with Iraq, and expects to sell 26,000 cars in the region this year.

Hanenberger says the Iraq war did not disrupt the auto maker’s export schedule to the region, nor did the company have to activate a plan to stockpile cars there.

Holden sales to the Middle East will get a boost from next month’s release of the new WK Statesman and Caprice long-wheelbase models. The models have new exterior styling, a new interior and improved features. Prices range from A$53,490 ($33,000) for the 6-cyl. Statesman to A$72,990 ($45,000) for the V-8 Caprice.

For the first time, Caprice and Statesman buyers can order their vehicle with a factory-fitted sunroof. The new cars have a DVD entertainment system for rear-seat passengers featuring two small screens. Both models feature in-dash 6-disc CD players. There also is a rest reminder alert after two hours of continuous driving.

Hanenberger says the Caprice and Statesman are exported to 10 countries. "It demonstrates our expertise in niche-model manufacturing and our ability to produce customized products that are targeted to meet specific buyer requirements,” he says.