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The Holden Commodore Ute has had more false starts in the United States than Elizabeth Taylor has had marriages, but rising gas prices might give General Motors an impetus to import the Ute as a pickup alternative at a time when high gas prices are making large trucks economically unfeasible.
Mark Reuss, GM’s head of North American operations, said that the Ute may be an important product if fuel prices compel pickup buyers to downsize from full-size trucks to more efficient but equally versatile vehicles. ’I've lived in Australia and I’ve seen where fuel prices are $5 a gallon and lots of tradesmen will use a ute with a tray on the back to do lots of different things, and they don’t need the bandwidth of a big pick-up truck,’ he told Australia’s Drive.
Reuss also said that no decision would come until the next generation Commodore in 2014, and that the pickup truck market in the States was still strong enough to continue with current offerings. General Motors planned to offer the Ute as a Pontiac vehicle, but those plans were shuttered in the wake of the 2009 recession.
Rumors of Holden vehicles, specifically the rear-drive Commodore, coming to the U.S. have always been a fixture of the automotive media, and with the Holden-based Pontiac G8′s demise a few years ago, some of them have seemed to be more wishful thinking than anything of substance.
General Motors is bringing back the larger Holden Statesman as a fleet-only Chevrolet Caprice, but that hasn’t stopped some suspiciously civilian-looking examples from popping up, including the one spied by an Edmunds Inside Line staffer, which is totally devoid of any police-style accouterments.
We’ve seen other shots that suggest that this is what the unmarked versions of the Caprice will look like, but we can still hold out hope that it’s also the basis for something much better, and available to the general public.
[Source: Inside Line]
With the Chevrolet Cobalt SS being a critical (if not commercial) success, General Motors has been pushing for an SS version of their new Chevrolet Cruze small car, and the program looks like it’s a go, with much of the work being done by their Australian Holden division.
While details are still preliminary, a more powerful turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, sharper steering and an improved rear suspension seem to be in the cards, with engine choices ranging from anywhere between a 1.6L 180 horsepower turbo mill to a 2.0L 280 horsepower 4-cylinder.
Expect to see the car offered in hatchback form, to appeal to much of the world market. A sedan version is still up in the air – as are North American sales for that matter.
[Source: Motor Authority]
While the Chevrolet Caprice is reserved for police vehicle fleets only, there have been some rumors about a civilian version making its way to showrooms for public consumption, and the latest videos showing footage of a police evaluation event only seem to further that.
Previous shots of the Caprice have either shown it in full police livery, or an “unmarked” version which ditched the lightbar and graphics but still retained the steel wheels and blacked out grilles. But the Caprices used in the latest video look like they could be sold to customers, if not for the small flashing lights hidden in the front fascia. Otherwise, the alloy wheels and interior devoid of any police equipment look pretty production ready. If it’s any consolation, we pressed one GM engineer at the Camaro Convertible launch about such a vehicle, and he answered with a wry smile, stating “these things have a way of happening”.
Video after the jump
The Ford Territory is the enthusiasts idea of a dream SUV; based on a rear-drive car platform, the Territory is available with turbo six cylinder or V8 powerplants and was widely received by both private owners and government agencies looking for a rugged utility vehicle.
With the Territory looking pretty much the same since its 2004 debut, it’s time for a major re-style, and the sketch released by Ford shows a pretty significant break from the buttoned-down looks of the current car. Expect awesome Ecoboost engines as well as a some kind of V8 to motivate yet another awesome car we aren’t allowed to buy.