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New Jackaroo on Holden agenda

Not forgotten: Holden's Jackaroo might make a comeback on the new Colorado platform.

Holden seeks Colorado-based seven-seat wagon to sit above the Captiva

21 Oct 2010

HOLDEN’S much loved Jackaroo might be back as soon as 2012 as General Motors takes on the top-selling Toyota Prado and Ford’s forthcoming Ranger-derived SUV with a new seven-seat 4x4 wagon.

To be based on the next-generation Colorado one-tonne pick-up truck that is also set to arrive about 2012, the family-sized wagon is expected to wear a modern and spacious body containing three rows of seats.

The development of the SUV is thought to be part of a joint venture with Isuzu, which has also been working with General Motors on the successor to both the Colorado and the Isuzu D-Max pick-up trucks.

A GoAuto recently reported, Australia is set to get an Isuzu SUV based on the next D-Max ute that insiders say will share fewer parts with GM’s new global Colorado this time around.

The Isuzu SUV will replace the company’s current MU-7 (‘Mystery Ute’) SUV made in Thailand for the south-east Asian market.

The Holden and Isuzu five-door body-on-frame SUVs will go head to head with Ford Australia’s locally engineered and similar concept SUV being spun off its T6 Ranger platform, as well as Nissan’s Pathfinder and Mitsubishi’s Challenger.

Development of the Ford SUV is underway in Victoria now that the T6 Ranger ute has been wrapped up and unveiled at the Australian International Motor Show last week.

13 center imageFrom top: Holden Colorado, Isuzu MU-7 and Ford Ranger.

Holden is poised to release details of its HiLux rival as well as the modern-day Jackaroo in the latter part of next year, with production due to start shortly afterwards.

One company insider told GoAuto that Thailand would be an obvious source for the newcomer for GM’s Asia-Pacific ambitions, with the Holden vehicles being produced in a separate plant from the Isuzu vehicles.

But the news almost certainly puts paid to the importation of the Orlando, a seven-seater people mover/crossover. Based on the Cruze small car’s platform, it debuted in production form at the Paris motor show last month.

The insider said that the Orlando was far from the top of priorities at Holden, and so has little chance of making it to Australia.

The failure of Zafira – the TS Astra-based seven-seater wagon built by Opel in Europe and sold here from 2001 to 2005 – to sell in meaningful numbers in Australia is still fresh in the minds of many at Fishermans Bend, and even it was imported at a keener price from Thailand.

The next-generation Colorado presents “some very exciting opportunities” in the seven-seater market that is the right fit for Australia, and that Holden will make an announcement in due course.

“Just keep watching this space,” he said.

Holden managing director and CEO Mike Devereux said the future of the Orlando in Australia had not been fully outlined.

“I wouldn’t ever rule any product out,” he said. “It’s not something that we discussed openly for this market just yet. We say ‘never say never’, but there are no plans for the car over here.” Like the mooted next-generation model, the original Jackaroo grew out of the D-Max/Colorado’s one-tonne truck predecessor, the Rodeo, but became more sophisticated as it evolved into a separate model in its own right.

Two generations spanning 23 years from 1981 were available from Holden, with the Jackaroo sold in other countries as the Monterey, Trooper and Caribe, and is still popular on the used vehicle market in New Zealand as the Big Horn, but wearing Subaru badges.

One spokesperson denies the company is contemplating using the name Holden Big Horn.

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