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Adventra replacement tied to US exports

Adventra highway: An export deal is believed to be vital for an Adventra replacement.

Holden looks to the US to export 'Adventra' – and import Monaro

4 Oct 2004

THE future of a replacement for Holden’s Adventra cross-over wagon could hinge around a plan to export the vehicle to the US.

Although it is unclear which of GM’s North American brands would receive Adventra, GoAuto has learned the code GMX283 has been given to the project.

An export deal is believed to be vital to the development of a business case for an Adventra replacement, which is expected to become more separated from the Commodore wagon in its second generation guise.

But Holden has struggled to make the numbers add up for the vehicle that will be based on the forthcoming Zeta architecture. Hence the need to nail down exports, with the US looming as a significant opportunity.

At the same time, it appears any concerns expressed by US union workers would be soothed by a plan to manufacture the Monaro coupe in the US and ship it to Australia.

That would be possible because Pontiac plans to manufacture the next generation GTO in the US, both cars sharing the Zeta architecture.

An export program to Australia of the next generation GMT361 truck as a Toyota LandCruiser rival would also help smooth the way.

All this trans-shipping would be made possible by the Australia-US free trade agreement, due to be ratified in late October.

"Building the Monaro in the USA is possible," said Holden managing director Denny Mooney. "We are not yet publicly ready to say where some of that stuff is going to be built though.

"We have said before that Zeta will be built in North America, maybe one plant, maybe two plants, maybe three plants.

"The reality of not being able to say where it’s going to be built … is because when we decide to put a product in a plant it’s a pretty formal process and we work with the UAW and there’s a lot of approvals and internal and external communications." Mr Mooney said there would be some definite advantages for Holden if the Monaro – a low-volume car – was manufactured in the US.

"As an example, if they built the coupe in the USA, they would do the tooling … then we are not spending the money in Australia on that, we are spending it on something else," he said.

"Maybe we do sheetmetal on our wagon or cross-over, or Crewman. Maybe we could do some things we couldn’t afford this time round." The future home of Monaro is part of a larger vision triggered by Zeta-based cars being built around the world.

It could be Holden’s Elizabeth plant finds itself building less bodystyles in bigger numbers for domestic and international consumption, and effectively trading vehicles with other GM regions.

"At the end of the day if it’s a great product and we are doing the engineering and development on it, then I would hope where it was built wouldn’t be as emotional," Mr Mooney said.

"We have four bodystyles and today they have a lot of commonality. If I had my druthers (choice), I would get more uniqueness in those products even if it meant I had to build them in different locations, with the understanding the products would be better products and used in our market and their market.

"Whatever we were building would be higher volume levels. I would have fewer bodystyles in the plant and less complexity. I could improve productivity and improve quality, get better product at the end of the day." * Holden’s compact concept car, revealed in GoAuto e-news and set to make its world debut in Sydney next month, appears to be based only loosely on GM’s low volume rear-drive Kappa architecture.

The reborn ‘Torana’ is said to have underpinnings inspired by Kappa. The core of the Kappa chassis design is hydroformed frame rails which run the length of the vehicle.

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