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Holden's $2bn year beats HQ record
By Motoring Editor MIKE DUFFY
MANUFACTURING giant Holden shipped a record 52,372 cars around the globe last year, generating more than $2 billion in export earnings.

The figure beat the previous single-year record of 41,181 vehicles – set in 1973 by the famed HQ range – by 17 per cent.

The 2004 tally of sedans, coupes and utilities shipped from Port Adelaide was 45 per cent higher than the exports of 36,069 in 2003.

It was the first year Holden exported more than 50,000 vehicles – coincidentally, in the 50th anniversary of the start of its export program.

Holden's greatest success in the year was confirmation of an export program to China.

More than 10,000 Buick Royaum, based on the Holden Statesman Caprice, built at Elizabeth, will go to the vast Chinese market this year.

China will become Holden's sixth export address in the Asia-Pacific region, joining South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and New Zealand.

Holden now has exported more than 650,000 vehicles around the world in its five decades as an exporter.

The 2004 record was achieved by sending Holden cars to all continents except Antarctica – carrying such General Motors' brands as Chevrolet, Pontiac and Vauxhall. Buick and Daewoo will be added to the list this year.

The carmaker's export director Peter Keley said it was fitting the long-standing record should be broken in the golden anniversary of the first FJ sales to New Zealand in 1954.

"Holden vehicles play an important role in the product portfolios of various GM entities and joint ventures around the world," Mr Keley said.

"Holden has a responsibility to contribute to General Motors brands around the world where possible to offer the best possible range of cars and trucks in each local market.

"We have been able to leverage our manufacturing flexibility to deliver products to the Middle East, the United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa, Brazil, New Zealand and across the Asia-Pacific region."

The Monaro is Holden's best-known export.

It carries Pontiac GTO badging in the U.S., the Chevrolet Coupe nameplate in the Middle East and Vauxhall VXR in the UK.

Mr Keley said many significant individual achievements combined to achieve record overall exports. Holden posted record sales of 23,511 in the Middle East, including 12,596 Chevrolet Caprice (Holden Statesman).

The Chevrolet Caprice Royale won the Car of the Year title in Saudi Arabia.

Holden sent more than 16,000 Pontiac GTOs to the U.S.

The GTO got off to a poor start there, selling just 3686 between January and June.

Sales improved to 9881 units in the second half of 2004 for a full-year tally of 13,569.

December sales of GTO hit a monthly record of 2952 – pointing to sales in 2005 hitting the 18,000 annual target – the maximum allowed by America's auto unions.

A total of 10,331 Holden cars were sold during the year in New Zealand – the most for 20 years.

The Holden Commodore SV6 took out the top Large Car of the year in New Zealand by Autocar magazine. And the Vauxhall VXR (Monaro) won the Top Gear television show's Muscle Car of the Year award.

More than 1000 Calais-based Chevrolet Omega were exported to Brazil to lead the large car segment in that country.

Holden also made ground with its export program in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

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Intersting that our Labor Unions limit imports to 18,000 for the GTO!

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Only about 1050 left over for january. 9881 for the last six months with 2952 in December alone. Then they say the brisk sales in December point to them reaching their target in 2005.

Rebate Shmebate. The cars sold themselves in December! ;)
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