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Next Monaro on hold
Herald Sun Paul Gover

There could be no replacement for the current
Monaro (pictured) when the VE models are released.

THE arrival of the VE Commodore is likely to mean the death of the Holden Monaro. At least for a while...

Plans for the successor to the born-again coupe are being finalised, long after the sign-off on the VE, and that's likely to mean a significant lag between next year's showroom introduction of the new Commodore and any two-door version.
Holden is still not clear on its Monaro plan, partly because the program now has to be approved all the way to General Motors management in the US, but Holden president Denny Mooney is keen and committed to the car.

"I would never want to see it go away. It's such an image vehicle for us," Mooney says.

"It's still in the product plan, but the issue is going to be timing.

"When the current model runs out, there could be a period when you didn't see it in the marketplace, when you're waiting for the new one. But that isn't unusual for a model, particularly a low-volume model like this."

The uncertainty over the Monaro follows its introduction as the Pontiac GTO in the US, a move that makes it an international product, not just a low-volume specialty car for Australia.

The integration of the VE program into GM's global product plan also changes the dynamic for Australia's favourite car.

There had been talk the Monaro would be a victim of slow sales in the US, but Mooney denies there is any uncertainty.

"The GTO and our sister program have not been cancelled. It's a matter of timing priorities for us, and I'm talking General Motors," he says.

"I cannot give the timing. It's like everything else. The business case numbers dictate the priorities on some of these models."

Mooney is deeply involved in plans to integrate Holden's model development work into a wider GM landscape and says the Monaro and GTO have to pass tougher controls.

"I wasn't here when they did the first business case on the Monaro. My guess is that the capital didn't have to go to what we call 'Downtown' for approval.

"But when you log in the volumes for the GTO, the capital goes up a lot. Future models will probably take more capital.

"I get quizzed about whether the Monaro is going to be built in the US, and the reality is that we haven't made that decision.

"The rumour comes up as we're mixing the portfolio plan. As GM gets more and more global, the product plan churns a lot more."

But he says Holden's move towards the GM mainstream will work for Australia.

"I can tell you that it's generally good news for us. I'm happy with the way the priorities are panning out so far," he says.

"The GTO is just the beginning. There is a lot more dialogue now with North America on what we want.

"With the interaction with these other markets, we'll get more in our program than would have been the case in the past. The global product development budget is being managed globally now, so it's a much bigger pool than we would have worked out of in the past," Mooney says.
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