Pony-car express

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THREE cheers for Barack Obama! If the US president hadn’t ploughed billions of US taxpayer dollars into resurrecting General Motors, you and I wouldn’t be salivating right now at the prospect of the Chevrolet Camaro coming to Australia.


GM has stopped well short of an official confirmation, but GM vice chairman and product guru Bob Lutz’s endorsement is the next best thing. Put it this way, much of what the septuagenarian executive predicts becomes reality.

“I think you can pretty much count on a right-hand-drive Camaro,” Lutz told Wheels at the Detroit motor show. “The Camaro, at some point, will be right-hand drive, that’s what we’re currently looking at with a great deal of focus; to be built in Canada and shipped [to] right-hand-drive markets. Why not? “Most of the parts are there, all we have to do is reverse the instrument panel. The right-hand-drive bits are a given because it is a Holden [VE Commodore] architecture.”

Of course, the 6.2-litre V8 Camaro SS is already sold here as a RHD conversion by QLD-based Performax International. It’s yours from a cool $139K.

But if GM’s right-hook program is confirmed, the expectation is that factory-fresh Camaros – bow-tie badging intact – will be sitting in Holden dealerships, with a sticker as low as $75,000 and from as soon as 2011, said Holden boss Alan Batey.

Camaro was originally going to be built in RHD and sold in Oz, but the plan was canned as the ‘old’ GM slashed its development budgets in an unsuccessful attempt to stave off Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Now, having careered through that process courtesy of Obama’s rescue package, and re-emerged in slimmed-down form, Lutz says the ‘new’ GM is aggressively chasing business opportunities like the RHD Camaro.

Alan Batey echoed Lutz’s words and said he’d love Camaro to come to Oz, although its sales success in North America isn’t helping. “It’s all about timing. If you talk to North America they have too much demand and can’t supply. But would we like to see the car happen in Australia? Yeah, it would be great.”

Batey doesn’t expect Camaro to sell in big numbers if it comes, and only in V8 form. Bring it on.

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