V6 engines made by General Motors’ Australian subsidiary Holden are likely to power large Alfa Romeo sedans and off-roaders plus those of other European marques in which GM has a stake, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) said in a report carried on the drive.com.au website.

Sweden’s Saab, now wholly owned by GM, is also expected to take Holden V6s, the report added.

Sources at last week’s Geneva motor show press preview told the SMH that a twin-turbo V6 destined for a displayed Alfa Romeo Kamal four-wheel-drive designed to rival the Porsche Cayenne could appear in a high-performance Saab 9-3 sedan after 2005.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Alfa Romeo officials did not mention the Australian input in its important new model but insiders told the SMH the new 4WD would be powered by Holden V6s made in Melbourne.

The SMH said the Kamal would be on the road by the end of 2004. The most popular variant was expected to be the 3.2-litre V6; Holden is developing a twin-turbo V6 for the high-performance model, the SMH said, noting that there would be no Holden badges on the engines or the car.

The SMH said that industry analysts at Geneva saw Holden’s new engine export plan as showcasing Australian engineering and technology and, as one insider put it, “ridding Australia’s motor industry of its dinosaur image”.

From late 2004 or early 2005 Holden would begin exporting a locally designed and developed V6 to General Motors plants and subsidiaries around the world, the SMH said.

The V6 has been designed so that Holden can build it in capacities varying from 2.8 to 3.8 litres, giving the choice of economy or performance, the report added.

The Sydney Morning Herald said the new Holden V6 is expected to come on stream in Australia in September next year in the facelifted Commodore VZ, the last of the current series before an all-new model arrives in 2006. It will replace the Commodore’s venerable 3.8 — the locally assembled version of an older Buick design — which has been used in Australia for 15 years, the SMH noted.