Australian General Motors unit Holden is adding a new model to its Middle East export programme.

It will ship a left-hand drive version of Holden Special Vehicles' Commodore-based E Series ClubSport R8 model badged under the Chevrolet Special Vehicles logo.

The new high performance model will be known as CR8. It features the LS2 6.0-litre engine Generation IV V8 engine delivering 307kw of power amd 550 Nm of torque.

Over 200,000 Holden-built short and long wheel based vehicles sold in the region since 1998, making the Middle East has been Holden's biggest and most enduring volume export market.

Currently Holden currently exports variants of the VE and WM sedan ranges which are sold in the Middle East as the Chevrolet Lumina and Caprice respectively.
Holden sales chief Alan Batey said: "This extension of our product range in the region illustrates the growing maturity of the Middle East market."

HSV managing director Scott Grant said: "This announcement adds another important export market to the HSV portfolio, on top of our successful program with Vauxhall in the UK and long standing presence in New Zealand.

"HSV is already well known brand among car enthusiasts in the Middle East, many of whom are fans of the Aussie high performance cars and our racing activities.

"We have also been involved in the region through supply and preparation of 20 Clubsport R VZ models for the Lumina CSV Championship which is run by the Bahrain International Race Circuit and sponsored by Chevrolet."

Exports represent an increasingly important part of GM Holden's current business model with total export sales for 2006 reaching 46,074. Of those, over 31,000 were for the Middle East in what was a record export year.

The launch of the new export program is timed to coincide with the Desert 400 V8 Supercar round in Bahrain this weekend where the CSV logo will feature prominently on a Chevrolet branded Holden Racing Team car.