The Australian designed and built General Motors Holden Monaro coupe will be lightly restyled and sold in the United States from 2004 as a reborn Pontiac GTO, GM product ‘czar’ Bob Lutz confirmed at this week’s New York motor show. A concept version will be displayed at the 2003 Detroit motor show.

Lutz told journalists that sourcing the car from Australia at the rate of under 20,000 a year would bring a V8-powered, rear-drive coupe to market far more quickly than designing it in-house in America.

GM’s chief financial officer John Devine insisted the car would make a profit despite the shipping costs due to the low value of the Australian dollar compared with the US greenback.

However, some pundits in both the US and Australia believe Lutz may yet have to battle with the powerful United Auto Workers Union over importing Holdens, especially if union contract negotiations due in 2003 lead to further plant closures to reduce GM’s excess US capacity.

In addition, as just-auto reported recently, Holden is at two-shift capacity and could not supply the US unless it starts a third shift at its Adelaide, South Australia plant.

It’s also worth noting that some years ago the UAW threatened to scotch a GM plan to import Holden assembly kits even though the cars, intended as a new Buick model line, would actually have been built in the US by UAW members. The idea was subsequently dropped.

Lutz is also reportedly considering other Holden products, including the Commodore utility (a light pickup truck derivative of the sedan) that could be sold as a new Chevrolet El Camino.

The rear-drive pickup is built with V6 and V8 petrol engines and a wide choice of transmission, suspension and trim levels and would be an ideal successor to the old US-made El Camino.