AUSTRALIA: Holden redesigns its Ute

By just-auto.com editorial team | 23 August 2007

General Motors' Australian unit Holden has launched a fully-redesigned VE Ute (short for utility, or pickup truck) range based on its top-selling home-grown Commodore line.

Holden has built such sedan-derived pickups - broadly the Australian equivalent of parent GM's 1960s-era Chevrolet El Camino - for almost 60 years.

This is the first full redesign since the VU series was launched in 2000 and the latest model has more features, more useable interior space, greater storage flexibility and more performance than its predecessors.

Holden spent an extra $A105m on top of its $A1bn billion VE Commodore sedan programme and carried out more than 650,000kms of reliability testing on the new 'ute', a popular vehicle body style 'down under'. Small numbers are shipped to neighbouring countries - the largest export market is New Zealand.

The redesigned model was engineered in Australia and is built in Elizabeth, South Australia state.

When it goes on sale in Australia in October, it will be the first locally produced ute (Ford makes a rival Falcon-based range) to offer electronic stability program (ESP) crash avoidance safety technology standard across the range. High levels of safety carry through to the vehicle's structure which incorporates the same high-strength steels introduced recently with the VE sedan.

Engine options - all petrol - are a US-designed and locally built 3.6 litre 180kW 'Alloytec' V6 with four-speed automatic transmission, a high output 195kW version with dual exhausts and six-speed manual transmission, the same motor with five-speed automatic and the US-built, six-litre, 270kW 'Gen IV' V8 with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

There is a wide choice of trim/equipment levels and factory-fitted options.