If there is one car that American car enthusiasts have been clamoring for, it is Holden’s Commodore-based Ute. This car-based truck rekindles fond memories of the Chevrolet El Camino, and over in Australia Utes are among the most popular vehicles on the road. GM is already importing the Commodore and selling it as the police-only Caprice PPV, and plans about importing the Ute version have been bandied about for years.
But Australia’s Herald Sun reports that despite strong demand for an American Ute, high tariffs and a strong Australian dollar could kill these plans in the cradle. Why? Read on.
The Australian dollar has surged in value thanks in large part to a huge mining boom. This has made exporting cars for sale in other countries prohibitively expensive, prompting rumors that Ford will pull out of Australian manufacturing after 2016. It isn’t just Australia that has this problem; Japanese automakers like Nissan are moving more manufacturing away from the homeland to, of all places, America.
The other problem with importing a ute is called the “Chicken tax”, an old holdover law from a bygone era. To protect domestic manufacturing of pickup trucks, the chicken tax poses a whopping 35% tariff on any imported pickups…including the Holden Ute.
This will be the second time the importing of the Holden Ute was strangled in its crib. The Ute was originally slated to arrive in 2009 as the Pontiac G8 ST, but Pontiac’s demise amidst the U.S. economic crisis put a halt to those plans.
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