Pontiac has axed plans to sell a version of the Holden Commodore Ute in America as the G8 ST (Sport Truck), as General Motors pares down the Pontiac line-up.
That’s despite the truck gathering a cult following even before it went on sale, and despite a public competition to name the vehicle that raised awarness and expectations.
The contest, which drew several suggestions that the new ute be called El Camino, went full circle with Pontiac announcing it would be the ST, the working name it had for the project all along.
The G8 would have revived the car-based ute/pick-up genre championed in the late 1950s by Chevrolet with the El Camino and Ford with the Ranchero. The style went out of vogue – and production – in the 1980s.
When Pontiac announced the final ST moniker for the Holden-based ute late last year, there were hints from inside General Motors that the El Camino name, considered too closely aligned with Chevy, might be revived on a Bowtie brand ute. But that was before the economic downturn and GM’s cash crisis.
Pontiac had planned to start selling the G8 ST in the second half of this year, as a 2010 model, with a 6.2-litre V8 and six-speed automatic transmission.
It would have joined a line of Holden Commodore-based sedans – plans to market a version of the Commodore Sportwagon were stillborn – topped by the fire-breathing G8.
When it was seeking a US government bailout, GM said it would be whittling down the Pontiac line-up to cut model diversity and reduce costs.
There were suggestions Pontiac would survive as a one model brand, and that model may well be the G8.
Holden was to build the G8 Sport Truck at Elizabeth, near Adelaide, and though the numbers would have been relatively small, the truck’s cancellation will still be a blow to the General’s Australian arm.