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http://carsguide.news.com.au/story/0,20384,18721905-21822,00.html

Clue to next Monaro


Project X: Australian engineers are now making the Chevrolet Camaro concept a reality


07 April 2006
Paul Gover


A hand-picked team of GM Holden's most talented youngsters is working to turn the Chevrolet Camaro concept car into a reality. They could also be creating the next Monaro.
The special taskforce was set up at the start of the year, soon after the Camaro was revealed at the Detroit motor show and is reporting through former GM Holden design chief, Michael Simcoe.


He was in Australia during the Melbourne motor show in February and admitted at the time he was visiting partly to commission some local work on an international project. It now appears that the job is more than just VE Commodore and Statesman tweaking for their planned role as an export money-earner for GM Holden. And the Camaro will sit comfortably on the same basic mechanical package used in the new Australian hero cars.
"The only thing I can say on the record is that our new rear-wheel drive architecture is the main candidate for the future American rear-wheel drive products, including the Camaro Concept," GM Holden chairman Denny Mooney says.


"We have a significant number of engineering and design resources at Fishermans Bend [Victoria] working on the project."


Mooney is careful to avoid any confirmation of a Camaro road car project, even though the car was an overwhelming success at the Detroit show and is considered a certainty for full-scale production. And he will still not discuss the potential impact of the Camaro project on the future of the Holden Monaro, which is now a good idea looking for a body and an engineering team. It is obvious that the design team at Fishermans Bend has a strong standing within General Motors, thanks to all sorts of successful projects, from the Monaro-based Pontiac GTO to the retro Efijy show car which is now odds-on for a flag waving tour in the US later this year. Simcoe's promotion to a senior role is more evidence. And GM Holden's design director Tony Stolfo is close to Ed Welburn, the company's vice-president of global design.


Mooney says the global platform work is a big benefit to the Port Melbourne design centre, which is now the third-largest in the GM world following an expansion last year which took staff numbers from 107 to 176. While the Camaro project is in its early days, Holden is into the last months of the VZ Commodore and finalising launch plans for the VE and Statesman. Mooney says the final production time is now locked in place and the runout has begun.


"We are low on stock. Our dealers would say now that we are short of stock," Mooney says. "We don't have any issues on runout. Our production lines are fine." But GM Holden is going to face another challenge, as Ford is definitely working on a BFIII Falcon for the final months of 2006.
The Daily Telegraph
 
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