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by Tim Beissmann

Holden is launching the 2011 Holden VE Series II Thunder Ute limited edition, offering V6 and V8 customers $3000 of added value.

The return of the Thunder nameplate coincides with the 60th anniversary of the launch of the original 1951 Holden Ute.

For the first time the Thunder SS model will be offered alongside the new Thunder SV6. Both variants will come equipped with charcoal-finished 19-inch alloy wheels, iQ touchscreen system with satellite navigation, leather seat bolsters and exclusive Thunder badges.

The six-speed manual models will be sold at special driveaway prices – $34,990 for the SV6, $39,990 for the SS – while the six-speed automatic models cost $39,490 and $44,490 respectively before on-road costs.

Holden executive director of sales, marketing and aftersales, John Elsworth, said the VE Series II Thunder range was designed to meet Australia’s growing demand for sports models in the utility segment.

“Over 60 years of production, the Holden ute has evolved from typical tradesman’s transport to two-door sports machine with a practical edge – that’s epitomised by the Thunder range,” Mr Elsworth said.

“It is a really bold, tough-looking ute which we think will appeal to many of our traditional sports ute buyers. We’re expecting it to be an absolute winner in our showrooms.”

Holden says the launch of the 2011 Holden Thunder Ute will be the first event in a series of celebrations commemorating 60 years of ute production by Holden in Australia. The 50-2106 Coupe Utility (FX) first rolled off the production line in January 1951, and since then the Holden Ute has become an iconic vehicle in the Australian automotive industry.

The Commodore-based Holden Utility is the second-highest-selling 4×2 ute in Australia in 2011. So far, Holden has delivered 2220 units and has a market share of 17.1 percent, trailing the Toyota HiLux (3335, 25.7 percent) but leading its traditional rival, the Ford Falcon Ute (1651, 12.7 percent).

The 2011 Holden VE Series II Thunder Ute goes on sale around Australia next week (beginning April 18).




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