While the coalition of the willing continue to fight a losing battle in the middle-east, GM Holden has long ago won the war. The oil rich region has a unquenchable hunger for Australian made cars.
Having started exports in 1998, last year Holden sold over 31,000 locally produced vehicles to our friends in the Middle East (46,100 vehicles in total to all continents except Antarctica).
So it comes at no surprise that GM Holden today reaffirmed its support for this week’s free trade agreement negotiations between the Australian Federal Government and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
“The GCC currently has a 5 per cent tariff on passenger motor vehicles. An eventual free trade agreement would ensure Australian manufacturers maintain their competitiveness in the Middle East market as the GCC actively seeks agreements with other major car producing economies,” GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Denny Mooney said.
Using the Chevrolet brand, GM Holden currently sell the Commodore (Middle-Eastern name – Lumina) and Caprice (still Caprice) in the region.
So why is Holden in the green while Ford is struggling? It may be due to our not-so-favourite man of the year, Denny Mooney, who spearheaded Holden’s middle east invasion.
“Thanks to this strong export strategy, 50% of all the vehicles GM Holden manufactures in Australia next year will be driven on foreign roads – many of these in the Middle East.” he said.
While we all had a laugh at Wheels Magazine’s car of the year award, Chevrolet branded Holdens are also enjoying success in the middle east with the Caprice recently crowned Best Executive Sedan by Middle East Car magazine. In late 2006, it was announced as Luxury Car of the Year by Middle East Autocar magazine.
It seems more and more likely that Ford Australia will follow Holden’s footsteps overseas with the introduction of the new Ford Falcon.