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GM U.S. Pickup Car Rumors

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On: Wed, May 4, 2011 at 10:29AM | By: Chris Weiss

GM U.S. Pickup Car Rumors

Man, I don't think the pickup car has had this much time in the spotlight since the 1960s and 1970s. In the past month, we've seen a pickup car from BMW (yes, here's the proof), a high-performance tuner pickup car that took advantage of the highly publicized BMW model, and now more GM pickup-car rumors.

The rumors have been around for years, but they got a little extra juice last week when GM North America President Mark Reuss was quoted as supporting the idea of a North American pickup car in Australia's Sydney Morning Herald. Australia, of course, is one of the world markets where GM does offer a pickup car (known as a ute down under) in the form of the Holden Ute and Ute SS.

Here's what Reuss had to say: "When you look at fuel prices today, I think there’s going to be a segmentation of that bandwidth. I’ve lived in Australia and I’ve seen where fuel prices are $5 a gallon, and lots of tradesmen will use a ute with a tray on the back to do lots of different things, and they don’t need the bandwidth of a big pick-up truck."

I'm not sure what was up with Reuss's obsession with the term 'bandwidth', but the ute argument makes a lot of sense. Consumers are increasingly being drawn toward smaller, more efficient cars. In fact, auto market analysis firm Baum & Associates reported last month that small cars experienced nearly twice the year-over-year sales growth of the overall market during the month of March. However, that doesn't mean that certain consumers will be able to give up utility. A vehicle with the efficiency of a car and the utility of a truck (aka the pickup car) seems like the perfect solution for these drivers.

Motor Trend speculates that a U.S.-spec ute wouldn't be launched until 2014, when a new version of the Holden Ute is scheduled.

If GM does give the ute a green light for North America, they'd better reach back and pull out the proper name for it. (El Camino.)


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