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    Thread: Why Didn't GM Sell Us Its V8-Powered Australian Subaru Outback?

    1. Senior Member Sporin's Avatar
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      02-01-2018 02:19 PM #1
      This might have broken The Car Lounge.



      http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-cult...entra-pontiac/

      Why Didn't GM Sell Us Its V8-Powered Australian Subaru Outback?

      The Holden Adventra TVC was the Outback we needed, but apparently not the one we deserved.




      In the mid 2000s, before GM entered what we can charitably call a dark period, the company wanted to make Pontiac live up to its 'driving excitement' slogan. The brilliant plan was hatched to bring in cars from GM's Australian Holden division and rebadge them as Pontiacs. The first, from 2004 to 2006, was the Pontiac GTO, a rebadged Holden Monaro. The second, from 2008 to 2009, was the G8, itself a rebadged Holden Commodore.

      Neither one sold in exorbitant numbers, though they also didn't really have the chance. The GTO was immediately compared to the original and deemed "boring" by people who thought it should be called The Judge. The G8 was brilliant but died when the division was shut down in 2010, part of GM's bankruptcy reorganization. It later returned as the Chevy SS.

      Thing is, maybe these were the wrong first Holdens to import to the US. Maybe the first one to be imported should have been a wagon. Hear me out.

      The Subaru Outback was one of the first true crossovers. A tall wagon with the practicality of an SUV and the ease of a car, it was an instant hit and still is today. It had marketing campaigns featuring noted Aussie Paul Hogan and is still the $4000 car that millionaires love.

      From 2003 to 2007, Holden had its very own Subaru Outback in the Adventra, a raised Commodore wagon. The difference? You could get it with a V8.

      That's right. GM was building a V8-powered Outback-fighter in the southern hemisphere. The 2003 to 2005 models were only available with a 315 horsepower 5.7 liter V8 while the 2005 to 2007 Adventras had a base 250 horsepower V6 and an optional 340 horsepower version of the 5.7 liter V8. It was all-wheel drive and only available with an automatic, but it was a true off-road wagon.

      The problem is that it didn't sell all that well in Australia compared to a direct wagon competitor from Ford Australia, the Territory, and it went out of production in 2007. Perhaps sales in the US could have made kept it around, since people who wanted both an off-road wagon and V8 were vastly underserved in the US. Please enjoy the below video of an Adventra driving in the Outback with some ZZ Top-esque guitar riffs in the background.



      If Subaru was playing up the tough Aussie connection–based solely on a name–for its off-road wagon, could you imagine the marketing campaign that GM could have implemented in the US? It would have trounced the Outback.

      Instead of having Paul Hogan–who just plays a tough Australian in movies–shilling for a car that isn't even a little bit from Australia, we could have had ads with Steve Irwin (RIP) powersliding a V8 Pontiac off-road wagon with crocodiles inside while AC/DC's Angus Young plays a wild guitar solo in a different Adventra, this one driven by Eric Bana. Real Australians selling a real Australian car to real American people.

      I bet it would have sold like gangbusters. And then it would have paved the way for more great Australian performance cars in the US. But that didn't happen, and this Australian Pontiac wagon fever dream will have to continue to live on in my brain and my brain alone.

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    3. Member NoXenons's Avatar
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      02-01-2018 02:34 PM #2
      Didn't GM own a stake in Subaru at the time? Although I suppose they never seemed to care about redundancy.
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      02-01-2018 02:54 PM #3
      These must not have sold well in Australia...I didn't see a single one in 1200+ miles of driving across multiple states when I was there in 2013.

    5. Member nemesis099's Avatar
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      02-01-2018 02:54 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by NoXenons View Post
      Didn't GM own a stake in Subaru at the time? Although I suppose they never seemed to care about redundancy.
      I believe you are correct which is why we had the Sabaru

    6. Member vwpiloto's Avatar
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      02-01-2018 02:58 PM #5
      Reminds of the articles that showed how some people thought Subaru was an Australian brand. Can't blame them I suppose.

    7. Member VWestlife's Avatar
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      02-01-2018 03:08 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by vwpiloto View Post
      Reminds of the articles that showed how some people thought Subaru was an Australian brand. Can't blame them I suppose.
      That was probably because of these ads:

      http://adage.com/article/news/subaru...-dundee/85767/

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    8. Member whiteboy1's Avatar
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      02-01-2018 03:14 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by VWestlife View Post
      That was probably because of these ads:

      http://adage.com/article/news/subaru...-dundee/85767/

      timely dundee reference
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      02-01-2018 03:21 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by NoXenons View Post
      Didn't GM own a stake in Subaru at the time? Although I suppose they never seemed to care about redundancy.
      Although GM has made massive strides (or should I say New GM, with some government intervention) to reduce redundancy they certainly did not seem to care about it when the original Outback was on sale or this Aussie wagon. Affordable gasoline and contemporary styling would of found it sales yet spending time and money developing the vehicle for the North American market would of been costly. I can also see the V8 as being a turn off more than a incentive for buyers. Perhaps a good V6.

      Obligatory GM redundancy photo that's obviously much older than any of the vehicles mentioned.



      Quote Originally Posted by vwpiloto View Post
      Reminds of the articles that showed how some people thought Subaru was an Australian brand. Can't blame them I suppose.
      When someone told me that people he talked to thought Subaru is Australian I assumed that they had a few very stupid friends.
      Later I found out that it was a common thought.
      Still I find this surprising.
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      02-01-2018 03:41 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Numbersix View Post
      These must not have sold well in Australia...I didn't see a single one in 1200+ miles of driving across multiple states when I was there in 2013.
      I've lived here 4 years: never saw one. Ford Territory: everywhere.

    11. Member ClownCar's Avatar
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      02-01-2018 05:33 PM #10
      Adventra? That's a stupid name. They should called it the Chazwazzer
      Last edited by ClownCar; 02-01-2018 at 05:46 PM.
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    12. Senior Member bzcat's Avatar
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      02-01-2018 05:43 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by Numbersix View Post
      These must not have sold well in Australia...I didn't see a single one in 1200+ miles of driving across multiple states when I was there in 2013.
      It sold poorly because Aussie saw it for what it was... a poorly executed desperate attempt to play defense against Ford Territory.



      Plus bonus in favor of Territory... turbo and hood scoop!



      And Ford Performance version



      The Holden Advantra did not really stand a chance being that it still was really a Commodore wagon. Australia buyers weren't fooled.

      Last edited by bzcat; 02-01-2018 at 05:51 PM.

    13. Senior Member bzcat's Avatar
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      02-01-2018 05:56 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by ClownCar View Post
      Adventra? That's a stupid name. They should called it the Chazwazzer
      Still my favorite Simpsons episode ever

    14. I’m not a loser. I’m a winnah!! patrikman's Avatar
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      02-01-2018 05:56 PM #13
      Why didn’t they sell this to us? The same reason why they didn’t sell us a Maloo. Because they knew I’d want one.
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    15. Member vwpiloto's Avatar
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      02-01-2018 06:27 PM #14
      Speaking of Holden Commodores, I didn't realize that the new Buick Regal/Open Insignia is being rebadged as the new Commodore in Australia. I thought they'd have just killed the Commodore, but I suppose the name has a lot of value associated with it in Australia. Still, I can't imagine going from a Chevy SS to a Regal.

    16. 02-01-2018 07:04 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by vwpiloto View Post
      Speaking of Holden Commodores, I didn't realize that the new Buick Regal/Open Insignia is being rebadged as the new Commodore in Australia. I thought they'd have just killed the Commodore, but I suppose the name has a lot of value associated with it in Australia. Still, I can't imagine going from a Chevy SS to a Regal.

      Not sure about the general Australian car buying public, but the Holden/HSV fans on social media definitely seem to see it more as squandering the value in the Commodore name.

      Who knows though, they could just be similar to the classic Chevelle and Camaro guys here that got all butt hurt about the SS. Someone’s always going to be pissed off.
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      02-01-2018 07:18 PM #16
      The Adventra (or whatever you call it) sold really badly here. A lift kit, some cladding and dated 4WD system does not an offroader make - especially when it is clear that it's just a Commodore wagon - which are pretty average to begin with.

      You don't see them around and it's not a longeevity thing - Commodore Wagons of that era are actually pretty popular, because of their huge boot and large rear opening. They are fairly reliable too, so lots still in service.

      Cross shopping a '99/00's Outback vs 00's Commodore wagon is a weird proposition, really not the same class. Plus as mentioned above, the Ford Territory was a massive hit amongst the family market. Although it was based on Falcon underpinnings, drivetrain and interior, the fact that it has a different body style differentiated it well enough from a Falcon, that the pubic paid extra for them - and they sold in droves.

    18. I’m not a loser. I’m a winnah!! patrikman's Avatar
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      02-01-2018 08:51 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by MVZOOM View Post
      The Adventra (or whatever you call it) sold really badly here. A lift kit, some cladding and dated 4WD system does not an offroader make - especially when it is clear that it's just a Commodore wagon - which are pretty average to begin with.

      You don't see them around and it's not a longeevity thing - Commodore Wagons of that era are actually pretty popular, because of their huge boot and large rear opening. They are fairly reliable too, so lots still in service.

      Cross shopping a '99/00's Outback vs 00's Commodore wagon is a weird proposition, really not the same class. Plus as mentioned above, the Ford Territory was a massive hit amongst the family market. Although it was based on Falcon underpinnings, drivetrain and interior, the fact that it has a different body style differentiated it well enough from a Falcon, that the pubic paid extra for them - and they sold in droves.
      What sort of AWD system did it have? I'm trying to imagine something similar but other than a Bravada or Safari van I can't.
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    19. 02-01-2018 09:01 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by bzcat View Post
      It sold poorly because Aussie saw it for what it was... a poorly executed desperate attempt to play defense against Ford Territory.



      Plus bonus in favor of Territory... turbo and hood scoop!



      Awikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b2/2005-2006_Holden_Adventra_%28VZ%29_SX6_station_wagon_%2 817005953140%29.jpg/1024px-2005-2006_Holden_Adventra_%28VZ%29_SX6_station_wagon_%2 817005953140%29.jpg[/IMG]
      So aussies liked the ford freestyle

    20. Senior Member JustinCSVT's Avatar
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      02-01-2018 09:32 PM #19
      '06 TCL would've hated it as they did with everything American at the time.

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      02-01-2018 10:51 PM #20
      Cons:

      Would have cost significantly more than an Outback.
      Worse fuel economy.
      Drove less car-like.
      Would possibly take away sales from home grown actual GM SUVs.

      I am sure GM thought about it as the mid 2000s was crazy economic boom time.
      But then everything went to sh*t- economy ground to halt and gas prices became unreliable.
      The Aussie GTO was not exactly selling well either.
      Nope.

    22. Senior Member bzcat's Avatar
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      02-02-2018 01:26 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by ImpeccableNEW View Post
      So aussies liked the ford freestyle
      If Freestyle was RWD, came with 4.0 DOHC I6 (or 4.0 I6 turbo or 2.7 V6 turbo diesel) and actual gears in the transmission instead of FWD whizzy 3.0 V6 and CVT that was allergic to torque.

      But yea, they looked very similar. Just like Falcon looked sort of like Taurus in the early 2000s.

      Ironically, I believe the next gen Explorer will basically takeover from where Territory left off... RWD based unibody CUV with turbo charged 6 cylinder engine

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      02-02-2018 01:40 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by patrikman View Post
      What sort of AWD system did it have? I'm trying to imagine something similar but other than a Bravada or Safari van I can't.
      I am wondering the same thing, maybe similar to the Caddy SRX.

      This has me wanting a lifted AWD 4Door 6.2L Ute, it would be the super Baja

      Last edited by Baltimoron; 02-02-2018 at 01:46 PM.

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      02-02-2018 01:40 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by Biff Beltsander View Post


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      02-02-2018 01:41 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by ImpeccableNEW View Post
      So aussies liked the ford freestyle
      Taurus X. <barf>
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      02-02-2018 02:05 PM #25
      I've said it before, GM was preparing to sell a Zeta chassis ute as a Pontiac, but then the financial collapse happened. Low profit, big rear drivers were extremely low priority during the bailouts.
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