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Will Dodge follow Camaro into Oz?

by Chris Vander Doelen on

With Ford selling every Mustang it can ship and Dodge still ignoring Australian Mopar fans, General Motors’ Holden has decided to trademark everything Camaro — which likely means only one thing.

Thanks to eagle-eyed reader Stephen Claydon, we see that GM division Holden Special Vehicles appears to be preparing to import Camaros to take on the Mustang in the muscle-car segment in Oz. Since it pulled out of the country last year, the two will remain unchallenged directly by the (er…) Dodge Challenger. At least for now.

Right hand drive Chrysler 300 interior

Ford’s Australian Mustang sales have been going gangbusters this year, and described as a “cash cow” for Ford and a “sell-out success” in this magazine piece. Australia is now the second-largest market for the Mustang outside of the U.S., beating even Canadian sales, according to Wheelsmag.com.

Smelling a golden opportunity, Holden GM and its HSV division (half owned by GM) have applied to patent everything about the Camaro, including advertising, sales, service and maintenance, and the car itself.

According to Caradvice.com, which bills itself as the largest independent automotive info source in Australia, “This suggests Holden has plans to sell the Camaro in Australia, likely a converted right-hand-drive version of the Camaro imported directly from the United States of America.”

HSV does the importing, and converting, which is a hideously expensive process ($190,000 to convert a Hellcat, according to this site — about US$150,000), which may be why HSV is rumored to be on the verge of importing Corvettes for conversion to right-hand-drive, too.

Where does that leave Dodge? With no RHD vehicle for sale in Australia, nowhere. Mopar fans can buy a 300 SRT8 to scratch their Mopar itch, but no Challenger, no Hellcat, no Demon.

If GM can hear the Australian market calling, why can’t FCA? They’re selling only 30 or so Chrysler 300s a month, according to this Allpar thread, compared to Ford moving over 1,000 Mustangs per month, according to this story.

Last month there were reports out of South Africa – false, it turned out – that Chrysler had ceased building RHD vehicles for export. Chrysler Australia later corrected that and said RHD had become “a live business case” for Dodge. Now Holden is protecting its potential Camaro trademarks. Maybe there’s more to this RHD stuff than meets the eye.

Chris Vander Doelen was Opinion Editor and columnist of The Windsor Star until December, 2016; He was the Star's automotive reporter and columnist for seven years, and had also covered the political and gambling beats. With his wife, Veronique Mandal, he wrote the book Chasing Lightning (1999). Chris won a National Newspaper Award in 1997 and more than a dozen provincial news awards. There is a Chrysler 300 in his driveway.


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