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Pontiac zooms in

The Aussie built Pontiac G8 is now available at showrooms in Canda.

HOLDEN is expanding its American invasion with the Pontiac G8 now available for sale in Canada.

Built at GM Holden's vehicle assembly plant in Elizabeth, South Australia, the Pontiac G8 features the same ride and handling as the Holden SS Commodore and is based on the rear-wheel-drive platform which GM Holden engineered for the global market.

The move into Canada is the first for GM Holden and follows the release four months ago of the Pontiac G8 in the United States.

GM Holden this year expects to export half of all vehicles manufactured in South Australia, to be driven on roads in the US, Canada, Middle East, Brazil, South Africa and the UK.

GM of Canada communications manager Tony LaRocca said he expected the G8 to be popular.

“We're particularly pleased with the high praise for the fun, yet fuel-efficient V6 model which will represent the majority of our volume.”

In the US, the Pontiac G8 is one of the fastest-selling vehicles in the GM portfolio. Pontiac communication manager Jim Hopson said they had sold 6270 G8s since release.

“Impressively, even in the face of record high fuel costs in the US market, the V8-powered G8 GT accounts for more than 70 per cent of those sales,” he said.

“With the rapidly changing marketplace in the US, I wouldn't want to venture a guess as to volume for the entire year, but we've been very pleased by the performance of the G8 so far and our dealers still want more than we can deliver.

“I can't really speak to the Canadian market, but I can tell you that the vehicle was highly anticipated by Canadian customers, who were always disappointed we were never able to market the Pontiac GTO in that country.”

He said their customers viewed GM as a global company. “So the fact that the G8 is built in Australia is not really a surprise to them.

“To those who specifically follow performance cars, Holden-built products are held in high regard.

“Even though the Pontiac GTO (based on the VZ Monaro) was not as successful as we would have liked, the performance attributes of the car were never questioned and many of those GTO owners have been the first in line for the new G8, specifically because they knew Holden would be involved.”

The G8 sedan is powered by a 3.6L DOHC V6 engine rated at 190kW and 335Nm of torque, built by Holden Engine Operations in Victoria.

The G8 GT has a 6.0L small-block V8, rated at 268kW and 520Nm, with Active Fuel Management system, which increases fuel economy by alternating between eight and four cylinders.

US Pontiac G8 product manager Brian Shipman said it was the “perfect performance package”. “The Pontiac G8 is currently the most powerful vehicle for the dollar in the US. It is faster 0-60mph (100km/h) than a BMW 5 series and has greater horsepower.”