Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

GM's Ute: America's Gain Is My "Loss"

2008 Australian Ute
2008 Australian Ute

I hate to lose. I admit it. It's my competitive nature. Which will make today at the NY Auto Show a painful and costly experience for me.

Today, Pontiac is showing its newest crossover utility vehicle. It's coming from GM's Australian subsidiary Holden and I have to admit it's pretty cool. Think of it as an up to date version of the El Camino with a bed tacked on to crossover front end. In Australia, they call it the Ute, and they love it.

I know because I saw it while down under shooting some stories at Holden back in December. That's when I made a $100 bet with my producer Meghan. Meghan, fell in love with the Ute and kept saying to me, "GM will bring that to the U.S." As if to bolster her argument, she would also say, "Dale Jr. Earnhardt likes it too!" That's true. While talking with the NASCAR star at Holden's proving ground, he told us he thought GM should sell the Ute in the U.S. because it was cool.

Being the cocky auto reporter I am, I dismissed Meghan and Dale Jr. I even went so far as to bet Meghan that the Aussie CUV would not be in the states before 2010. Well mates, I'm paying up today. The Ute is here, though Pontiac is holding a contest where the public can pick a different U.S. name for the CUV.

Congratulations Meghan! Enjoy your $100. I have no doubt you'll spend it the next time you are listening to street performers on the banks of the Yarra River.

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