Holden boss Denny Mooney has fuelled speculation that the next generation VE Commodore would spawn a convertible version of the Monaro coupe. Mr Mooney said North American demand for a convertible is very strong, and that Holden is well positioned to put a successful convertible business plan in place. He said that Holden's rear-wheel-drive architecture, which will be picked-up by other GM brands starting with Buick in 2007, makes a convertible "much more affordable" to design and develop, providing there is interest from more than one country. "The reality of a convertible is it's usually tough to make a business case work for just one country," Mooney said. "But that's the power of these global architectures. If you can get North America, Europe, Australia, whoever, interested in a convertible, you only have to design the structure once. "So from an engineering cost standpoint you can design and tool in one place, and recoup these costs over a number of markets. It makes a convertible program much more affordable. That's why I'm really glad we're sharing [the Monaro] with North America and the UK. It gives us extra volume and it gives us extra flexibility to do things like a convertible. And we couldn't afford to do it on our own." Plans for Holden to develop a Monaro convertible have the not insignificant support of Bob Lutz, General Motors' global product czar. Lutz, who was instrumental in getting the Holden Monaro coupe exported to the United States as the Pontiac GTO, has been previously quoted saying "(A convertible) is one of the things we're studying and it would be an interesting car obviously for both the US and Australia". Mr Lutz warned that a Monaro-based convertible would not be possible until GM's next generation global rear-wheel-drive architecture hits the ground. Interestingly, Holden owns and is leading the development of this multi-national platform, which will slot under the VE Commodore in 2006, and the Monaro. Before then, Holden will launch VZ Commodore and Monaro in August 2004 with a new five-speed automatic transmission and all-new V6 engine. Mr Mooney confirmed that the Holden Monaro, currently V8 only, would benefit from engineering and development work done for the Pontiac GTO. "Yes it will... over time. We'd love to have the GTO's exhaust over here. We're trying to find more ways to get more of this boomy character in our exhausts and still pass drive-by regulations." Holden will offer a slightly more powerful version of the Gen III 5.7-litre V8 in the VZ Monaro, to be launched in August 2004. It will also take advantage of fuel tank relocation work done for the GTO program to fit a dual exhaust system with a more provocative exhaust note. The 6.0-litre Gen IV engine, debuted earlier this year in the new Chevrolet Corvette in North America, is not likely for Australia before the VE Commodore in 2006.