Holden strikes on LPG front
Gassed Commodores priced to be winners, write NEIL McDONALD and PAUL GOVER
AN LPG battle is bubbling as GM Holden cuts the cost of a gas-powered Commodore to attack Ford’s Falcon. dedicated E-Gas Falcon XT starts from $37,890 and, with 10 LPG models, the G6E tops the batting at $48,390.
But Holden is going in harder and will have a 60th anniversary Commodore sedan running on LPG from $33,990, with running costs it believes will rival a Toyota Corolla.
The Red Lion will have LPG in the Omega and Berlina sedans and the Omega ute. And, just as Ford now sells 25 per cent of its Falcons with the E-Gas pack, it is expecting a significant sales boost.
The bottom line on the Holden move is a $1500 price cut on its dualfuel LPG cars from September 1.
Holden says LPG is becoming popular as a fuel choice with private customers and company fleets.
‘‘It already has an established infrastructure,’’ Holden spokesman John Lindsay says.
He emphasises the short payback time on an LPG buy, particularly with the Federal Government rebate.
‘‘We estimate that to recoup that money will take four months. The payback on the ute is a little longer at 11 months,’’ he says.
But LPG is just one plank of GMHolden’s alternative fuel push, which includes E85 ethanol fuel and compressed natural gas.
‘‘A lot of our range of solutions for alternative fuels and technology are still going to be aimed at our local production of a large car,’’ GM Holden chairman Mark Reuss says.
Reuss believes there is a role for the large car because of its flexibility, particularly with families who could not choose a small car.
‘‘It’s a real important ability to be able to carry people and be comfortable,’’ Reuss says.
He disagrees with the idea that large cars have fallen out of fashion with buyers, many of whom are increasingly moving to off-roaders.
‘‘In June we still had the best selling car in Australia,’’ he says.
GM-Holden has sold 737 factoryfitted LPG Berlina and Omega cars with dual fuel this year. July was the strongest month, with 185 sales. But that’s only about 5 per cent of total Berlina and Omega sales.
LPG costs about 65 cents a litre, compared with about $1.50 for petrol.
Working for the money: the Commodore VE Omega ute will be offered as an LPG option.