V8 back in favour

Fuel sav­ings spur in­ter­est in hot Hold­ens, writes NEILMcDONALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

THE Holden heart­land is re­turn­ing to V8s af­ter last year’s sky-high fuel prices put a dam­per on sales. GM-Holden’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of sales and mar­ket­ing, Alan Batey, says the V8’s ac­tive fuel-man­age­ment sys­tem, in­tro­duced in Jan­uary, has helped spur in­ter­est.

But he con­cedes lower fuel prices com­ing off the highs of last year may also have helped.

‘‘There is re­ally not one sin­gle rea­son for the lift in V8 sales,’’ he says.

Batey says Holden’s AFM sys­tem has been well re­ceived. ‘‘It has mo­men­tum,’’ he says. Last month, GM-Holden sold 6570 Com­modore sedans, utes and wag­ons, in­clud­ing the long­wheel­base States­man and Caprice, and of those 1682 were V8s.

‘‘We’ve had good sales of V8s in the past two or three months, but in June we recorded 1682 V8 sales, the best V8 sales since Novem­ber 2004,’’ Batey says.

‘‘Pri­mar­ily they were au­to­mat­ics and we think one of the main rea­sons for that is the in­tro­duc­tion of AFM.’’

Holden says it could have sold more V8 Com­modores and States­mans, but stocks are run­ning low.

‘‘Our in­ven­to­ries are pretty tight,’’ Batey says.

Holden’s or­der bank is up 50 per cent com­pared with the same pe­riod last year, and Ford too is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in­creased traf­fic for its Fal­con mod­els, par­tic­u­larly the G-Se­ries cars.

AFM is only avail­able with au­to­matic-trans­mis­sion cars, but Batey cred­its the fuel-sav­ing tech­nol­ogy as hav­ing a pos­i­tive im­pact.

Holden says AFM can con­ser­va­tively save up to 1.0 litres for 100km on its 6.0-litre V8.

In past years, eight-cylin­der Hold­ens have ac­counted for 20 per cent of the mix of Com­modore and States­man sales.

A Holden V8 with AFM cuts the fuel sup­ply to four cylin­ders when coast­ing to im­prove econ­omy and lower emis­sions.

When it’s work­ing, mostly at con­sis­tent high­way speeds or coast­ing down hills, a ‘‘4-cyl mode’’ light il­lu­mi­nates in the car’s dash­board dis­play.

GM Holden’s AFM sys­tem is sim­i­lar to that used in other Gen­eral Motors ve­hi­cles, par­tic­u­larly its lux­ury Cadil­lac brand in North Amer­ica. GMuses the sys­tem in 15 of its North Amer­i­can mod­els with V6 and V8 en­gines.

Other brands, such as Honda and Chrysler, have sim­i­lar cylin­der de­ac­ti­va­tion sys­tems in their Ac­cord and 300C mod­els.

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