V8 back in favour
Fuel savings spur interest in hot Holdens, writes NEILMcDONALD
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.