We need a Kath & Kim Cruze
WHERE are the gun automotive marketing folk of yesteryear? In times past, all it took was a hint of a trend before hotshot marketing divisions applied them to a special model— that special model usually being something basically standard, except with a layer of trend du jour.
For example, in 1995 we had the Greg Norman signature edition of Holden’s Statesman. Launched at the peak of Norman’s fame, this luxobarge featured not only several Norman badges but also a set of Royal St George golf clubs in the boot. Peak examples sold new for nearly $60,000 but four years ago a Queenslander reported online that he’d picked one up for just $3000.
Remember when runners first became a big deal? In 1990, Nissan cashed in on jogging chic with the $16,000 hatchback Pulsar Reebok.
In 1992 I was after test cars. Holden’s helpful PR person had a just-released Barina Sportsgirl, coated in multicoloured Sportsgirl graphics. Offer politely declined.
The Carla Zampatti signature Ford Lasers were such a sales success in 1985 that other Zampatti Fords followed. Some are still with us, as an online testament last month indicates: ‘‘ Basically got this for $600 and replaced the battery, did a service and tune and have a reliable little car.’’ Viva Carla.
So where are the current trend cars? Surely at least one manufacturer could deliver some subversive cool with a Julian Assange stealth edition.
Or something with Twitter trademarks, or an appropriately feminine urban runabout in Fifty Shades of Grey?
Until car makers return to trend marketing, they’ll continue losing sales to a brand that for decades has profited from lifestyle identification. VWjust can’t help shifting record numbers of Golfs.
GREEN HELL GREENING
GERMANY’S terrifying treelined Nurburgring race track, nicknamed the ‘‘ green hell’’ by ex-F1 champion Jackie Stewart, is popular for highperformance road car testing.
Most manufacturers turn up with ever-larger and more powerful models, but Ford recently took the opposite approach. Blue oval engineers bolted a 1.0 litre three-cylinder turbo EcoBoost engine to a slim-framed open-wheeler and let the device loose on the green hell’s 174 curves.
The result: a seven-minute, 22-second lap— faster, says Ford PR, than anything achieved by a Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari Enzo or Pagani Zonda.
More impressively still, Ford’s one-off hell-beater was in road-legal trim.