SPORT­BACK MUS­CLES-UP AGAINST A-CLASS AND 1 SE­RIES

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@cars­guide.com.au

THE vi­ral on­line reaction to sketches of the VF Monaro re­flect the pas­sion that re­mains for the Holden brand, says its newly ap­pointed de­sign di­rec­tor.

Richard Fer­lazzo says Holden’s strength is in main­tain­ing in­ter­est in its prod­ucts among the pub­lic and its per­son­nel, but in the case of the Monaro, it went over­board.

“The Monaro sketches were to­tally blown out of pro­por­tion. You’ve got to re­mem­ber it­was a cou­ple of guys work­ing af­ter hours muck­ing about and hon­ing their skills. Thiswas not a pro­ject that was re­quested or sanc­tioned,” Fer­lazzo says.

“It­was shown just for fun be­cause peo­ple al­ways ask but with so­cial­me­dia to­day things get blown out of pro­por­tion very quickly. What it re­ally shows is how much in­ter­est there is in the brand with a sketch like that… but any sen­si­ble per­son would know that, this long into its life-cy­cle, we wouldn’t be en­ter­tain­ing it.”

Fer­lazzo knows a bit about con­cepts: He’ styled the rad­i­cal pur­ple-painted Efijy. That car won fans when shown at the 2005 Aus­tralian Mo­tor Show and­was judged by global me­dia as the out­stand­ing con­cept car at the 2007 Detroit show.

“I’m equally proud of other prod­ucts, es­pe­cially Sport wagon, which­was be­ing de­vel­oped at the same time. It’s a bal­ance ... away of show­ing what we can do with­out con­straints and that we can also cre­ate at­trac­tive, prag­matic ve­hi­cles.”

Fer­lazzo won’t be drawnon the fu­ture of the Com­modore be­yond the VF, but says the car still has a place in deal­er­ships.

“You only have to look at a 5 Se­ries BMW... it’s the most as­pi­ra­tional sedan in the world. We’ve got one within a whisker of it at a frac­tion of the price, so you can’t tell me (the VF) is ir­rel­e­vant, it’s just the mar­ket­place here that’s small.”

Fer­lazzo should know. The 25-year Holden vet­eran was re­spon­si­ble for ex­te­rior styling on the VT Com­modore and had over­all re­spon­si­bil­ity for the VE and VF. Hewas also in­volved in de­vel­op­ing the look of the V2 Monaro and Pon­tiac GTO.

Holden says Fer­lazzo’s new role in­volves “ad­vanced, pro­duc­tion and global con­tract pro­grams”. That means he will over­see ev­ery­thing from con­cept cars and ve­hi­cles in­tended for lo­cal con­sump­tion to help­ing with the de­sign of Buick, GMC, Chevro­let and the Chi­nese-based Shang­hai GM joint ven­ture mod­els.

The down­side is it means he will spend more time in meet­ings than he does be­hind the tablet.

Style and sub­stance: Richard Fer­lazzo

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