Stalled on the grid

Herald Sun - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE CONFIDENTIAL - Twit­ter: @PaulWardGover

THE days of Sun­day win­ning and Mon­day selling are long gone.

Was there a show­room surge in Holden deal­er­ships af­ter the Bathurst 1000 last week­end?

Did the vast ma­jor­ity of Aus­tralians know, or even care, that Craig Lown­des took his sixth vic­tory at Mount Panorama with Steven Richards in a Com­modore? The an­swers are no and no. And you only have to look at the num­bers from the Mount Panorama week­end to see V8 Su­per­cars rac­ing is more about en­ter­tain­ment than the car com­pany mar­ket­ing and pro­mo­tion that worked so well from the 1960s to the ’90s.

The crowd at Bathurst, as mea­sured by V8 Su­per­cars, was the sec­ond-best on record at 201,416.

It also claimed seven-fig­ure view­ing num­bers for the tele­vi­sion cov­er­age in­clud­ing “an av­er­age 2.1 mil­lion view­ers … over each of the six hours on Net­work Ten and Fox Sports”.

Yet the com­bined sales of the five name­plates on the grid at Bathurst for The Great Race — Mercedes E63, Nissan Al­tima, Volvo S60, Ford Fal­con and Holden Com­modore — barely com­bine in any month to ri­val the in­di­vid­ual to­tal of the Toy­ota Corolla or Mazda3.

If you take out the Com­modore, which is still do­ing well as a V8 in the face of Holden’s fac­tory shut­down, the num­bers look dis­mal.

Volvo sales have not been re­motely im­proved by V8 Su­per­cars rac­ing, MercedesBenz has no in­ter­est and the Nissan Al­tima is barely tick­ing over in Aus­tralia.

Holden is still spend­ing on rac­ing, and Nissan is mak­ing a big ef­fort, but the other car­mak­ers are not ex­actly us­ing V8 Su­per­cars as the pivot point for their mar­ket­ing pro­grams.

That’s why big brands led by Toy­ota and Lexus but also in­clud­ing Audi, BMW and Jaguar, have de­cided against get­ting in­volved in V8 Su­per­cars rac­ing.

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