Lowndes drives Commodore sales
WHEN Craig Lowndes won Bathurst for the sixth time last month he ensured Holden will be looking for another limitededition celebration Commodore in 2016.
The sellout success of this year’s Lowndes-edition 6-litre V8 SS-V is certain to spark a showroom rush for another Commodore with a V8 Supercars connection.
The 249 Lowndes-mobiles sold out in record time and the eager drivers and collectors paid the full retail price of $60,190, a rarity in the discount-driven landscape of 2015.
Lowndes and his Bathurst partner Steven Richards have already made a celebration visit to Holden’s headquarters in Fishermans Bend with the Peter Brock Trophy, where hundreds of red lion staff queued for an autograph.
“The success and customer response to our sport model Commodores — SV6, SS, SS V and Redline — demonstrate that this group of enthusiast customers relate to performance and driving excitement and ontrack success contributes to that,” says Holden spokesman, Sean Poppitt.
“We’ve certainly got a few tricks up our sleeve to keep VFII fresh in the market but nothing specific to talk about now.”
The Lowndes connection is one of the most lucrative in motoring today, with Caltex turning him into the $6 million man of V8 Supercars racing. That’s the cost of creating a new TeamVortex entry for next year’s V8 Supercars series and applying the marketing muscle to turn “Captain Caltex” into the company’s new brand ambassador.
Holden has also linked its Sandman limited-edition ute and wagon to the race-based panel van created by the Triple Eight team that won Bathurst.
“It was my initiative to build the Sandman panel van, based on one of our old V8 Supercars. But Holden liked it and have used it a number of times,” says Triple Eight chief Roland Dane.
The bodywork for the Sandman van was done by Tom Grech, a young Holden designer who is also racing in Formula 4 in Australia.
“Holden were already doing their own thing and the two projects married together well,” Dane says.
But Holden is not relying solely on its V8 hero cars and V8 Supercars, even though around half of VFII Commodores are expected to be delivered with a V8 engine in 2016.
“We’re very proud of our racing success but it’s also just one part of our brand. We sponsor sport, lifestyle, design, film and even fashion projects so it’s about evolving the brand to ensure we speak to a range of Australians, not just motorsport fans,” says Poppitt.
“This means we need to talk to Australians from all walks of life and continue to evolve the brand to support our new model onslaught. So while motorsport remains important to us, it’s just one piece of the puzzle.”