Lown­des drives Com­modore sales

The Advertiser - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - PAUL GOVER CHIEF REPORTER

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 dis­count­driven 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 on- track 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.”

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