Stalled on the grid
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, Mercedes- Benz 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.