I asked an Aussie here in the office about Bathurst earlier today. His only reply was “Holden forever.” Indeed. The Ford Falcon, however, is not forever.
This year was also the first year without an Australian-built Holden, though Holden was still there, with a Commodore-shelled import. Ford’s switching to all Mustangs next year, while Holden is pondering whether to go all in on the Chevy Camaro, which they’ve so far been reluctant to do because it’s a Camaro and not a Holden. And, you know, Holden forever.
News.com.au reports, meanwhile, that the Ford-Holden sales rivalry is now largely an afterthought, since Toyota has pretty much taken over with the all-consuming Camry.
Market research expert David Chalke says “ancestral tribal loyalties” have race fans still cheering for Ford and Holden — even if the family car these days is neither.
“It’s a bit like when people fill out their religion on a Census form. They tick the box and say they’re religious but the last time they went to church was when they were baptised,” says Chalke, the principal of Strategy Planning Group, a market research firm that monitors changing consumer attitudes.
“Most fans own SUVs and double-cab utes but they still feel a connection to the Ford versus Holden battle and will identify with either brand even if they no longer own one,” says Chalke.
This makes it difficult for other car companies to enter the sport because there’s no guarantee it will translate into an increase in sales.
Volvo left the V8 Supercar series at the end of 2016 — notching up eight wins in three years — after showroom sales didn’t spike.
Australia doesn’t make cars anymore, having built it’s last Holden last year. But that doesn’t mean this rivalry has to die. Holden forever.