Drive: Holden's excuse as to why they can't sell much to the taxi market
Why Holden prefers riding with the coppers
By Toby Hagon
Thursday September 19 2002
Police cars are good for brand image but taxis are bad, according to Holden.
Outlining the importance of brand values and buyer loyalty at the recent VY Commodore launch, Holden executive director of sales and marketing Ross McKenzie says taxis are not part of the company's focus.
"One thing we don't do at Holden, we don't do taxis," McKenzie says. "Now, I'm not picking on taxi drivers, but I've got to tell you that I know the image of taxis is detrimental to brand image."
There are a handful of Commodore taxis but most are Falcons, something McKenzie seems happy with. He believes often poorly maintained cabs are bad when it comes to customer perceptions.
As a result Holden also refuses to paint cars in "taxi yellow", as required for Melbourne taxis, instead forcing them to be resprayed ex-factory for the few that choose the Commodore option. It's ironic, then, that one of the most exclusive Holden Special Vehicles ever the GTS-R of 1995 was a match for taxi yellow.
Ford, on the other hand, produces a specific taxipack vehicle that can be easily fitted out for cabbies. However, Ford Australia president Geoff Polites says the company is not in a hurry to build a taxi pack for the upcoming BA Falcon. "We don't have any plans just yet to build a BA cab," Polites says, while also pointing out that most taxis are not bought new but are near-new exrental or fleet cars.
A spokeswoman for the Victorian Taxi Association did not want to get into a debate about various car makers, although she points out that taxis play an important role in the Australian economy.
Police cars, though, are another story when it comes to image, according to Holden marketing director John Elsworth.
"Having (Commodore) police cars on the road is a good thing," says Elsworth. "Police drive cars that handle and perform on the limit. That's why they drive Commodores."
Elsworth also says rental cars are a plus for Holden sales and the company's overall image. "Rental cars are very well maintained."
Wheels: 17" Series 1 XR
Exhaust: VCT with no resonators & 3" mandrel from mufflers back, dump pipe
Pacemaker headers (Waste of money).
Air Intake: T-Series, K&N Filter.
Brakes: Calipers painted red, DBA slotted rotors & Lucas pads.
Fuel: Dual Fuel.
Dyno: 143 rwKw (Dynodynamics - shootout mode).
Heathcote: 15.87 @ 89.1 Mph.