Taken from John Mellor's GoAuto E-News
Six and out!
HSV chief labels early FPV
success a flash in the pan
By MARTON PETTENDY
OUTSPOKEN Holden Special Vehicles
boss John Crennan has warned Ford is
undermining the viability of its hot cars
division, Ford Performance Vehicles, with its
strong focus on six-cylinder engines.
Speaking at last week’s launch of the
HSV Coupe 4, Mr Crennan claimed the XR6
Turbo was damaging FPV’s core business
– selling high-powered V8 Falcons – and
that FPV’s 2004 sales decline was due solely
to the turbo six.
In the latest pot-shot fired between the two
rival performance houses, Mr Crennan also
said FPV’s plans to sell a hyped-up version
of the XR6T called the F6 Typhoon from
November would further hurt the company’s
“The cake is only so big. And I could
be wrong, but I think it (F6) will put a lot
of pressure … on their GT and GT-P when
you look at their sales and see that this year
they’ve fallen back dramatically,” he said.
“Our major competitor – if I can be so
generous as to rate them that way – last year
started out well but the graphs have dropped
dramatically this year. So whether they just
filled a void for a while, I don’t know.”
Mr Crennan produced his startling view of Ford
and FPV’s sports market strategy while being
quizzed about the chances of re-entering the hot
six market now that Holden has launched the new
That car will be sold in both 175kW and 190kW
forms and there is capability for turbocharging.
Nevertheless, Mr Crennan shied away from any
suggestion HSV would re-enter a market it was last
in with the ill-fated XU-6.
“It (XU-6) didn’t do much. And I really find the
Ford business case interesting,” he said.
“They’re doing obviously a fabulous job with
their turbo (XR6). Last year they launched FPV in
March, they really only got cars on stream I suppose
around about May and between May and December
with GT and GT-P and Pursuit, they got up to 190
cars a month. They were also doing a spectacular
job on the six-cylinder turbo and I thought ‘Isn’t it
interesting – there may be room for all’.
“Since then they’ve sustained their volume on
turbo six, but V8 has dropped to hell.
“In other words, can your brand do everything
– can it have an outstanding six-cylinder product
that’s maximising its potential, then at the same
time can you do exactly the same with your V8
“And the way I’m leaning with the Ford business
case, which we’re looking at very closely, is that it
was good while the GT thing was fresh and new,
but it’s dropped and you’re throwing a lot of action
at the market – incentives, etcetera – to get that
“So if we had the choice of being able to say
we want to continue to be able to do 4000 to 4500
V8s (per annum) and compromise that by putting
in something that was pretty slick in the six, then
Mr Crennan was emphatic in his assertion HSV
would not develop another six-cylinder model in
“I put my hand on my heart when I say we do not
have anything in our business plan today that says
we’ll take the high-feature V6 and do something
with it,” he said.
Instead, Mr Crennan believes HSV has untapped
opportunities in the aftermarket area, using the
Alloytec V6 as one possible avenue.
“Since the emergence of our business we’ve
seen an enormous growth in other people, oneman-
bands, doing an HSV sort of thing in an
unsophisticated aftermarket manner and there’s
been big growth in that,” he said.
“And I suppose we’ve said to ourselves, ‘Do we
just continue to allow that to happen or do we get in
there?’ We certainly don’t want to remove the purist
nature of the HSV brand but as a company we are
certainly looking at some aftermarket or tuning
programs and I’m not dismissing the potential to
look at the high-feature V6 on a tuning basis.
“But if you asked me if we’ve ticked a single box
in that business plan process, no we haven’t.”