Torque gets heated
By James Stanford
05 November 2004
THE leaders of the Australian muscle car industry have clashed over the arrival of a Ford turbo blaster.
The head of Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV), David Flint, and boss of Holden Special Vehicles, John Crennan, have spoken out against each other's brands as FPV releases the new F6 Typhoon. The Typhoon is a turbo-charged six-cylinder Falcon, which will be sold alongside the GT Falcon.
Crennan says the arrival of the powerful six-cylinder model will confuse the brand image of FPV, while HSV is a clearly a V8-only brand.
"I consider our branding and our vision and our plan to be very pure. The essence of good marketing is purity, and to a certain extent simplicity, and I look at the Ford side of things and I see something that is more confusing," Crennan says. "Is it Tickford? Is it FTE? Is it FPV? Is it FPR? Is it six-cylinder? Is it eight-cylinder? Is it supercharged?"
FPV has introduced a new slogan, Performance Inc, to incorporate the introduction of a turbo six-cylinder car next to its V8 GT models.
Flint says FPV does not have to stick to building V8 cars. "We are not the GT or V8 car company," Flint says. "We are the pre-eminent performance car company in Australia. That frankly means we are free to do anything we like."
Flint says overall performance is more important than the amount of cylinders.
"The business I am in is to develop performance motoring for whoever wants to be a performance motorists. If it was a four-cylinder, six-cylinder, five-cylinder, I don't frankly care, as long as we have got a performing chassis and drive-train is all that matters," he says.
Flint disagrees with Crennan's comments about the negative impact the six-cylinder Typhoon might have.
"I have a lot of time for John, he is an outstanding manager and a superb marketer. In this instance, though, I think he is not right," Flint says.
"John believes that V8 is the pinnacle of all of it and we disagree."
Flint also attacked the new 6.0-litre HSV GEN IV engine, which has slightly more power and torque than the FPV Boss V8 in the GTs.
"Our V8 is a very hi-tech double overhead camshaft multi-valve engine, to me that is a more technical solution than an old push-rod engine (HSV GEN IV), but that's the way he (John) chooses to go and good luck."
Crennan says consumers have the final say. "All I know is that for every 10 cars we sell, they sell three - and I'll let the numbers do the talking."