Holden is struggling to keep up with unprecedented customer demand for its hottest ever Commodore, the SS V Redline, as waiting lists for some variants stretch out to 2014.
Despite commanding a $6000 premium over the 270kW 6.0-litre V8-powered Commodore SS V, the $51,490 Redline sedan is expected to account for almost one in two SS sales, says GM Holden's Marketing Manager for Large Cars and SUVs, Kristian Aquilina.
"More than 50 per cent of SS V sales [will be Redline]" says Aquilina, who revealed the pre-order bank for Holden dealers is so great that if you ordered a sedan today, "You'd struggle to get it in before the end of the year".
Holden's large vehicle marketing chief hinted that dealers are "able to do things with a solid order that can help fast track it, but we're talking a three month wait on average".
The new Redline model takes the same 270kW/530Nm V8 engine as the SS V, but is equipped with larger 355mm Brembo front brakes, split width tyres (wider at the rear) shod to forged 19-inch alloy wheels, track-tuned FE3 suspension, revised steering, and a new competition mode with launch control for manual models.
Redline variants also add a range of premium comfort features, plus a colour head-up display, and sedan models get a nine-speaker Bose premium stereo and sunroof.
Aquilina told motoring.com.au that "sedans are a bit tight, but certainly a ute or a wagon that's easier to do that".
"We've got this initial bubble and people have their very specific requests and that's what we're trying to meet at the moment," he says.
While the Redline is the best-steering Commodore Holden has ever made (stay tuned for our track test, or check out our road test) Aquilina says interest is high because the value equation has improved. Sales of the SS V now account for 80 per cent of all SS sales, he revealed.
"In the past for VE it was smaller but coming to VF the vast majority of SS V8 sales [are SS V]. Initially they're the numbers we're selling. It's massive. It's got a lot to do with [pricing for SS V].
"We sort of made it unthinkable not to get the SS V. Because if you come in on the SS, for three and half grand, you're getting a lot of kit to go up to the SS V. And then at that point you're thinking, 'Hmm, maybe a Redline is within reach...' It is seeming to work for us," he says, adding that more than half of those SS V customers will upgrade to the Redline.
"Typically we would have forecast a richer mix at the start, but we're actually outperforming that to the point now that we have to find a way to build more cars to meet the demand. So it's a good problem to have."
As the Commodore SS V and track-ready SS V Redline models fly out of Holden forecourts faster than they can be replenished by the factory, the new model hasn't caused any friction with HSV (Holden Special Vehicles) claims Aquilina, and won't eat into HSV sales.
"If you were to look at [Redline] and strip things back, I can see how people can come up with the view that there's crossover [with HSV] but I think in the consumers mind they see it as a very different opportunity to own an HSV."
"HSV buyers want an HSV. We're giving our loyal Holden buyers something special we haven't been able to give them before," says Aquilina.
Formerly GM Holden's Manager for Export Operations, Aquilina explains the tyre-frying Redline model was made possible due to the US-bound Chevrolet SS model.
"We've been able to do Redline because we've got this great program that we're doing to the US, that has enabled us to get broader volume on a range of hardware that we can then share across borders.
"So the Chevy SS program has been a big enabler for us to offer something different to our consumers that we haven’t been able to do before. It's probably something that HSV was typically known for that we've adopted, but they've moved the bar up as well, and their customers are responding to that."
"Sporty versions of our mainstream cars is something we continue to look at. It's part of the Holden DNA to offer that in our range," says Aquilina.
Holden Commodore SS V Redline pricing (not including on-road costs)
SS V Redline Sedan (manual) $51,490
SS V Redline Sedan (auto) $53,690
SS V Redline Sportwagon (auto) $55,690
SS V Redline Ute (manual) $48,990
SS V Redline Ute (auto) $50,690