Holden’s new marketing boss Kristian Aquilina has stressed the importance of Supercars to the brand, labelling it a key platform for the future of the company.
Aquilina attended the recent Watpac Townsville 400 – his first Supercars event since taking over the marketing role previously held by Mark Harland.
The former managing director of Holden New Zealand, Aquilina takes the helm as the company continues to undergo significant change following the end of local manufacturing.
Aquilina has made clear its major Supercars presence, which includes backing of factory squad the Red Bull Holden Racing Team, is a fundamental part of its marketing mix.
“From a Holden perspective we're very, very committed to motorsport,” he said.
“There have been a lot of changes at Holden, we're going through a change as an organisation and a brand.
“Motorsport continues to play an important role in defining what it is that we stand for as a brand.
“For some people out there, it's a demonstration of what we do, what's different about Holden compared to other car companies out there.
“It's a great part of our heritage of motorsport, success on the track, 70 years of developing cars in this country.
“[We have] continued investment in developing cars in Australia, for Australians, which happen to be produced in many places around the world.
“We're able to understand Australian drivers perhaps better than anyone because we're investing in design and engineering here like no-one else does.
“That, combined with our involvement in the sport, underpins what Holden needs to be in the future.”
Aquilina emphasised that a racing presence is particularly important as the company tries to incite passion for the new, imported Commodore among buyers.
“We talk to our customers and they're pretty passionate people,” he said.
“When it comes to Commodore, it's not a five-out-of-10 car. It's either one out of 10, or 10 out of 10.
“There's a real passion around it. If that's what we're about, the marketing needs to support that. It's all about proving that we live up to the promise.
“What better way to demonstrate what we're capable of, in terms of that knowledge of Australian drivers, and demonstrating what we can do at the limit than motorsport?
“It becomes a really important part of the mix.”
The ZB Commodore hatchback introduced this year will next season come up against Supercars’ first two-door, the Ford Mustang.
While Holden has given permission for HSV to investigate developing a Camaro for the category, Aquilina says his brand’s commitment is firmly around Commodore.
“We're happy to see that play out, and put in our best effort with Commodore,” he said when asked of the Mustang’s arrival.
“Our commitment to the sport and our future is around Commodore. That's an important car to us, so I'm excited as to how it plays out. It adds a new dimension to the sport. Bring it on.
“There's nothing wrong with the way the Commodore is performing out there. We're pretty excited about what it brings.
“If that's part of the competitive strategy of our opponents, we're ready to take on whatever is thrown at us.”