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HSV happy with RHD Camaro 2SS price positioning

Converted Camaro 2SS exclusivity, uniqueness underpin value proposition: HSV

1 Oct 2018

HOLDEN Special Vehicles (HSV) has dismissed suggestions that the $85,990 before on-road costs pricetag of its re-manufactured Chevrolet Camaro 2SS is too expensive, with the company’s chief confirming that its margins on each example are low.


Speaking to journalists last week at the Camaro 2SS national media in Victoria, HSV managing director Tim Jackson said feedback had shown customers were undeterred by the sportscar’s premium positioning due to the precedent set by the company’s previous Commodore-based models.


“From our perspective, the buyer for this is the HSV and GM faithful,” he said. “We’ve had an enormous amount of feedback that with this sort of price point, they’re very comfortable to buy.


“In all honesty, we’ve had a similar-contented, V8, rear-wheel-drive vehicle in our range with very similar specification and been selling at that price point for a very long time. So, we’re pretty comfortable in that regard.


“We know we’re more expensive than Mustang ($65,990 BOCs), but our business model, our volumes are vastly, vastly different, and that’s driving the cost and recovery we need to make within a smaller volume.


“Our customers typically have (preferred) the exclusivity and the uniqueness, and that’s one of the value equations that we bring.”


Mr Jackson confessed that HSV does not stand to make much profit on the MY18 allocation of 550 units, but it is part of a broader, long-term effort to make the Camaro available to Australian buyers.


“The margin on this car, for us, is not great,” he said. “If I look at it as a system between Holden and ourselves, and also our dealer network, there’s a willingness and a desire for this product to be in the market and for customers to experience it. So, we’re all contributing to that exercise.


“If you just look at the top line and say ‘oh, that’s a fair bit more expensive than the Mustang’, you’ve got to take a step back and look at volumes and look at the business model that actually brings that.


“That business model actually allows you to go and do something else, and we’re not making any commitment to ZL1, but it gives us the opportunity to go and do a ZL1, which we wouldn’t normally have if you need to do 7000 units. You’re never going to sell that many.


“So, it has its value, which I think people will see down the track, (but) they may not see it immediately.”


HSV is considering re-manufacturing the Camaro’s 485kW/881Nm ZL1 flagship, but such a move would require the company’s first emissions program, among other challenges (see separate story).


Speaking to GoAuto, Mr Jackson indicated that the 339kW/617Nm 2SS offers plenty of bang for your buck when compared to higher-end European models, although it is within striking distance of being too expensive.


“We think we’re about where we can afford to be,” he said. “If we go too far north of that, then it starts to be a pretty big jump and people will go ‘does that really make sense?’ We think people will recognise that it’s still good value, to access that product.


“If you look at other two-door coupes in the marketplace that deliver that level of performance, if you have a slightly broader view, it does look like amazing value.”


When questioned why HSV’s MY18 allocation has been capped at just 550 units, Mr Jackson indicated that the company was cautious of going too hard too early with its right-hand-drive conversion program.


“It’s largely our ability to ramp up production,” he said. “We’re not trying to shoot for 2000 or 3000 units a year. That’s also something that our customers have fed back to us.


“Otherwise, we’re buying product nine months in advance and holding it for nine months, so it’s really a balancing act in that regard.”

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