Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

Article excerpt

HOLDEN has taken the bold move of pricing its new ute at $2000 more than the market-leading Toyota HiLux.

Pricing starts at $26,990 for the single-cab-chassis 2WD powered by a 2.5-litre turbo-diesel backed by a five-speed manual transmission, and tops out at $51,990 for the luxury four-door 4WD ute with a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine with six-speed automatic transmission.

The new Colorado models are dearer than the ones they replace, and in some cases more costly than rivals, although the topline Colorado LTZ model is priced within $1000 of equivalent rivals.

The price premium at the cheaper end of the range is largely because all Colorados will come with six airbags and stability control. By comparison, the cheaper, base model HiLux only gets two airbags and anti-lock brakes.

The Holden move continues the dramatic improvement in standard safety equipment in the commercial vehicle market, with Ford, Mazda and Volkswagen all lifting the bar with their recent entries.

All new Colorados will also come with Bluetooth phone connectivity, a 3.5mm audio socket as well as a USB input and an iPod-compatible audio system, two 12-volt power sockets, and power windows. It is also the first mid-size pick-up with LED tail-lights

While the pricing will be a challenge for Holden dealers, their biggest problem is going to be supply. The worst natural disaster in Thailand for 50 years has left dealers high and dry of Colorado utes.

Holden will be faced with a two-month ablackouta of its workhorse as the Thailand factory recovers from last year's deadly floods.

The new model was supposed to be on sale by now, but instead won't arrive until late May or early June.

That means the car maker has run out of stock of the old model except for aa handfula still in dealerships.

aThere is a handful of Colorados around the country but, effectively, it's sold out,a Holden's executive director of sales and marketing, John Elsworth told Drive.

aWe will end up having a two-month stock blackout as we switch from the old to the new model.a

To stop buyers drifting to other brands, Holden has sent a fleet of 50 pre-production demonstrator vehicles to dealers across the country for customer test drives. …

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