Tony O'Kane | Jul 10, 2009

AFTER THE SHOCK-WAVES of the global financial crisis hit, followed by a world oil price that first fell but has since marched skyward, many tipped that the days of the big Aussie V8 were numbered.

Not so, apparently.

Last month, Holden sold a sizeable 1682 V8-powered vehicles - the best monthly sales figure since November 2004; an achievement Holden attributes to its new fuel-saving Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation system.

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The AFM system shuts down half of the engine's eight cylinders during highway cruising and prolonged deceleration, and Holden claims that it can save up to 1.0l/100km off the fuel economy rating of a car equipped with a non-AFM engine.

AFM is currently only available on cars fitted with an automatic transmission, however with the majority of Holden V8s being optioned with a slushbox, thats no big issue.

With 6570 Commodores and Statesmans sold last month, V8 sales accounted for 25.6 percent of Holden's large-car sales. The Australian automaker's bent-eight models have always been popular, but last month's numbers are a solid improvement over the 20 percent share those models usually command.

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It's such an improvement that inventory for V8-equipped Commodores and Statesmans is running low. Demand is steadily outstripping supply and Holden's order books are 50 percent fuller than the same time last year.

In a world increasingly fixated on alternative fuels, hybrid motors and super-compact city cars, V8 enthusiasts are still prepared to open their wallets to capture the singular joy of a V8 on song.

With Holden's AFM technology now delivering considerable fuel-efficiency and emissions gains, it seems the V8 will remain a powerful force in the Australian industry for a good while yet.

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