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.
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.
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.