Holden Statesman is dead

words - Joshua Dowling
Long live Caprice - Series II update splits luxury flagship into two new models, the Caprice and the top-spec Caprice V

Holden has axed the Statesman nameplate after 39 years of service.

The first Holden Statesman was a variant of the HQ Kingswood built in 1971. The last Holden Statesman rolled off the Adelaide production line unceremoniously last month.

Instead Holden has split its flagship limousine into two models: the Caprice and Caprice V.

The Caprice nameplate enjoyed a resurgence when the new model was released four years ago; Holden slashed the price and made it more affordable.

But it seems that Holden made the Caprice too accessible, and most buyers found the few extra dollars a week on lease repayments to get themselves into the pride of the Holden fleet.

Sales of the Statesman fell by a massive 67 per cent in 2009 compared with the previous year, and so far this year sales are down by almost 30 per cent – even compared to last year's poor tally.

Indeed, the Caprice has outsold the Statesman almost three-to-one for the past few years.

Speaking at the launch of the Series II Caprice in Melbourne this morning (Tuesday 31 August, 2010) Holden executive director of sales and marketing, John Elsworth, said: "Market research consistently told us that the Caprice nameplate, with its definite sports luxury character, appealed to a far broader customer base.

"We believe that presenting a choice of two models which share the same strong brand appeal but differ in specification, will now make the step-up to Caprice from the Calais V a more natural move for many buyers.

"These customers readily identify Caprice as a prestige offering – they don't see the point of paying extra for a European price tag."

The Series II Caprice gains the same new features as the rest of the Series II Commodore range.

In addition to Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and built-in hard-drive for up to 15 music CDs, the Series II Caprice gets the Holden iQ touch screen system with navigation and rear camera as standard.

However, only the 6.0-litre V8 is E85 compatible. The 3.6 V6 Caprice won't be E85-ready until this time next year.

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