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Call to fit Commodore with run-flats

Flat out: Holden appears to have rejected run-flat tyres for its Commodore large car.

Tyre-maker challenges Holden to rethink its stance on traditional spare wheels

Holden logo29 Oct 2012

By BARRY PARK

A LEADING tyre company says Holden should stop fitting a spare wheel in the boot of its Commodore large car and instead fit it with run-flat tyres.

The national sales manager for Korean tyre-maker Hankook, Ray Barr, challenged Holden to become the first Australian marque to fit run-flat tyres to its cars, and add value to the once-proud best-seller instead of stripping it away.

“I think Commodore owners are ready for run-flat tyres,” Mr Barr told GoAuto at the launch of the Ventus Evo2, the company’s first performance tyre to also feature low-rolling-resistance rubber.

The tyre is available overseas as a run-flat, although only a conventional version will be offered in Australia for Commodore owners.

“Yes, we can do a run-flat (for the Commodore), but what we’ve got to keep in mind is that the Commodore is built at a pricing point that General Motors positions the car at, hence the different variants,” said Mr Barr.

“A run-flat tyre as a rule of thumb is 20 per cent heavier than its sister tyre (and) the extra cost in material adds to the price.

“Would a Holden Commodore person be prepared to pay an extra 20 per cent for the tyre? I believe they would.

“But I believe the key lies in General Motors Holden making a marketing decision to bring in a point of differentiation to be the first Australian-made car to (introduce) a set of … run-flats.”

Holden radically changed its thinking on spare tyres in 2009, offering Commodore buyers the choice of a full-size steel spare wheel or a tyre inflation kit that included a can of goo to seal the leak and an air compressor. A full-size spare tyre was previously a $250 option.

Holden says it looked at run-flat technology as part of the development cycle of the VE Commodore.

However, Mr Barr said his company has not talked with Holden about fitting run-flat rubber to the VF Commodore, which is due late next year.

The VF Commodore will introduce a raft of weight-saving technologies, including an aluminium bonnet and boot lid, to push fuel economy below the 8.9 litre per 100 kilometre combined fuel consumption figure for the current model.

Holden has indicated that weight savings should help the VF Commodore improve fuel economy by about 10 per cent to nudge it below 8.0L/100km.

Run-flat tyres have thicker sidewalls so the car can still be driven if the tyre deflates, although at much lower speeds and over very limited distances.

Car-makers including BMW and Mini use the potentially safer tyre technology across almost their entire model line-ups.

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