The countdown to the new Commodore has begun – it is just 10 days away from being unveiled – and Holden is letting fans try to piece together its appearance in an online jigsaw puzzle competition.
Holden will today launch an Australia-wide “scavenger hunt” having hidden 101 virtual jigsaw pieces “in real world and online locations”. The company is offering no more clues.
Players must register on a microsite (www.buildthecommodore.com.au) which will reveal clues each day to help punters find each piece of the cyber puzzle.
Each person who finds one of the 101 pieces of the puzzle and shares it online will be entered into a draw to win one of the first VF Commodores to roll off the production line in June this year, when the car is due to arrive in showrooms.
“The last time we launched a new Commodore, social media was in its infancy,” said Holden marketing director, Simon Carr. “Facebook and YouTube were not household names and mobile phones were for calls and texts.
“Fast forward seven years and most of us have a mobile device connected to the internet. Half of all Australians are Facebook users and social networking is ingrained in how we act as consumers.”
It is the first time Holden has used social media to preview a new Commodore. “What better way to re-launch an Australian favourite than engage our fans and enthusiasts in the hunt to create its first official image?” Carr said.
The competition opens today (Friday 1 February) but the first puzzle pieces will be released on Wednesday 6 February, with the competition concluding as the real-life car is revealed via a live webcast on the Holden website on Sunday 10 February.
Australians will see the new Commodore one week ahead of the North American reveal of the Chevrolet SS version. The Commodore will return to the US later this year as a Chevrolet after exports there stopped in 2009 in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis.
More than 41,000 Commodores were sold as Pontiacs between November 2007 and February 2009, almost equivalent to Holden’s annual sales of Commodore at the time – but the deal ended when the Pontiac brand was axed in the restructure of General Motors.
This time around, though, Holden has modest sales expectations for the Commodore in the US, planning to ship between 5000 and 10,000 cars a year, according to the former boss of Holden and now boss of GM in North America, Mark Ruess.
The VF Commodore is slated to be the last Commodore of all time after the first one replaced the Kingswood in 1978. The boss of Holden Mike Devereux told reporters at the Detroit motor show a fortnight ago that the homegrown favourite would be phased out in 2016 to make way for a new, as-yet unnamed model.
The Commodore was Australia's top-selling car for 15 years -- an all-time record -- but has been overtaken by the Mazda3 small car for two years running. Holden is hoping there will be a reversal of fortunes with the new model, which is due in showrooms in June.
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling