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Fifth V8 manufacturer coming, says Skaife
Guy Hand
07:34 AEST Sat May 18 2013

Yet another manufacturer looks set to join V8 Supercars in 2014, with commission chairman Mark Skaife saying he expects a positive announcement by the end of this year.

American giant Chrysler is being heavily linked with upgrading its status from safety car supplier to a full-blown entry into next year's championship.

As the V8s make their American debut this weekend and buoyed by Nissan's promising start to life in the category, speculation is rife of talks between at least one existing team and Chrysler.

Chrysler were also linked with a possible 2013 entry, though it never progressed beyond the discussion point.

But that was before the V8s started what is a five-year deal to race in the US and the addition of Nissan and Mercedes.

Both may be game-changers for an American company trying to grow its brand in Australia.

"There's been a lot of discussion (last year) - some of it was quite public in terms of Chrysler," Skaife said about the prospect of additional manufacturers joining the series.

"With Nissan and Mercedes coming on board, we're certainly seeking another one or two really high-profile manufacturers."

Chrysler and stablemate Jeep have been actively trying to grow market share in Australia, with a major sponsorship of AFL club Richmond and several high-rotation advertising campaigns for their brands.

Ahead of the Austin 400, Skaife has warned any future international V8 expansion must be sustainable and sensible, not the rent-a-category model which took them to the Middle East amid sparse crowds and general apathy.

The five-time V8 champion says going where there are link-ups for sponsors and manufacturers is key to getting expansion right.

"Global recognition for the brand is important, especially as we seek other manufacturers to join V8 Supercar racing," Skaife said.

"If we had a Korean manufacturer, it would make sense to have a race in Korea.

"I know there's been plenty of discussions with Nissan about having a race in that part of the world.

"If you take it to places like Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, and you don't have people there who appreciate it, then it doesn't do the best thing for the business. Americans will love this sport."