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Money-back on Epica
Holden offers a money-back guarantee for its Korean Epica - with strings attached
3 May 2007
HOLDEN has embarked on a radical campaign to win custom for its new medium-sized Epica sedan, announcing a money-back guarantee on the car at its launch last week.
Denying the deal was prompted by concerns potential buyers might have with purchasing a South Korean-built vehicle, GM Holden marketing director John Elsworth said the guarantee was intended to give people "confidence" in the car.
"People buy (according to) brands, not where a car is made," Mr Elsworth said. "We just surveyed 100 Captiva owners (and) where it was built was just not an issue. It doesn’t even come into the buying process.
"(But) sometimes with new names, sometimes people can be a bit wary and this is just to give them the confidence that it is a great car and it has the backing of Holden," he said.
Covering Epica purchases between now and the end of the year, the guarantee is valid for up to 1500km or 30 days.
Dissatisfied customers can return it for a full refund within that period, however, the fine print reveals that in order to collect the refund customers must show evidence that they have entered into a contract to purchase another new car of equal or greater value.
A Holden spokesman told GoAuto this week that this stipulation was added to prevent people abusing the offer.
"It is important to make sure that people don’t just borrow a car for a month, using it as a free rental car," he said.
The deal has precedents in Australia and for General Motors in other countries. Holden introduced a similar program in 1989 when it launched the Toyota-sourced Nova and Apollo.
According to Mr Elsworth, GM also introduced a similar deal when launching the Epica in Europe – and found few people returned the car. Of those that did, he said their reasons usually related to minor issues like the choice of colour.
"It is minimal – it is a handful of cars and most people (then) go and buy another GM product in the range," he said.
Holden readily admits that it needs to win the hearts and minds of Toyota Camry owners, and overturn entrenched buying patterns in favour of cars such as the Mazda6 and Subaru Liberty, to achieve its internal sales targets.
"To be quite honest with you, in this segment there are some very loyal customers to Toyota, Mazda and Subaru and sometimes you need to do things a bit differently," Mr Elsworth said.
"Our forecast isn’t to grow the mid-size segment. It (Epica) is just another entrant or competitor in the category... (and) if you are not going to grow the segment you have to fight to take your sales off others."
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