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Holden's engineering turn-around a marketing tool

Market moves: Holden says the retention of its proving ground should help it attract sales.

Aussie-engineered vehicles to help build market share, says Holden

1 May 2014

HOLDEN’S strategy of maintaining a local suspension tuning arm beyond the end of manufacturing in 2017 is part of a grab for more market share in Australia, the car-maker has revealed.

GM International Operations president Stefan Jacoby said today that vehicles tuned specifically for Australian conditions were part of a wider strategy to build market share beyond the car-maker’s current 10.3 percent slice of the market.

“Over the last couple of months (since announcing the end of manufacturing in January) we have developed our strategy for Australia, and we see great opportunities within the global product program which we have in mind for Australia,” Mr Jacoby said.

“We are here from having a brand strategy over the last 10 years where we’ve lost market share.

“We believe that we can gain market share, market position, and with that kind of thought that we have in our strategy, we came up with we want to maintain our engineering and proving ground capabilities in Australia.” The revelation that Holden is using its proving ground pedigree to chase market share backs up comments made last month by newly appointed managing director Gerry Dorizas saying the car-maker wants to reclaim the top spot on the sales chart within three years of ending local Commodore and Cruze production.

“I think the strategy where we want to go is to go back to number one,” Mr Dorizas said at the time.

“Of course we need a product strategy which is being deployed. We need to focus together with the network, we need our focus as well.

“In a boxing match there are 12 rounds, we’re going through the eighth round and now we need to throw a punch ... market shares will start levelling out. We won't be 20 per cent, (but) 15 per cent for one brand maybe – everything will come closer together.

“We have what we need, we just need a product strategy for the future products, we’re covered well for products, we just need a little bit of time to focus and we will get there.

“It is a long way, at one particular time we wanted to save the factory, but now we have to re-focus. It will take time and a lot of work. The notion of ‘no worries mate’ is not the idea of how we work – we need credibility back. The mindset has already started changing.” Mazda, meanwhile, has tipped that Holden’s fight to reclaim the top spot from Toyota – the Japanese car-maker has consistently out-gunned Holden since it deposed the local car-maker in 2003 – will be a tough one.

“The (Australian market) dynamic will change (after 2017), because a lot of the fleet business side of things will change as there won’t be factories to feed,” Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders said.

“But in the end, you’re going to get market leadership with the right product that suits the market.

“What product do they not have now that’s suddenly going to change the dynamics from their perspective,” he said.

Mr Benders said the fleet market was changing from buyers choosing which cars were added to the pool of vehicles to “user-choosers” who were able to nominate which vehicle they wanted to drive, making them almost like private customers.

“That, together with this growth in user-chooser business as companies move away from having big fleets on their books we see as the fundamental dynamic that’s driving the market change, and that suits us to some extent,” he said.

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