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Holden changes tack for Euro models

Reaching out: Opels cost less with Holden badges but require a new marketing approach to find the right customers, says Holden.

European-sourced Holdens target new audience with fresh marketing approach

1 May 2015

WITH the arrival of two new sports models, Holden has kicked off its plan to source 30 per cent of the local line-up from Europe by 2020, but the program requires a whole new marketing strategy to capture a fresh audience, according to the brand.

Holden's Cascada four-seat convertible and Astra three-door hatchback are the first Euro models, but in July the latter will get a “very different” promotional campaign as part of a strategy to attract the attention of new customers.

Where the existing local range will continue to rely on more conventional advertising practices, Holden says the growing line-up of Euro models will “evolve” the brand after local production ceases in 2017 accompanied by more modern promotion.

Speaking at the launch of the Astra and Cascada, Holden marketing communications general manager Teresa Basile said that for the new European models to reach their target customers, an unorthodox campaign was necessary.

“In essence Astra and Cascada allow us to talk to new audiences and keep evolving the Holden brand,” she said.

“To connect with the Astra audience we felt from the marketing point of view, we needed to think outside the box and develop a campaign that was quite special and unique.

“We have a big idea in progress and we will launch the campaign in July with what will be a very different approach to advertising for Holden.”

While Ms Basile could not reveal details, she could confirm the advertisements would be “very targeted,” appearing on digital and social media, broad-reaching outdoor advertising, several female magazine titles as well as Foxtel's Fashion Blogger TV show.

The show's presenter Amanda Shadforth has signed up as the Cascada's ambassador.

General Motors attempted to sell the Astra Down Under badged as an Opel, but for its return the company is planning to attract more attention with price reductions in addition to the unique campaign.

The second part of the interest-generating strategy has been to cut between $1800 and $5000 from the price of the Astra GTC, GTC Sport and VXR range.

At the presentation of the new sporty pair, GM Holden executive director of sales Peter Keley said Opel-sourced vehicles wearing lion badges are better equipped and better value.

“The Opel products were generally specced lower, and they had a significant variety of options. We haven't gone down that path as Holden,” he said.

“With our understanding of the Australian consumer we've packaged the best specification we can and limited the number of options.

“One of the benefits of coming under the Holden brand is that we can spread the costs of a business over a far greater volume of vehicles. The cost allocation per vehicle is a lot less.

“That enables you to price the vehicles in the market place at a much more attractive price point.”

Unlike the Opel brand which required massive investment to establish in the Australian market, Holden needs no introduction, further lowering the cost of introducing new vehicles, which can be passed on to customers.

The new Astra range kicks off with the $26,990 GTC manual and tops out at $39,990 for the explosive VXR hot hatch, while the Cascada drop-top costs $41,990. Prices are before on-road costs.

Next off the European production line will be the Insignia VXR mid-size performance sedan with an Australian arrival expected in the second quarter of this year.

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