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Holden confident of sales turnaround this year

Uplift: Holden is predicting a change in fortunes in 2019, hoping to increase its sales after years of falling numbers.

Holden aims to end sales downturn with fresh focus on model line-up, fleet deals

22 Feb 2019

HOLDEN believes its sales downturn is coming to an end and that the company will stop the flow of red ink and post its first positive annual result this year since 2010.
 
Speaking to GoAuto at a media event at the company’s Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria this week, GM Holden director of sales Peter Keley said the company expects to stop the rot in 2019, following a massive 32.7 per cent plunge in sales last year to 60,751 units – its first full year as a full-import brand following the closure of its local car manufacturing operations in October 2017.
 
As part of its turnaround strategy, Holden has just launched a new campaign to promote its range of SUVs, which it expects will overtake passenger cars in popularity for the first time in the lion brand’s history. 
 
Mr Keley said he expected the brand’s growth to come mainly from its SUV and light-commercial vehicle ranges, but saw opportunity across all model lines.
 
“I think we’ve said today we want to see growth this year,” he said. 
 
“We haven’t said by how much, we never talk about a volume target, and as I also said in my presentation, we will get to a stage where you’ll see year-on-year growth in 2019.
 
“Because we want numbers that don’t need explaining. You look at the VFACTS (industry results), and you’ll be able to see, ‘Yep, Holden grew versus last year.’
 
“I don’t want you to (have to) delve into the numbers (to find growth), I want you just to know, ‘VFACTS is out, Holden is up.’ And we will do that at some point this year.”
 
Asked to nominate specific models, Mr Keley said he expected the sales growth of Holden’s SUVs to occur at different rates, with some lines such as the new Acadia large SUV to pick up following supply constraints.
 
“We’re definitely growing, without a shadow of a doubt,” he said. “Our Equinox, Trax, Trailblazer, in fact all of the SUVs, we’re looking for growth out of all of those cars. 
 
“It will happen by different degrees as such, but we think they’ve all got upside and it all come back down to: we need to make Holden more of a destination for SUVs.
 
“Then the individual parts of the brand will be rolled out over a period of time. We also have some (issues) – like on Acadia, that car is doing exceptionally well for us and also for GM, so we’re a bit volume constrained on that. 
 
“So you won’t see that really start to hit its straps for a maybe a few more months. But that’s on the back of a volume constraint.”
 
Mr Keley identified some ‘green shoots’ of growth for Holden late last year and in January, such as Holden’s overall market share increasing by one per cent in the final quarter of 2017 compared to the third quarter.
 
He also said that from December to January, private Holden SUV sales increased 50 per cent, compared to an average growth across the industry of eight per cent.
 
One area that Holden will focus on to increase its sales is through fleet deals, with the company introducing a new fleet pricing structure for its customers starting from March 1.
 
Holden will introduce four different tiers of membership, called Silver Club, Gold Club, Platinum Club and Diamond Club, which streamlines its fleet pricing structures and gives customers different benefits depending on membership level.
 
While not singling out one particular model, Mr Keley said there was room for each one of Holden’s offerings to grow.
 
“Every car, you’re always looking for sales potential and upside,” he said. “You never stop trying with any car. 
 
“So we’ve focused today on SUVs, the same goes for Colorado, we’re looking for growth in Colorado, we’re looking for growth in Commodore and we’re looking for growth in Astra as well. 
 
“We’re not resting on our laurels with anything, as a challenger brand you’ve got to make the most out of every car line you can.”

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