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Holden finishes 2017 with a big sales push

Wheels and deals: A registered Holden Astra LS automatic sedan on a Melbourne Holden dealership forecourt priced at $18,990 driveaway.

After losing sales all year, Holden makes up some ground in December

4 Jan 2018

HOLDEN has finished 2017 with a bang, recording a massive December sales spike of 12,179 units after forcing the market with retail offers, new models and dealer incentives.

The December haul was 57.7 per cent ahead of its December 2016 tally and pushed Holden to second on the overall sales chart last month behind market leader Toyota which had 17,081 sales.

The last time Holden exceed 12,000 sales in a single month was back in June 2014 when it recorded 12,332 units.

Holden’s Astra small car was easily its best-selling model last month, with 3532 examples sold, enough to ensure it was the second best-selling vehicle in Australia last month after the Toyota HiLux that found 3949 homes.

The new-generation Astra that was launched a year ago had a slow start due to the delayed rollout of automatic versions of two model grades, while the sedan didn’t arrive until June. The Sportwagon version went on sale last month.

Holden communications director Anna Betts told GoAuto that the strong December result was due to a number of programs the company had rolled out to ensure it ended the year on a high.

“We had made no apologies that we were going to be really competitive in the market and we wanted to have a really strong finish in the final quarter of the year,” she said.

“We had a couple of programs as part of that. We had the special seven-year warranty, dealer incentives and competitive Astra pricing that was part of that push. You can see, especially with Astra, there was definitely that spike there.”

The Astra is being offered on Holden’s consumer website from $21,990 driveaway for the base R manual hatchback, while the LS manual sedan is $20,990 driveaway.

Holden chairman and managing director Mark Bernhard told journalists at the Equinox SUV media launch in late November that the company would experience further growth in December, following several months of sales declines in the first three quarters of the year.

Holden’s website shows a number of 2017 plate offers for virtually its entire model range, except the Trax crossover.

When asked if Holden had arranged for dealers to register vehicles in December, Ms Betts said: “Our dealers have been supportive in helping us to move some excess stock so we are set up for the January-February period.”

In its first full month on sale, the new Equinox mid-size SUV found 679 homes, adding new volume to Holden’s sales tally.

Ms Betts said the company was pleased with the early response to its new Mazda CX-5 rival, but added that there was opportunity for further growth.

“There was some really strong and positive media reviews so I think that certainly helped,” she said. “We feel like once we get the full advertising support behind Equinox we will really start to see that move. But we have been happy with that so far.”

Holden’s overall 2017 sales total was 90,306, down 4.2 per cent compared with its 2016 result. It retained its fourth placing behind Hyundai (97,013) and ahead of Mitsubishi (80,654) which leapfrogged Ford for fifth spot.

Along with the Astra, the Colorado pick-up had a huge December, with 4x2 sales increasing by 154 per cent and 4x4 versions up by 167 per cent, helping push Colorado 2017 sales to 2472 units (+24.6 per cent) and 19,107 (+16.8 per cent) respectively.

The related Trailblazer also had a strong December, lifting by 160 per cent, and sales of the ageing Captiva grew by 10.7 per cent, while the Australian-built Commodore had a final boost of 4.6 per cent compared with the same month in 2016.

Only the Astra, Trailblazer and Colorado were in positive territory when it come to year-to-date sales, with all other Holden models – including the Spark, Barina, Caprice, Commodore and Commodore Ute – losing ground in 2017.

Holden discontinued a number of models in 2017, including the Astra Sport, Cascada, Insignia, Cruze and Malibu.

The car-maker transitioned from an Australian manufacturer to a full-line importer in October after its closed local production facilities.

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