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Holden looks to increase brand consideration

Spotlight: Holden will use the majority of its 2019 marketing budget to shine the spotlight on its range of SUVs in order to create product awareness.

Sales recovery to start with greater customer consideration of models: Holden

25 Feb 2019

HOLDEN has identified the need to improve consumer knowledge of its current product range – particularly its SUVs – as a crucial element in its quest to bring more prospective buyers into showrooms and reverse its current sales downturn.
The embattled lion brand this week launched a new ‘This is how we SUV’ marketing campaign to build awareness of its SUV nameplates and help the company achieve a targeted four per cent increase in SUV sales to 35 per cent of its overall volume. 
Holden’s Colorado ute is expected to also make up 35 per cent of the brand’s total sales, leaving passenger cars – which last year accounted for 38 per cent – at a much lower 30 per cent this year, pushing what has long been Holden’s strong suit behind SUVs for the first time in its history. 
In overall terms, Holden is now expecting to reverse its 33 per cent sales freefall last year and return to growth, improving on the historic low figure of 60,751 units posted in its first year out from local manufacturing. 
The new SUV marketing campaign recognises the fact that the company has a number of relatively new nameplates in the sector and only managed 18,763 sales in 2018 – well behind the combined SUV sales from rivals like Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Hyundai and Honda.
Of its SUV portfolio, the longest-lasting nameplate is the Trax small SUV, which launched in Australia in September 2013. 
Along with small SUVs, the two other most popular SUV segments are medium and large SUVs, in which Holden fields two new nameplates – the Equinox and Acadia respectively.
The Equinox mid-sizer landed in Australia in late 2017, while the Acadia only just lobbed in October last year. 
Holden’s other bona fide SUV, the Colorado-based Trailblazer seven-seater, switched its name from Colorado 7 in September 2016.
GM Holden chairman and managing director Dave Buttner said this week that he and the company were satisfied with the current product portfolio, but admitted that not enough people were familiar with the brand’s offerings.
“We have a current, solid product portfolio that competes in the segments in both Australia and New Zealand where the growth is,” he said.
“Our issue is, people don’t know about it. So the whole idea of this campaign is we have to land once and for all, here’s our products by name, land one unique selling proposition for each – Equinox is power, (Acadia) is class, towing power for Colorado.
“It’s then at least a consideration, people will consider buying a Holden for their next car, which of course then leads to enquiry at the dealership.”
Mr Buttner took the reins of Holden in August last year and one of his first moves was to travel the country to sit down and talk with dealer council members, who echoed the same sentiment about wanting to boost the profile of the vehicles in their showrooms. 
“They just simply wanted to ensure that from their point of view that the buying public was aware of their product, that they were on the consideration set and the enquiry was coming through either on their front or through their telephone or internet site,” he said.
Holden is launching a TV commercial highlighting its entire range, based around an action-packed storyline of returning a stolen painting to a museum, switching in and out of Holden’s SUV range.
In following months, individual campaigns will begin for each of its SUVs, including the Trax, Equinox, Acadia, Trailblazer and Commodore Tourer soft-road wagon.
Mr Buttner said the SUV advertising campaign would take up the majority of Holden’s 2019 marketing budget.

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