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Holden’s high hopes for Acadia

Sharp pricing and spec put the Holden Acadia seven-seat SUV in contention

19 Oct 2018

HOLDEN executives say they are hoping that the sharper-than-anticipated pricing and high level of specification for the all-new seven-seat Acadia SUV will give the American-made crossover cut-through in the competitive segment.
According to GM Holden director of marketing Kristian Aquilina, the “initial” driveaway pricing that starts at $42,990 for the two-wheel-drive LT, positions the Acadia as “the cat among the pigeons” of the large seven-seat SUV set.
“We’re launching with a promoted price point from the get-go to really get that value story around Acadia out there from the start,” he told journalists at the release of the Acadia in Melbourne this week.
“(We want to) make this a truly irresistible choice for the many, many people swarming around that SUV market at the moment.”
Holden has also released manufacturer’s list pricing that does not include on-road costs, and it starts at $43,490 for the LT, $53,490 for the LTZ and $63,490 for the LTZ-V, with all-wheel drive adding $4000 to the price of each model grade.
The base Acadia undercuts the opening price of two of the best-selling monocoque large seven-seat SUVs – the $44,500 Toyota Kluger GX 2WD (by $1010) and $44,990 Mazda CX-9 Sport 2WD ($1500).
This leaves only the $41,990 Nissan Pathfinder ST 2WD, $42,990 Kia Sorento Si 2WD and $43,000 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.4 Active 2WD as the slightly cheaper rivals, by $1500, $500 and $490 respectively.
To help get the message across, Mr Aquilina said that the Spring Hill, Tennessee facility that builds the Acadia has delivered 180 pre-production cars “so we can get a whole bunch of cars out to pretty much every dealer in the country to have test drive programs and VIP nights before volume production cars come through around the second week of November”.
It is also offered with a $1000 incentive on orders placed before the Acadia’s November 12 release, lowering the ‘pre-launch’ LT 2WD’s price to $41,990 driveaway.
Along with the aforementioned competitors, Holden expects the Acadia to snare buyers of the best-selling Toyota Prado, as well as similar ute-based models such as the Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Pajero and Pajero Sport and the Isuzu MU-X, while larger five-seater wagons and crossovers such as the Subaru Outback, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Endura are also fair game.
Interestingly, the company even name-checked disenfranchised owners of the Ford Territory and Holden Caprice as potential sales opportunities.
While he refused to talk about volume forecasts, Mr Aquilina said the mid-range LTZ is expected to be the best-seller, with a predicted 30 to 40 per cent share, leaving the base and flagship to split the rest, while around 50 per cent overall are set to be AWD.
“(The LTZ) is the car that really aims to hit the sweet spot within the sweet spot of large SUVs,” he said. “There’s a hell of a lot of volume there that is transacted around the price point that we are pitching this car… and that’s what the role of this car is.”
GM Holden chairman and managing director Dave Buttner said that the Acadia was a turnaround vehicle for the company, with much riding on its success.
“This is our first step to recovery,” he said. “With its addition to the SUV family – Trailblazer, Equinox, (ZB Commodore) Tourer and Trax – Holden is determined to be on the shopping list for all Australians looking to buy an SUV.”

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