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Two of Holden‘s most senior executives have admitted poor sales in 2016 were unacceptable, but necessary to successfully transition from local manufacturer to full importer in 2017.

As the clock struck midnight on December 31st 2016, Holden’s sales were down by 8.4 per cent in 2016 compared to 2015, selling just under 95,000 cars for the year.

Speaking to media at the 2017 Detroit motor show, Stefan Jacoby, executive vice president and president of General Motors International, told media that Holden is where he wants it at the moment.

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“Yes, we lost market share in 2016. Almost a percentage point. Market share in this kind of transformation period isn’t important. What is important is that we are restructuring and transforming the business into sustainability. We didn’t have a sustainable model in 2013 and we’re working to change that,” Jacoby said.

“It doesn’t matter if we lose or gain another tenth of a per cent, we are going through this transformation. It’s important that we have a strong and sustainable brand and we are working on the right path with that.”

The transformation Holden is currently going through is from a local manufacturer to full importer. This also means transforming dealers and the expectation of customers. As such, another important element of the company’s new future will be ensuring those at the coal face are ready to sell imported cars.

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“We’ve defined the product program with 24 new cars to be launched by 2020, we are working on all proof points and customer contact points and working on the brand. It needs to be refreshed, it needs to be actualised,” Jacoby said.

“Holden is an iconic brand, an iconic Australian brand, but it has lost over the years a resonance with the customers. It’s important to not just have a new brand campaign, but the biggest evidence of being back on the shopping list of the Australian customer is our products, which are truly competitive.”

The boss of Holden, Mark Bernhard, admits that being the Commodore car company doesn’t work anymore and he doesn’t want the company to be tarred with that brush in the future.

“Commodore is a significant chunk of our share today. We know that. Historically we were known as the Commodore car company and that’s not what we’re going to be in the future. With the 24 products coming out by 2020, we want to diversify our portfolio going forward,” Bernhard said.

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“We’ve gone from being a one show pony to having all of these different cars available. If we put this forward we have a better platform moving forward.”

Holden will need a massive turnaround in vehicle sales to ensure it has the goods to stay profitable and afloat following the end of local Commodore production.

Does Holden have the products to suit its ambitious plans following the end of local Commodore production?




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