Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

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Thread: Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

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    Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

    Many virtual pages have been written on this very forum (and many others) about Holden's announcement to shutter their manufacturing plants and engineering divisions.

    While it's plain to see the reasons behind GM's decision, many fans are viewing this as the death of Holden and in general are being those people who you've invited to a party but instantly regretted it because all they do is complain. And not too surprisingly those outside our borders are somewhat confused at the outcry. Sympathetic yes but not terribly empathetic.

    Here's my attempt at explaining it to you.

    What we have to look forward to...

    This is it. This is the real kicker. Holden's imported range is so lacking in talent that you might as well say that the Commodore has been shouldering 90% of the Holden brand.



    Barina Spark

    This pint sized suppository was brought in to capture the market of people who came to Australia from Asia and haven't yet grasped that we actually have space to park a car. Except they'd be shocked at the last century tech and general fit and finish of it. Highlights included bright paint, foglights and alloy wheels while buyers who can't change their own gears where rewarded with an auto around 12 months ago. Yay.

    Barina

    Holden released the new Barina with all the confidence of a company that could say the new car was 1000% better than the old one. The unfortunate side was that that didn't mean it was better than what was already on sale by Holden's competitors. Holden was plainly aware of this so they packed it full of kit, kept the price low and sent it out into the real world, a world which spanked the living crap out of it. The single spec Barina was solid but unrefined, cheap not only described the price but the interior as well and the 1.6L engine which can be traced back to the stone age provided the performance of a horse with its legs cut off. Within the first 2 months on sale the Barina was a competitor in Wheels mega test of city cars and came dead last. Holden have since release the CDX in the hopes that MyLink will distract you long enough to ignore its other flaws and the RS which brings some added performance but not anything near hot hatch levels. Yay.

    Cruze

    The Cruze was meant to be Holden's saviour. With the sales of the Commodore tanking, Holden took the approach of building the Cruze on site as well. Which in the beginning was looked at as sound reasoning (questions were asked about profitability though - foreshadow alert) because the Cruze sedan was selling really well as its size and looks tickled the market's fancy. But then the competition upgraded their cars. Mazda's 3 was the giant killer, followed by every soulless person's favourite the Corolla. Hyundai's i30 and Elantra combo as so successful that combined they would sit at the top of the sales tree. The Cruze's 1.8L engine did the most damage as it was slow and gutless. The interior so desperately needs an update that I completely discounted it from my list at checkpoint 1. Holden was able to design the Cruze hatch which should have sparked a sales jump (Australia is a hatch market) but that never happened and then the wagon was imported from Korea just before Holden updated it's Cruze range. So the wagon was stuck with all the old tech. To make matters worse, Hyundai pulled the most epic stunt and changed its mind on importing their i30 wagon (the old one was a fleet queen) and undercut the Cruze by thousands of dollars. Guess which one I see more of on the roads. The Cruze is to be updated in 2015 and it's literally the only bright point on Holden's horizon. Shame that it'll be 2 years too late. Yay.

    Malibu.

    Duh. Holden tried to out-Camry the Camry. Failed. Yay.

    Trax

    This is the right product at the right time... but... Holden got screwed with the soon to be release Opel Mokka taking the 1.4T engine exclusively only for Opel to give up the goat. Then Holden completely read the market wrong and priced the base Trax $2000 higher than the newer competition. Plus the upspec model is lacking equipment that the competitors are heavily pushing at similar prices. Chalk that one up to GM being tightwads again. So while the perfect car, it has had its growth stunted by short sightedness. Yay.

    Captiva

    This thing is old. Like really old. And while it is still relatively good value the competition have done the old release new product trick and the Captiva looks like the ******* child it is in GMs "global" line up. Hopefully the new one isn't too far away because like the Trax, this market is white hot. Yay.

    Colorado.

    This brand new, all new, totally new truck needed to be updated 12 months after being released to remain relevant. So that's just great.

    So as you can see, there is little excitement on Holden's radar. No Camaro. No Corvette. No Impala. Nothing RWD. Nothing sporty - the RS doesn't count. No Commodore which was the halo.

    Commodore was the car that some on this forum would point to and say "This is why Holden is great". Many of them forgave the faults of the rest of the range because the Commodore artificially elevated them higher. Without the Commodore the harsh truths are suddenly there for everyone to see. Hyundai and Kia, the two South Korean brands we all took great pleasure in mocking are suddenly the better quality brands. Of course they've been improving for years and their range has been better than Holden for the last 2. But of course Commodore blinded everyone... There are many tough years ahead for the car brand and its fans.

    Yay.

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    Re: Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

    Now Holden has passed, I am starting to warm to Mazda. Decent cars at mass market prices which are rewarding to drive - I remember when another brand made those promises. Sigh.

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    Re: Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

    Dang. That Sucks.
    6 speed transmissions are the future

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    Re: Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

    100% agree you, Commodore really is the only bright light that GM has in this part of the world. GM are kidding themselves if they think they will even retain 50% of current volumes once it's gone
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    Re: Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

    GM's global lineup needs work.

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    Re: Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by t-rex View Post
    Rubbish. The reason there aren't any good small Holdens is because you uncouth, jug-eared, snaggle-toothed bogans acted as though the Commodore was the only "real" Holden and never pressed GM to offer proper small cars. The reason you're stuck with wheeled kimchee is because Holden was stupid enough to buy a stake in Daewoo... a move shared with Suzuki, who flogged them in America and totally destroyed the Suzuki name in the process.

    Rebadged Nissans. Rebadged Toyotas. Nissan-powered Commodores. Toyota Lexcen. The whole horrid, wretched VN-VS series. Stop pointing your bony, sunburnt finger at Detroit, Australia. Holden has made so many stupid moves on its own over the years, that the whole shebang deserves to collapse. Don't blame Detroit for all the dumb ideas that have come out of Fisherman's Bend.
    CoughCoughBull****Cough.............
    GM chose to ignore Holden engineers for the last decade especially. Just look at every model they have imported to this country, within 18 months it's had to be re-done to meet what the market has demanded in terms of ride and handling.
    Last I checked VN-VS was always #1 or #2 in the charts, and there is still thousands on the roads today. For their time they were class leading, winning multiple car of the year awards and introducing much of the safety tech that we today take for granted in a base model car.
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    Re: Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by ams1983 View Post
    GM chose to ignore Holden engineers for the last decade especially. Just look at every model they have imported to this country, within 18 months it's had to be re-done to meet what the market has demanded in terms of ride and handling
    Again, rubbish. Holden didn't give a rat's ass. Thus, GM never gave a rat's ass. You Australians ran Holden the same way that GM operated here in the 60s and 70s: small cars were a joke, and f---all effort was put into them.

    What was Holden's rationale for buying into Daewoo? Were Holden under some deluded belief that Daewoo had some Mazda/Civic/Corolla-beating product waiting in the wings? Just ready to unleash on the Australian buying public and make Holden the market leader in the small car field? No. Because Holden didn't care about small cars (a reflection of its typical bogan operating mentality), it didn't care that it was buying into the low-rent dirt-merchant of an outfit that Daewoo was.

    I'm just sick of you Australians taking some "victim" role and trying to fob off your own incompetence on somebody else.

    Nissan had the right idea back in the 90s when it realised it could make more money as a full-line importer, and packed up shop. Then again, Nissan could do that because, unlike Holden, Nissan had a proper range of quality cars... instead of a single model that received nearly all of the company's focus.
    Last edited by t-rex; 12-24-2013 at 06:31 AM.

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    Re: Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by t-rex View Post
    Again, rubbish. Holden didn't give a rat's ass. Thus, GM never gave a rat's ass. You Australians ran Holden the same way that GM operated here in the 60s and 70s: small cars were a joke, and f---all effort was put into them.

    What was Holden's rationale for buying into Daewoo? Were Holden under some deluded belief that Daewoo had some Mazda/Civic/Corolla-beating product waiting in the wings? Just ready to unleash on the Australian buying public and make Holden the market leader in the small car field? No. Because Holden didn't care about small cars (a reflection of its typical white trash / bogan operating mentality), it didn't care that it was buying into the low-rent dirt-merchant of an outfit that Daewoo was.

    I'm just sick of you Australians taking some "victim" role and trying to fob off your own incompetence on somebody else.
    Daewoos were a joke but the cars listed above are all "Global" GM cars developed totally in-house of GM. All blame for the quality of those cars lay at GMs feet. Not Holden alone.

    I think it's pretty clear why Holden bought Daewoo. A cheap entry into South Korean manufacture and an in into their market. Why GM chose Holden specifically to purchase the 'asset' is the real question. Let's not forget for a second that GM sold those same Daewoos as Chevrolets and Pontiacs in the US.

    Holden hasn't had any true input into small cars in years and that's because, until recently, they were small fry. They just imported Opels and it worked fine because back then, Opels were great.

    They rebadging of the Daewoo models was short sighted stupidity that tarnished the Holden name for good. What they gained in profit they lost in future sales.

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    Re: Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

    But it didn't work "just importing Opels". Remember when the Barina switched from Suzuki to Opel Corsa? A feeble 1,0-litre motor... zero kit... and priced WELL above the unbeatable driveaway prices of the Hyundai Excel and Ford Festiva. And the situation never got better. Holden was too much of an "ordinary" car to command a price premium and as good as the Opels were, they were simply too dear to compete with the Koreans and Japanese.

    Honestly, I can't say WHAT Holden could have done to put the situation right, but I was following the market closely at the time, and there was never any seeming suggestion that Holden cared. It was that defeatist attitude — which pervaded Detroit as well — that led to the overall ennui in Holden management, with the side-effect of having the Australian non-Commodore buying public becoming apathetic, at best, towards the Holden brand.

    I steadfastly contend that, since the original Gemini ran its course, Holden simply has not cared one bit about its small car line, and its blatant neglect of that segment of the market was one of the chief reasons the Holden reptutation, and market share, was decimated.

    (yeah yeah yeah, I know, none of this really has anything to do with your point that Holden's in trouble because its current product line is total weak sauce...)
    Last edited by t-rex; 12-24-2013 at 06:46 AM.

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    Re: Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by t-rex View Post
    But it didn't work "just importing Opels". Remember when the Barina switched from Suzuki to Opel Corsa? A feeble 1,0-litre motor... zero kit... and priced WELL above the unbeatable driveaway prices of the Hyundai Excel and Ford Festiva. And the situation never got better. Holden was too much of an "ordinary" car to command a price premium and as good as the Opels were, they were simply too dear to compete with the Koreans and Japanese.

    Honestly, I can't say WHAT Holden could have done to put the situation right, but I was following the market closely at the time, and there was never any seeming suggestion that Holden cared. It was that defeatist attitude — which pervaded Detroit as well — that led to the overall ennui in Holden management, with the side-effect of having the Australian non-Commodore buying public becoming apathetic, at best, towards the Holden brand.

    I steadfastly contend that, since the original Gemini ran its course, Holden simply has not cared one bit about its small car line, and its blatant neglect of that segment of the market was one of the chief reasons the Holden reptutation, and market share, was decimated.
    You're right but what the Opels lost in price they gained in perceived quality (rightly or wrongly). The last Opel Barina was highly regarded here and the SRi was lauded in most publications. The Barina/Astra pairing at that time was near unbeatable - so while some people may not have been able to afford them, the Holden name had some aspiration. All of which is gone now.

    Hyundai has taken years and years to work Excel out of people's memories and Ford was lucky enough to replace the Festiva with the Fiesta.

    Ford is a case study on how to pull manufacturing out of a country. Send in the amazing cars from around the globe. Fiesta ST, Mustang, the new Mondeo, Ranger is going great guns, the Focus has always rated well but looks a bit odd but again the ST shows commitment. GM hasn't shown an iota of that strategy.

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    Re: Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by from oz View Post
    Ford is a case study on how to pull manufacturing out of a country. Send in the amazing cars from around the globe. Fiesta ST, Mustang, the new Mondeo, Ranger is going great guns, the Focus has always rated well but looks a bit odd but again the ST shows commitment. GM hasn't shown an iota of that strategy.
    And what makes it so infuriating is that GM had a dozen years to eke out something better than what's being offered.

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    Re: Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by t-rex View Post
    And what makes it so infuriating is that GM had a dozen years to eke out something better than what's being offered.
    Amen. I've been saying that for years and coping it on this very board. GMs global range is pathetic. All those nice GMNA cars being built exclusively in LHD is the twist of the dagger.

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    Re: Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by t-rex View Post
    But it didn't work "just importing Opels". Remember when the Barina switched from Suzuki to Opel Corsa? A feeble 1,0-litre motor... zero kit... and priced WELL above the unbeatable driveaway prices of the Hyundai Excel and Ford Festiva. And the situation never got better. Holden was too much of an "ordinary" car to command a price premium and as good as the Opels were, they were simply too dear to compete with the Koreans and Japanese.

    Honestly, I can't say WHAT Holden could have done to put the situation right, but I was following the market closely at the time, and there was never any seeming suggestion that Holden cared. It was that defeatist attitude — which pervaded Detroit as well — that led to the overall ennui in Holden management, with the side-effect of having the Australian non-Commodore buying public becoming apathetic, at best, towards the Holden brand.

    I steadfastly contend that, since the original Gemini ran its course, Holden simply has not cared one bit about its small car line, and its blatant neglect of that segment of the market was one of the chief reasons the Holden reptutation, and market share, was decimated.

    (yeah yeah yeah, I know, none of this really has anything to do with your point that Holden's in trouble because its current product line is total weak sauce...)
    And who controlled the purse strings and development of the small cars............. GM. If Holden had been run in a more independent manner, i'm sure they would have had class leading vehicles in the small and medium classes (most likely still RWD, and Highly desirable for exports)

    Until about a decade ago it was still relatively expensive to fly between capital cities, so many people used to drive 1000KM or more regularly. Large cars were the best option for this type of driving (and arguably still are) Cheap airfares and market fragmentation have lead to the slide in large car sales (although Commodore is still selling at #3 in the market, and until two years ago was #1) so I wouldn't say Holden got it wrong making large cars (with higher profit margins).

    Original series of Gemini was a good car for it's time, but the replacement and subsequent models were Given to us Via GM HQ. These Global GM products were, and still remain the issue.
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    Re: Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by ams1983 View Post
    Original series of Gemini was a good car for it's time, but the replacement and subsequent models were Given to us Via GM HQ. These Global GM products were, and still remain the issue.
    This is true. What I'm trying to say is that I don't believe Holden put up a good fight. Holden didn't seem to press Detroit to do anything to alleviate the post-Gemini small car situation. This of course can't be substantiated, but I don't remember reading any complaints on Holden's part about it.

    Or, as has been suggested countless times before, the real culprit was that stupid "Button" scheme. I'm all for protecting jobs, but the whole thing just seemed so cynical and myopic.

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    Re: Why the Aussies are so painful at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by t-rex View Post
    This is true. What I'm trying to say is that I don't believe Holden put up a good fight. Holden didn't seem to press Detroit to do anything to alleviate the post-Gemini small car situation. This of course can't be substantiated, but I don't remember reading any complaints on Holden's part about it.

    Or, as has been suggested countless times before, the real culprit was that stupid "Button" scheme. I'm all for protecting jobs, but the whole thing just seemed so cynical and myopic.
    I refuse to believe that Holden didn't express concerns on the latest city cars. The fact that the Barina has already gone through 2 running enhancements suggests Holden wasn't happy. But it'll come down to how much influence Holden has and based on recent events, that's probably not a lot.

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