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Holden’s ‘Big Australian’ status can’t stop downturn in small cars, overall sales

19 January 2015
By TERRY MARTIN
www.goauto.com.au

IN MANY ways still the ‘Big Australian’ when it comes to its presence in the new-vehicle marketplace, Holden has long enjoyed strong sales volume across its entire range of both locally built and imported cars.

If not the outright leader in a market segment, buyers could be confident that Holden’s offering was among the top three and not far behind the best-selling models.

But the situation has changed for the lion brand, particularly in the all-important small passenger car segments where the Barina Spark, Barina and Cruze have suffered severe downturns in recent years and ended 2014 at worryingly low levels for a company that only nine months ago was talking about stealing market leadership from Toyota inside the next five years.

A fair bit has happened since then – from the unremitting rise of Hyundai to the unexpected fall (resignation) of Holden’s chairman and managing director Gerry Dorizas, who is still to be replaced – and the year finished up with Holden sales 5.3 per cent down.

Outside of segments in which Holden's doomed Australian-built cars are still favoured – large cars, where Commodore is king (30,203); upper-large cars, where Caprice (1218) plays second fiddle to Chrysler’s 300 (1580); and 4x2 utilities, where the VF Ute (5596) is in the shadow of the imported Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger (10,807/5945) – the local car-maker had no vehicles among the top three anywhere in the marketplace, despite being the number-two brand in the land.

Continued here

 

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It's only going to get worse no matter how good the vehicles are no one will buy them
GM and Holden are on the nose

But so is Ford they are in the same boat

This is what you get when you don't respect the market or the people who buy your cars
 

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...where Caprice (1218) plays second fiddle to Chrysler’s 300 (1580)...
Wow, that is the shocker for me! I had no idea the 300 did so well (relatively speaking), and never would have guessed that it outsold the local hero! Might the 300 see a big increase when the Caprice ducks out? Could Chrysler take advantage of their position and offer a cheaper version of the 300 that better targets Commodore buyers? For example, could a decently equipped Dodge Charger come in at a lower price point than the 300 / Caprice class, and still offer the features buyers have come to expect on the Commodore?

I'd think that Chrysler has to have already asked themselves these questions, as the large car market my be shrinking, but last year there were still 30,000+ Commodore sales that some manufacturer has to be eyeing. I'd mentioned Hyundai before, but hadn't thought of Chrysler...
 

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Wow, that is the shocker for me! I had no idea the 300 did so well (relatively speaking), and never would have guessed that it outsold the local hero! Might the 300 see a big increase when the Caprice ducks out? Could Chrysler take advantage of their position and offer a cheaper version of the 300 that better targets Commodore buyers? For example, could a decently equipped Dodge Charger come in at a lower price point than the 300 / Caprice class, and still offer the features buyers have come to expect on the Commodore?

I'd think that Chrysler has to have already asked themselves these questions, as the large car market my be shrinking, but last year there were still 30,000+ Commodore sales that some manufacturer has to be eyeing. I'd mentioned Hyundai before, but hasn't thought of Chrysler...
That's what happens when the car you sold in 2006 looks exactly the same as the car you sell in 2015


Which is a direct result of GMNA clueless idiots killing Holdens main export market for the car and thus killing the volumes needed to update it
 

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Wow, that is the shocker for me! I had no idea the 300 did so well (relatively speaking), and never would have guessed that it outsold the local hero! Might the 300 see a big increase when the Caprice ducks out? Could Chrysler take advantage of their position and offer a cheaper version of the 300 that better targets Commodore buyers? For example, could a decently equipped Dodge Charger come in at a lower price point than the 300 / Caprice class, and still offer the features buyers have come to expect on the Commodore?

I'd think that Chrysler has to have already asked themselves these questions, as the large car market my be shrinking, but last year there were still 30,000+ Commodore sales that some manufacturer has to be eyeing. I'd mentioned Hyundai before, but hadn't thought of Chrysler...
If Australians are as picky about their RWD cars as they say they are, there's no way a ChryCo car could replace the Commodore.
 

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Avenir might help as a replacement for Caprice. If it's not too late.
 

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Wow, that is the shocker for me! I had no idea the 300 did so well (relatively speaking), and never would have guessed that it outsold the local hero! Might the 300 see a big increase when the Caprice ducks out? Could Chrysler take advantage of their position and offer a cheaper version of the 300 that better targets Commodore buyers? For example, could a decently equipped Dodge Charger come in at a lower price point than the 300 / Caprice class, and still offer the features buyers have come to expect on the Commodore?

I'd think that Chrysler has to have already asked themselves these questions, as the large car market my be shrinking, but last year there were still 30,000+ Commodore sales that some manufacturer has to be eyeing. I'd mentioned Hyundai before, but hadn't thought of Chrysler...
That's1500 cars for the whole year......... as noted, it outsold the Caprice for the first time, which has looked pretty much the same since 2006. Fiatsler is doing better with Cherokees and things like the Patriot - mostly, because they're cheap.

They're already discounting the 300 bigtime. It isnt going to make it to 30K cars. Commodore buyers buy Commodores because they're locally made. GM will discover when you import, you are at the same level as all other importers.

300 is expensive compared to base Commodores and bearing in mind it's an import, it's not wonderful inside and it's frankly, ugly to most Australians, it's not likely to ever become mainstream.
 

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Barina Spark - too expensive. Holden asks $13990, the market wants to pay $11990.
Barina - too expensive. Holden @ $15490, should be $13990.
Cruze - in its 7th year of sales, nearly virtually unchanged, other than the 1.6 turbo which came in 2 years ago. It's now been hit with the ugly stick.
Malibu - slow, ugly and heavy with next to no market awareness. 99% of people don't know they even exist.

It's going to be a tough year for Holden, unless they discount their cars, I would expect sales to drop even further.
 

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That's what happens when the car you sold in 2006 looks exactly the same as the car you sell in 2015


Which is a direct result of GMNA clueless idiots killing Holdens main export market for the car and thus killing the volumes needed to update it
Hardly clueless and hardly idiots.

1. Your government went into free trade agreements with other nations in the Pacific region.... nations that have a strong manufacturing base and far cheaper labor. First idiotic mistake.

2. The Australian dollar skyrocketed going from the equivalent of 70 US cents to the dollar to over $1.20US to your dollar, in effect making Australian products 50% more expensive to make, effectively making importing Aussie cars to the US a money losing venture. The government did nothing to bring the value of the Aussie dollar down. Second idiotic mistake.

3. Japan's government invested money to promote exports. The American government invested something in excess of $60 billion to save the US car industry. The Australian government wasn't prepared to invest anything into the local car industry to keep it afloat. Third idiotic mistake.

To recap and summarize:

The government there handed the car manufacturing industry to Korea, Thailand, Japan, and other low cost manufacturing countries through Free Trade, did nothing to curb your currency so you could continue to manufacture cars for export (which would have still made car manufacturing feasible in Australia), and finally, refused to cough up the money to save the local car industry even though it would have likely been cheaper than paying unemployment and pensions.

On top of all this, Ford was the first to announce they were gonna close their manufacturing, and Toyota announced they were closing manufacturing right behind GM...... and all 3 car makers pointed to the exact same reasons for closing shop there as far as manufacturing goes.......

.....yet, it's GM that's idiotic and clueless???

Buddy, the sympathy train already left the Sour Apples train station, and is already at Realityville.

People are moving on from flaming GM for a conclusion Ford was smart enough to reach first, and Toyota who seemed to be there just because Ford and GM were, started packing up before the ink on Holden's press release was dry.

If you really need to negatively label anyone, ya might wasn't to first start with the open trade borders and strong money policy of the past decade down under....... because for the record, those policies are what completely screwed (a more accurate word rhymes with trucked) up GM's product plans and contributed to killing an entire General Motors division.


If you need to pin the tail of blame on something, might want to start in your own back yard.
 

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Cruze - in its 7th year of sales, nearly virtually unchanged, other than the 1.6 turbo which came in 2 years ago. It's now been hit with the ugly stick. ...
It's going to be a tough year for Holden, unless they discount their cars, I would expect sales to drop even further.
Didn't you get the memo?

According to Ed Welburn you are supposed to be thrilled right now:
“I would just say that when I was in Australia less than a year ago and I showed that portfolio to the dealers, the dealers were thrilled, thrilled.
It was like the future of the Holden brand and the portfolio that they will get is as strong if not stronger than at any other time in the brand’s history. I just feel very good, and that group of dealers that I met with felt very good.”
You could use some of that abundant thrill to pay your bills and feed your family.
 

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If Australians are as picky about their RWD cars as they say they are, there's no way a ChryCo car could replace the Commodore.
I'm not sure how much time you spent in Australia. I was there every year from 1990 till 2007, including living there a year, and so I can strongly disagree with you based on my experiences there. RWD BMWs, Mercedes, Nissans, and RHD converted Mustang's are very popular. Most of the new cars sold in Australia are FWD economy cars. Chrysler 300 was outselling the Fairmount and was less than a dozen or 2 in sales to the luxury Holden's when I was there last. You have the same gearhead Ford vs Chevy zealots there like you do here, only substitute Holden in place of Chevy.

Australians, like Americans, want the best, durable, economical car for their money. One quick look at the best selling lists there tells you that like Americans, they font care if its locally made. Sure, there's their version of the "Made in America" brigade, but there's a 9 chance in 10 that even in their instance, there's at least 1 Asian car sitting in their driveway.

There's gonna be a lot of hard feelings in the case of Holden fans. Whereas Ford simply came right out and said it was too expensive to make cars there do they were going to start importing, GM/Holden went through this long process that brought up a lot of hope then a letdown that some (even on this very site) will take far too personally, even with facts laid out proving it wouldn't have happened anyway.

Ford Mustang's will hit the streets in Australia, and whatever RWD Camaro derivative Holden sells as a competitor, is going to rekindle that competition between the brands.

As for the 300 replacing the Commodore, that's ludicrous. The 300 is sold as a luxury car or an upscale family car. Commodore there is on par with the Impala (both old and the new one) here.
 

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Their small car range is hopelessly average and overpriced to compete with the likes of the other car makers and the areas where they could be making money from they are not concentrating on. The pickup segment is taking off here yet they sell the most ugliest looking one on the market bar the Mitsubishi triton. Switch to the U.S body style with the option of the different bed sizes as well and watch their sales grow overnight.

As far as SUV's go they have the hopelessly old Captiva and for a 4wd the captiva 7 to compete with the likes of land cruiser prado, Kluger (highlander) , Mazda CX range and the hyundais and kia's.

They need to start concentrating on the areas that are popular sellers and emerging areas such as pick ups or they are doomed. They also need to take a leaf out of Fords book and stop beating around the bush and just say what is coming and what is not. Especially in relation to the SS commodore. Ford simply said we know we are killing off local performance cars but we are bringing in the mustang to replace it for those that are interested. I know for me and certainly for others that bought them a lot of respect for not stuffing us around as opposed to what GM has been up to and is still up to.

I guess what Ford also has in its favour is that their range of small cars up to the mondeo (fusion) is far superior to holders and their suv range with the new Everest and territory and edge replacement is superior as well. Couple that with their pickup ranger being second in sales only behind the market leader Hilux and they are going to be fine as opposed to GM
 

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I guess what Ford also has in its favour is that their range of small cars up to the mondeo (fusion) is far superior to holders and their suv range with the new Everest and territory and edge replacement is superior as well. Couple that with their pickup ranger being second in sales only behind the market leader Hilux and they are going to be fine as opposed to GM
Interesting. Ford seems to have sunk very far in Australia, but maybe as you say their full and fresh lineup of SUVs and CUVs will save them. The Ranger seems hot right now, so as a Ford fan I hope that success will spill over to their other models.

It would seem that their current passenger car lineup isn't what Australia wants, though... might take a new generation to regain market share with their cars?
 

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Interesting. Ford seems to have sunk very far in Australia, but maybe as you say their full and fresh lineup of SUVs and CUVs will save them. The Ranger seems hot right now, so as a Ford fan I hope that success will spill over to their other models.

It would seem that their current passenger car lineup isn't what Australia wants, though... might take a new generation to regain market share with their cars?
I doubt it. Ford is further in the cycle of being despised, but their problem is people who would put up with Ford dealers because they wanted a Falcon is less than people willing to cop them for a small car. The Fiesta and Focus are both poor relations, coming from Thailand when the Toyo and Mazda come from Japan (except Corolla sedan). Why would you buy a Focus, when the build quality is variable, and it's expensive for a lot of Euro-sourced bits; compared to it's twin-under-the-skin Mazda 3? And it's no cheaper.

The Mondeo is as sale-proof as the Malibu and the new one won't change that. There is no evidence that anyone in Australia is saying 'if only we had a Fusion-styled Mondeo we'd buy one'. The Mazda 6 is only selling 500 or so a month, and creams both. Mid-large FWDers is down as a percentage year on year, more than large sedans. Camry isn't doing much better.

Kuga and Ecosport are not setting the small SUV world on fire, and there's no evidence the larger ones will. Unless they're outstanding in some way, it's more likely they'll be midpack - and there's that Blue Oval to overcome.
 

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Hardly clueless and hardly idiots.

1. Your government went into free trade agreements with other nations in the Pacific region.... nations that have a strong manufacturing base and far cheaper labor. First idiotic mistake.

2. The Australian dollar skyrocketed going from the equivalent of 70 US cents to the dollar to over $1.20US to your dollar, in effect making Australian products 50% more expensive to make, effectively making importing Aussie cars to the US a money losing venture. The government did nothing to bring the value of the Aussie dollar down. Second idiotic mistake.

3. Japan's government invested money to promote exports. The American government invested something in excess of $60 billion to save the US car industry. The Australian government wasn't prepared to invest anything into the local car industry to keep it afloat. Third idiotic mistake.

To recap and summarize:

The government there handed the car manufacturing industry to Korea, Thailand, Japan, and other low cost manufacturing countries through Free Trade, did nothing to curb your currency so you could continue to manufacture cars for export (which would have still made car manufacturing feasible in Australia), and finally, refused to cough up the money to save the local car industry even though it would have likely been cheaper than paying unemployment and pensions.

On top of all this, Ford was the first to announce they were gonna close their manufacturing, and Toyota announced they were closing manufacturing right behind GM...... and all 3 car makers pointed to the exact same reasons for closing shop there as far as manufacturing goes.......

.....yet, it's GM that's idiotic and clueless???

Buddy, the sympathy train already left the Sour Apples train station, and is already at Realityville.

People are moving on from flaming GM for a conclusion Ford was smart enough to reach first, and Toyota who seemed to be there just because Ford and GM were, started packing up before the ink on Holden's press release was dry.

If you really need to negatively label anyone, ya might wasn't to first start with the open trade borders and strong money policy of the past decade down under....... because for the record, those policies are what completely screwed (a more accurate word rhymes with trucked) up GM's product plans and contributed to killing an entire General Motors division.


If you need to pin the tail of blame on something, might want to start in your own back yard.
GM shut down ME Exports way before that happened so yes they are the real idiots

The kool aid fountain has run dry here so sell it somewhere else ;)
 

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I'm not sure how much time you spent in Australia. I was there every year from 1990 till 2007, including living there a year, and so I can strongly disagree with you based on my experiences there. RWD BMWs, Mercedes, Nissans, and RHD converted Mustang's are very popular. Most of the new cars sold in Australia are FWD economy cars. Chrysler 300 was outselling the Fairmount and was less than a dozen or 2 in sales to the luxury Holden's when I was there last. You have the same gearhead Ford vs Chevy zealots there like you do here, only substitute Holden in place of Chevy.

Australians, like Americans, want the best, durable, economical car for their money. One quick look at the best selling lists there tells you that like Americans, they font care if its locally made. Sure, there's their version of the "Made in America" brigade, but there's a 9 chance in 10 that even in their instance, there's at least 1 Asian car sitting in their driveway.

There's gonna be a lot of hard feelings in the case of Holden fans. Whereas Ford simply came right out and said it was too expensive to make cars there do they were going to start importing, GM/Holden went through this long process that brought up a lot of hope then a letdown that some (even on this very site) will take far too personally, even with facts laid out proving it wouldn't have happened anyway.

Ford Mustang's will hit the streets in Australia, and whatever RWD Camaro derivative Holden sells as a competitor, is going to rekindle that competition between the brands.

As for the 300 replacing the Commodore, that's ludicrous. The 300 is sold as a luxury car or an upscale family car. Commodore there is on par with the Impala (both old and the new one) here.
Fairmont hasn't been sold in Australia for around 7 years and was basically a Falcon with extras like say a Calais. The 300 would have been a competitor for the Fairlane or LTD but Ford had discontinued those in 2007

SO for the one model year the 300 was available in Australia vs the last year either of those variants were available for sale it's no wonder the 300 outsold it ;)
 

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Interesting. Ford seems to have sunk very far in Australia, but maybe as you say their full and fresh lineup of SUVs and CUVs will save them. The Ranger seems hot right now, so as a Ford fan I hope that success will spill over to their other models.

It would seem that their current passenger car lineup isn't what Australia wants, though... might take a new generation to regain market share with their cars?
I think the Everest will shake the tree a bit. What I should have said is that myself and a few previous GM mates of mine have switched to Ford but we have gone for the European ST focus versions for now. These have all been bought as the wife's runabout with the kids.

I do think that they should have taken up the Fusion name and dropped the Mondeo name to freshen things up a bit though.

Regardless of wether sales figures (which can be easily manipulated) show it their range of small cars certainly craps over Holdens though
 
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