76% of Holden sales are now SUV and LCV vehicles, so it is no surprise that they’ve decided to dump the much-unloved Commodore and Astra models.
The writing has been on the wall for years. Large vehicle sales sold 217,882 in 1998. This year, that figure sits at 8,700 units. Koreans have similar cars, cheaper, so why did Holden take so long to act?
Other car makers have already transitioned to an SUV-heavy fleet. Nissan has only 2 low volume passenger cars left, the GT-R, and 370Z. Mitsubishi dumped Lancer and launched Mirage, a new micro-hatch. The rest of their range are SUVs and LCVs, such as Triton.
SUV sales are set to pass 500,000 units, with LCV work utes making up the majority of remaining sales. The top seller in the country is Toyota’s Hilux. The place is awash with dreary SUVs, once considered by many as “gas guzzlers.” Now, SUVs are nearly as fuel efficient as a family hatch.
Holden, was paralysed BY appalling vehicles of the past. Epica and Captiva joined a conga line of cars only a mother could love.
Big Dave Buttner was brought in to put a tourniquet on Holden’s flagging sales arm, but he failed to staunch the bleed. After 18 months in the top job, he stepped down, or was pushed.
New boss, Kristian Aqualina, has worked for GM in many roles, and took decisive action to “streamline” Holden’s portfolio. That’s car speak for “HHHEEEEELLLLP, we screwed the pooch”.
Holden glued a 7 year warranty onto their website claiming it is market-leading, a fact KIA will find amusing. It has had a 7 year warranty since Damien Meredith took the robe and mantle at OZ Boss a few years ago.
Holden has just had their worst month ever and now accounts for a smidge over 4% market share. The fall from near 50% a few decades ago has been nothing short of tragic.
Ford isn’t far in front and has little reason to feel smug, but it too will focus on the high-riding joy of SUVs.
It is what buyers want, apparently. You all have only yourselves to blame.