HOLDEN wants to “de-bogan” its image and appeal to a “modern Australia” — by targeting buyers of Chinese and Indian heritage.
At a top secret meeting with its network of national dealers this week, Holden said it would “realign” the brand to appeal to a broader range of buyers as it prepares to shut its Adelaide car factory in late 2017 and switch to solely imported vehicles.
With local Commodore production ending in 2017, Holden wants to reshape its image. Picture: Supplied.
With local Commodore production ending in 2017, Holden wants to reshape its image. Picture: Supplied.Source:Supplied
The change comes as confidential industry figures show the number of people who intend to buy a new Holden has halved in the past three years, from 14 per cent of all prospective buyers to about seven per cent today.
A veteran Holden dealer, speaking on condition of anonymity, told News Corp Australia, the iconic car brands wants to “de-bogan” its image, even though Holden has spent the past 68 years “wrapping itself” in the Australian flag.
Holden historians attribute much of the company’s success to being thought of as an Australian brand, even though it has been owned by US car giant General Motors since 1948.
But Holden spokesman Sean Poppitt said the company had to move with the times.
General Motors made Holden look Australian-owned, now it wants an international flavour. Picture: Supplied.
General Motors made Holden look Australian-owned, now it wants an international flavour. Picture: Supplied.Source:Supplied
“We recognise Australia is changing and the brand needs to change with it,” said Mr Poppitt. “Australia is a multicultural melting pot and we want to broaden our appeal to all buyers.”
Holden posted its lowest sales in 23 years in 2015; it last led the Australian new car market 14 years ago.
THE MEGA HOLDEN COMING FROM THE US
Holden has already started to widen its customer base. Two years ago Holden offered a $500 discount voucher as part of Chinese New Year celebrations.
The company insists it won’t turn its back on its Australian roots.
The Holden Sandman tribute edition ute, released in 2015. Picture: Supplied.
The Holden Sandman tribute edition ute, released in 2015. Picture: Supplied.Source:Supplied
In the past two years Holden has revived the iconic “Sandman” from the 1970s, built Collingwood AFL football club limited editions of the Commodore, and become a multimillion-dollar sponsor of the NRL Football State of Origin series.
But Holden says it can’t escape the changing profile of new-car buyers.
“Two of the largest immigrant groups in Australia are from Chinese and Indian heritage,” said Mr Poppitt.
“Holden isn’t sold in either of those countries, so they’re not familiar our brand and they need to understand what Holden stands for and the cars we sell.”