Holden has been a major talking point for many General Motors executives. From GM CEO Mary Barra, to the self-confessed man who brought the end of local manufacturing, Stefan Jacoby, it’s clear recent decisions have stirred the pot a tad.
He touched quite a few subjects, calling out local rival Ford for not changing quick enough, as the brand dips to its lowest sales level since the 1960s in the country, but also warned Holden as a whole needs to change with the times, and prepare to shake things up.
“Holden has really deep roots and you need to understand that, but the brand has got to understand that the world is changing, Australia is changing, China is changing,” Welburn said.
“As young as the car market is in China it is changing rapidly from what it was just five years ago and we all need to understand that. I am really passionate about this. It really bothers me when one of our brands — not necessarily Holden — does not adjust, is not agile enough to move.”
He touched on the world’s shift towards crossovers and SUVs.
“SUVs used to be this big ugly American thing that no-one else in the world wanted and all of a sudden it seems like millions of SUVs are in China, Europe wants SUVs and it’s true in Australia as well.”
Finally, Welburn reassured that the brand is receiving the attention it deserves, as he oversees the local Holden design studio, which was spared from being cut. Welburn said he recently made a handful of presentations to present the future Holden lineup, which he said would be seen “fairly soon.”
“I have done a couple of presentations recently about the portfolio for Holden. It is in my opinion the finest, most complete, most diverse portfolio that the brand has ever had. Period. I am not going to talk about particular products but it is my feelings that we will have all the right products that customers in Australia desire.”