2016 was not a kind year to Holden. General Motors’ Australian subsidiary posted a sales dip of 8.4 percent and its market share dropped nearly one full percentage point to just an eight percent share.
Stefan Jacoby, GM international chief, said the sales drops were expected, but also blamed the bad figures on Holden’s “lost relevance” in the market, according to Drive. It’s an extraordinary statement considering the brand was built on building Australian cars for Australians.
However, Jacoby thinks 2017 will shape up to be a much better year, despite the fact Holden manufacturing will close its doors for good.
“[Holden managing director] Mark [Bernhard] phrased this in the right way this morning – market share is not important in this transformation phase we are in at the moment, important is we are restructuring and transforming the business of Holden into a sustainable business,” Jacoby told Australian media at the 2017 North American International Auto Show.
“I think we used 2016 to really set the fundamentals. We defined the program with 24 new vehicles coming by 2020. We are in the middle of the roll-out of that.”
Holden launched numerous new models sourced from Europe and the United States to begin its product revolution and also laid out a new marketing message and an updated Holden lion insignia during 2016. Jacoby felt these small steps would continue to grow to better things in 2017.
“We are more or less changing all customer experience. We are working on the brand. The brand needs to be refreshed, it needs to be actualized. We understood that Holden was an iconic Australian brand and is an iconic Australian brand, but it lost over the years its relevance for the customers.”
Holden’s future product portfolio may be selected from any of GM’s global brands to ensure the best fitting products come to market. Through this newfound strategy, Holden hopes to become relevant once again.