Holden has had the enormous task of reinventing itself after decades of local manufacturing and homegrown nameplates. In 2015, Mark Bernhard was selected to take on the task. Thus far, though, things have been rather bleak.
Bernhard, who is chairman and managing director of Holden, sat down with Motoring for an interview published last Saturday and admitted the company needs to do more.
“We’re tracking behind where we want to be. I don’t want to tell you how far,” Bernhard said.
Holden has tried to reposition the brand as a Volkswagen alternative of sorts, and in the process, begun to turn its back on some loyal customers. The brand chased younger, more affluent Australians, but things have backfired. Per the report, Holden has some 12,000 cars unsold at dealerships with more vehicles on the way. It poses a massive inventory problem for Bernhard.
Meanwhile, the Holden Equinox has failed to take off as many executives believed it would. Bernhard believes the new nameplate requires more time on the market to garner attention. The ZB Commodore also hasn’t gained much traction, though the Holden chief said the company never expected it to sell in numbers like previous, locally-made cars.
Still, with a wide portfolio of vehicles, Holden market share hovers around 5 percent. Bernhard previously said the brand’s share wouldn’t fall below 8 percent. And the executive believes in the full portfolio of cars for Australia. He said there are no plans to take Ford’s approach and focus solely on the pickups and SUVs.
Overall, it’s clear Holden isn’t on the path many thought the brand would be on by now. But Bernhard remained confident after hinting at future plans in place for 2019 and 2020.