Holden has given 30 of its dealerships the ax as it continues to transition from local manufacturer to an import-only brand. CarsGuide reports Holden made the difficult decision after combing through sales data showing an overall slump and lack of brand loyalty.
Holden currently has 230 dealerships across Australia, but that figure will dwindle to 200 after December 31, 2017. The city of Melbourne, which has the highest concentration of dealers, will likely be hit the hardest.
“Holden has conducted a review of our dealer network footprint as we transition out of local manufacturing and make the change to a full-line importer for the long term,” Holden’s executive director of customer and dealer operations, Peter Jamieson, said.
“Taking into account a number of factors, the difficult decision has been reached that the size of the dealer network must be reduced.”
Jamieson added Holden’s network remains the second largest in Australia.
Holden’s share of the fragmented Australian market has slipped considerably in recent years. While Ford recovers after ceasing local manufacturing, and import brands like Mazda and Hyundai find success, homegrown Holden continues to struggle. Ford outsold Holden last month even after yanking the beloved Falcon and Territory nameplates.
Statistically speaking, one in five Australians purchased a Holden 20 years ago—today, seven in 100 consider the lion brand.
“They are just not on people’s radars any more. They’ve got a huge carpark of owners but loyalty is really low,” an unnamed analyst said. “They missed when Australians moved on from football, meatpies and Holden cars. They’ve recognized now, but it’s too late.”
2018 will be a big year for Holden regardless of sales. The first fully-imported Holden Commodore in decades will go on sale and supplementary crossovers and SUVs will arrive from Chevrolet to round out a new Holden lineup.