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Thread: Holden V8 not ‘guaranteed’ as HSV products questioned

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    Holden V8 not ‘guaranteed’ as HSV products questioned

    https://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mel...258144007D45A2

    Small car, pick-up and SUV range must be executed well before Holden V8 return


    20 June 2017
    By DANIEL DeGASPERI

    HOLDEN executive director of marketing Mark Harland has revealed that he believes the brand must execute its small car, SUV and pick-up product strategy successfully to make V8 sportscar discussions with General Motors (GM) easier.

    Speaking with GoAuto at the national media launch of the Astra sedan in northern New South Wales last week, Mr Harland – who has notched up six months in the role – insisted that the unnamed V8 sportscar was still in planning, but Holden must achieve other targets first.

    That included, he listed, making successes from Astra small hatchback and sedan, Equinox medium SUV and Colorado pick-up ranges. “Certainly from a product point of view, you know the product line-up, where the growth is in Australia is obviously in the SUVs, the small- to medium-sized SUVs,” Mr Harland said.

    “If we can execute on the upcoming product launches, I think that gives us a lot of credibility with the senior leadership back in Detroit so that our managing director, Mark Bernhard, can say, ‘Hey, we really think we’d like to have a rear-wheel-drive V8 as a halo car.’

    “I think if we could execute all of that (new products) then we go back to the mothership, to General Motors corporate, and say, ‘We think a halo rear-wheel-drive car of some kind makes a lot of sense and it delivers a return on investment and it helps lift the brand’.

    “(But) there’s nothing that we can announce at this point. There’s nothing guaranteed.”

    Asked whether that meant the mysterious sportscar – announced at the Detroit motor show in January 2015 as a replacement for the Commodore V8 – was now paused, Mr Harland replied: “I wouldn't say it’s on pause.”

    “I would say, yes, there is still appetite with obviously guys like Mark Reuss (former Holden managing director and current GM president) and some of the senior leadership that have been here,” he added.

    “They understand there is a need for that kind of vehicle. I don’t think there’ s anything on pause, but I don’t think we can narrow down a day or a year or I don’t think we can get that granular level of detail until we’ve executed our business plan and then, it just makes all those conversations much easier.

    “If, say, we got to do the job on Astra sedan, on next-generation Commodore, Equinox as well, and if we don’t hit our business goals, then there’s reason for doubt to say, ‘Why would we support a right-hand-drive, rear-wheel-drive V8 at a relatively low volume number if we can’t execute on the vehicles that should be high volume?’”

    It was clear that Holden, which has suffered an annual sales collapse of 11,784 units between the time of the sportscar announcement (in January 2015 following 2014’s 106,092-unit sales haul) and the end of 2016 (94,308 units), had now fallen under harsher scrutiny from GM, which recently sold off unprofitable European brands Opel and Vauxhall to French conglomerate PSA.

    “I would feel a lot more comfortable having those conversations with leadership if we accomplish our business goals with the upcoming products,” Mr Harland reiterated.

    Asked whether a decision to build a GM sportscar – currently limited to the left-hand-drive-only, Mustang-challenging Chevrolet Camaro and supercar-baiting Corvette – in right-hand drive required a significant product planning timeframe, the executive director of marketing replied: “Correct.”

    “Absolutely, the discussions of doing the plumbing for a right-hand-drive car has to go well in advance because if you do it retroactively, it just becomes cost prohibitive,” he admitted.

    While Mr Harland could not confirm what the elusive Holden V8 sportscar could be, he admitted that importing a Camaro rival to the ultra-popular Ford Mustang was highly desirable.

    “I would say I would love to have it (a rear-wheel-drive V8) as a halo vehicle much in the same way the Ford CMO (chief marketing officer) would say Mustang brings a great halo opportunity to Ford,” he explained.

    “It’s something that still has a place, maybe not at the same volume levels that Commodore did in years past, but there’s still an opportunity as we’ve seen from Mustang, and I think it’s a lot easier to make that argument with the senior leadership if we execute on the upcoming launches.”

    This month’s launch of the Astra sedan tips Holden past the halfway point of its promise to launch 24 new models before 2020, with the Astra Sportwagon, Equinox medium SUV, new Commodore and Acadia large SUV next on the brand’s hit list. However, the V8 sportscar could affect plans of Walkinshaw-offshoot HSV, the role of which Mr Harland admitted is currently under review.

    “I think where does Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) fit in the portfolio, right?” he asked.

    “I think Holden Special Vehicles does fit in the future. I’m not sure it fits in its current capacity, but certainly I could see a day where Holden Special Vehicles would be doing not just V8, they could be doing trucks and other things.”

    HSV has not yet made announcement about its future, but GoAuto understands communication from the brand is imminent. However, Mr Harland confirmed that while HSV would still work with Holden products going forward, changes could be on the way.

    “Working with Holden Special Vehicles as a company will continue,” he offered. “(But) we haven’t made any final decisions on what those (next-generation) vehicles could be, though we are in discussions with them. What we call them; that’s the discussion, the branding discussion that we’re having with them right now, and that really depends on what the product portfolio looks like.

    “Which we haven’t come to any conclusions on. Distributing them through that network will continue. The heavy performance vehicles, whether be on-road or off-road vehicles, that still would go through that (Holden) network.

    “Does it (HSV) become a sub-brand? I think those are all the discussions we have right now.”
    My Falcon family heritage: XY V8 Falcon 500, XYGT, XBGT, XC 351 GS, XD 4.1 Spack, EF wagon, AU Wagon, AU2 Wagon, AU2 XR8, BA XR8, BF XR8, FG XR6, Lucky last: Sprint 8. Oh wait, AU3 XLS Marlin Ute!

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    Validated User WASP's Avatar
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    From a strategic standpoint, I would have thought creating a halo model would help create the brand desirability and demand needed to sell their other cars.
    Lifetime proud Ford Falcon enthusiast and owner of the following models XR, XY, XB, XC, XD, EB, AU, BA and FG.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WASP View Post
    From a strategic standpoint, I would have thought creating a halo model would help create the brand desirability and demand needed to sell their other cars.
    Agree.

    I read it as twisted justification for the product not going ahead.
    My Falcon family heritage: XY V8 Falcon 500, XYGT, XBGT, XC 351 GS, XD 4.1 Spack, EF wagon, AU Wagon, AU2 Wagon, AU2 XR8, BA XR8, BF XR8, FG XR6, Lucky last: Sprint 8. Oh wait, AU3 XLS Marlin Ute!

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    Enjoying FOA's Final Masterpiece Perko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WASP View Post
    From a strategic standpoint, I would have thought creating a halo model would help create the brand desirability and demand needed to sell their other cars.
    In a perfect world yes. However I would not agree in Australian car industry. With our market currently overcrowded buyers are smarter and know what they want. A halo model won't bring buyers over to shit Astra's or Craptivas. A hotter Mustang won't sell more Mondeo's, Escapes, etc. Having good cars with decent marketing sells cars. Look at Mazda and Toyota.
    Ford Heritage : KF Laser, XF Ute, XH Tradesman Ute, EL Futura, AU2 Ute, XD Ute, XH XR6 Ute, BA XR8 Ute, SX Territory, BF XR8 Sedan, EB2 S XR6, EB1 S XR8, WQ Fiesta, FGX XR8

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    Aka Captain Slow TS50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perko View Post
    In a perfect world yes. However I would not agree in Australian car industry. With our market currently overcrowded buyers are smarter and know what they want. A halo model won't bring buyers over to shit Astra's or Craptivas. A hotter Mustang won't sell more Mondeo's, Escapes, etc. Having good cars with decent marketing sells cars. Look at Mazda and Toyota.
    You have hit the nail on the head here
    These days Halo cars don't bring in sales to the lower models
    Mustangs have not helped sell any more Focus or Mondeo

    Unless a brand, such as Toyota, gets a reputation for being good and reliable, the mums and dads wont buy
    They wont buy because the same manufacturer sells a mustang or camaro
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    Senior Member Falco's Avatar
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    “If we can execute on the upcoming product launches . . ."

    Execute ON???

    What the hell has become of the English language? From an 'executive' of the company, no less.

    A symptom of wider problems at the company, to be sure.
    - Winter White XR6 Sprint #141 with 3M Carbon tint & Koya SF-06 19" silver machined-face rims; original PZeros -

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    Validated User WASP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perko View Post
    Having good cars with decent marketing sells cars. Look at Mazda and Toyota.
    Yes, but I'm looking at Holden and buyers who in the past have been activated based on emotional triggers and beliefs.

    Holden don't hold the same brand credibility in the small car and SUV segments that Mazda and Toyota does. Their marketing has to work harder to bridge the gap and create excitement, passion and interest around their brand to get buyers into showrooms. Hence, this is where the halo model can still be leveraged to create a purchase opportunity, even if it's of another cheaper model.

    Good product that matches the buyer needs will almost sell itself. Marketings role with this regard is to create awareness and activation so the purchase opportunity exists.

    I agree that in this context a halo model is less effective however it can still work well for models where sales are driven by emotive triggers and beliefs. Enter Holden. You only have to look at the prestige brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes to see the halo model being leveraged to get buyers into showrooms to purchase the lower spec cooking models.


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    Lifetime proud Ford Falcon enthusiast and owner of the following models XR, XY, XB, XC, XD, EB, AU, BA and FG.

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    Aka Captain Slow TS50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WASP View Post
    Yes, but I'm looking at Holden and buyers who in the past have been activated based on emotional triggers and beliefs.

    Holden don't hold the same brand credibility in the small car and SUV segments that Mazda and Toyota does. Their marketing has to work harder to bridge the gap and create excitement, passion and interest around their brand to get buyers into showrooms. Hence, this is where the halo model can still be leveraged to create a purchase opportunity, even if it's of another cheaper model.

    Good product that matches the buyer needs will almost sell itself. Marketings role with this regard is to create awareness and activation so the purchase opportunity exists.

    I agree that in this context a halo model is less effective however it can still work well for models where sales are driven by emotive triggers and beliefs. Enter Holden. You only have to look at the prestige brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes to see the halo model being leveraged to get buyers into showrooms to purchase the lower spec cooking models.


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    Disagree
    Halo models may have worked in the past
    But to todays buyers, it has very little relevance
    2002 T3 Manual Naroma Blue TS-50 (049)Sunroof, Premium Sound, Black/Blue Leather, Brembos

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    Quote Originally Posted by WASP View Post
    Yes, but I'm looking at Holden and buyers who in the past have been activated based on emotional triggers and beliefs.

    Holden don't hold the same brand credibility in the small car and SUV segments that Mazda and Toyota does. Their marketing has to work harder to bridge the gap and create excitement, passion and interest around their brand to get buyers into showrooms. Hence, this is where the halo model can still be leveraged to create a purchase opportunity, even if it's of another cheaper model.

    Good product that matches the buyer needs will almost sell itself. Marketings role with this regard is to create awareness and activation so the purchase opportunity exists.

    I agree that in this context a halo model is less effective however it can still work well for models where sales are driven by emotive triggers and beliefs. Enter Holden. You only have to look at the prestige brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes to see the halo model being leveraged to get buyers into showrooms to purchase the lower spec cooking models.


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    Yep, agree, halo products still create aspiration to people engaged in the motoring experience.

    They also create brand awareness.
    My Falcon family heritage: XY V8 Falcon 500, XYGT, XBGT, XC 351 GS, XD 4.1 Spack, EF wagon, AU Wagon, AU2 Wagon, AU2 XR8, BA XR8, BF XR8, FG XR6, Lucky last: Sprint 8. Oh wait, AU3 XLS Marlin Ute!

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    Validated User Burnout's Avatar
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    In any event, I reckon it's tooo late for a V8 holden/chev in Aust.
    By the time they bring it to the showroom, Holden will be just about gone...... They just do not have the time to make it work.
    BAII RTV A Farmers Rocket.

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