Holden brand a ‘problem’ says marketing chief

Holden brand a 'problem' says marketing chief

Holden’s head of marketing speaks frankly about the brand

The recently appointed Executive Director of Marketing at Holden, Mark Harland, has admitted public indifference to the Holden brand is the biggest challenge facing the company.

The one time Kings of the Australian car industry are struggling, sales are down and with local manufacturing coming to an end Holden is moving into uncharted territory.

Holden sales are down 10.4% year to date.

Speaking at the Australian launch of the new Holden Astra Sedan, Mr Harland, who has worked for GM for more than 20 years, spoke candidly about the challenges that confront Holden.

“Research has shown that 64% of Australians are indifferent about the Holden name and this proves that our brand image is our biggest hurdle,” he said.

Mr Harland said the key to turning that around was to continue to bring quality products to Australia that share a common look and feel.

“The vehicles in the dealership need to look like they had the same mum and dad.”

Some of the new product that Holden is looking forward to being able to offer Australian buyers is the wagon version of the Astra, the new Euro-sourced Commodore and U.S.-sourced Equinox SUV.

While he says after sales service provides a terrific opportunity to have a ‘point of difference’ over the competition and this is a high priority.

Mr Harland pointed to initiatives such as the extended test drive offer, where potential car buyers can keep their prospective car overnight, and capped price servicing, as ways of backing customers.

“Our leadership is committed to Australia and the task that confronts us, but we (the Holden team) see it as an opportunity,”

“I also have complete faith in the products we have, and those that are coming.”

To try and reach a new generation of buyers, and to get people talking about the brand again, Holden is planning on ramping up it’s social media presence and are planning widespread grassroots campaigns too.

“We need to get Holden back on people’s radars.” Mr Harland said.

While one bright spot, according to the marketing chief, is that as Holden has introduced models such as the new Astra, there has been an improvement in the opinion of the brand among Aussie motorists.

“We are making progress, it is my job to entice people to give Holden a go, to get into a dealership and check out the product.”

Stay up to date with the latest on Holden in our Holden News section.

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About Joel Helmes 3596 Articles
Joel is the founder and CEO of Behind the Wheel. Joel has a background as a radio broadcaster with on-air roles at 4BC, 4KQ, 2KY, 2LT and 2UE amongst others, as well as a news editor and program director. Joel’s relationship with cars stems back to his early childhood learning to change oil and brakes with his father and uncle. This continued on into his driving years owning an assorted collection of cars.

2 Comments on Holden brand a ‘problem’ says marketing chief

  1. I don’t think Holden will recover. I’m a long time Holden man – currently driving a 2013 Commodore Sportswagon purchased new. When Holden announced they were ceasing making Holdens I was so upset. This is ‘our’ car, not some imported thing that gives nothing back to Australia.
    To me, Holden has betrayed us and as such I will never buy another one.
    And visits to the dealer for service are a real lucky dip.
    We also have a Toyota (a new Yaris as plans for a new Barina have been scrapped). But our old Corolla… service from the Tpyota dealer was always pleasant, friendly and low cost.
    Our Commodore will be replaced next year but not with a Holden.

  2. I agree David, Im actually astounded that this “Marketing” so called expert, thinks that Aussies are indifferent about Holden. What does that mean? Did he ask Ford enthusiasts? The reason Holden is dying, is because people now realise that is it No Longer an “Australian” car built here, designed here etc and is now just a Ghost name of a car company that import real cars from Overseas real car companies. People bought Holden Because it was Australian Made, because it supported local jobs, because of loyalty etc etc. GM have now throw that ALL away…it is just another imported car company. People no longer have a reason to support it or buy its products.So they buy the cheapest or the prettiest or the flashest…..Not made in Australia. Politicians have much to blame for this problem, with their ignorant attitude….that we pay these idiots more money and perks is incredible…

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