Australian car manufacturer Holden wants to find new ways to appeal to “modern Australia”, by targeting Chinese and Indian buyers and attempting to “de-bogan” their image.
It is understood that Holden said it would “realign” the brand to appeal to a broader range of buyers, at a top secret meeting with its network of national dealers last week. This makes a great deal of sense, as the majority of bogans love the Commodore (SS and above in particular), which will be discontinued when Holden closes their Adelaide production line in 2017. From that point onwards, Holden will become a supplier purely of imported vehicles.
An anonymous Holden dealer told News Corp Australia that the iconic car brand wants to “de-bogan” its image, even though Holden has spent the past 68 years “wrapping itself” in the Australian flag. The change comes as confidential industry figures show the number of people who intend to buy a new Holden has halved in the past three years, from 14 per cent of all prospective buyers to about 7 per cent today. Holden also posted its lowest sales figures in 23 years in 2015 – some 14 years after it was leading the Australian market.
Holden spokesman Sean Poppitt said the company had to move with the times. “We recognise Australia is changing and the brand needs to change with it. Australia is a multi-cultural melting pot and we want to broaden our appeal to all buyers. Two of the largest immigrant groups in Australia are from Chinese and Indian heritage. Holden isn’t sold in either of those countries, so they’re not familiar with our brand and they need to understand what Holden stands for and the cars we sell.”
The company insists it won’t turn its back on its Australian roots, but can’t escape the changing profile of new-car buyers.