“Hollow” Holden crashes at high speed into brick wall

Hoocoodanode? Via The Australian, the German Commodore ain’t travelling too well:

The new ZB Commodore – the first import to carry the badge, following the closure of Holden’s local manufacturing operations in October last year – is tanking. After its launch in February, predicted resale values went straight off the cliff. Industry valuer RedBook has the ZB Commodore we tested here – the 3.6-litre V6 RS Liftback – retaining an estimated 18 per cent of its value as a trade-in after five years/100,000 kilometres.

That is the worst resale value of any new car on the market. Its VFII SV6 predecessor, the last home-grown Commodore, is pulling 29 per cent. A Porsche 911 Carrera retains 49 per cent. That’s about as good as it gets in the money pit that is new car depreciation.

…This is a capable, refined, enjoyable car at what should be compelling prices, but it doesn’t really matter. As an import-only operation, Holden has become The Hollow Brand, its “Australia’s Own” pitch now as vapid and meaningless as its boast that the new Commodore would “set Australian driver pulses racing”.

And via Domainfax, neither is all of Holden:

Holden is fighting for survival. Battling record low sales, a dealer backlash and an American head office focused on large left-hand drive markets there are concerns the brand that created the first Australian car is facing extinction.

Furious dealers were among analysts who attended a recent crisis meeting at the Port Melbourne headquarters to formulate a plan for the future of the General Motors-owned brand.

…Sales were expected to dip post-manufacturing, but no one – including Holden – expected them to drop so dramatically.

…It was once families, farmers, business executives and middle class Australia lining up to buy Holdens.

But in recent years it’s turned its attention to minorities – LGBTI and ethnic groups – “to better reflect and connect with today’s Australia”, none of which is a bad thing

In doing so, it turned its back on traditional Holden buyers, the people arguably most likely to give the brand a chance in its import-only form.

Despite the sales slump, orders were in and boats were on their way, leaving dealerships with excess and executives scratching their heads over how to clear the backlog.

Panic appears to have set in – and sporadic extended warranties and discounting have been the solution.

All so bloody predictable for anyone except the smartest guy in the room.

My advice is kill the Holden brand now and use US brands instead. At least that will give them the kind of cache enjoyed by rocketing sales of Jeep and models like the Ford Mustang.

Selling fake Australian cars is a poor business model.


  1. …sales dropping faster than a Australian made submarine out of a french satellite city. Time to surrender!

    • If it becomes really embarrassing – I mean if Holden becomes a live joke amongst their global competitors, GM Detroit will cut their losses and drop Holden like a tonne of bricks, and run off like a thief in the night, they don’t care anymore.
      The corporate line will be changed from ‘its not viable to make cars here anymore” …. to…. “its not viable to sell any cars here anymore”.

      • I long for the day when the streets on the gold coast will be filled with “vintage” commodores like the streets of Havana… so you can relieve the Golden 00s every day of the god damn given week!

  2. Well my eldest will be ready to get his Ps in 5 years time. A 5yr old ZB at $8k would do nicely.

  3. GM is amazing. It has stopped selling cars in the EU market as well as the India market.

    So, not good enough for high wage people in Western Europe and not good enough for poor people in the 3rd world.

    AU market figures:

    Holden: -4595 units, 15,524 total, down 22.8 per cent

    Honda: +5357 units, 15,129 total, up 54.8 per cent

    Mitsubishi: +2799 units, 21,215 total, up 15.2 per cent

    Kia: +1406 units, 14,279 total, up 10.9 per cent


  4. The curved back section looks naff. Like a Mercedes copy and that type of Mercedes looks naff too

  5. St JacquesMEMBER

    A Hollow Holden for a hollowed out Australia, haha nice one. Looks like Straya is about to become the first GM free continent.

  6. But in recent years it’s turned its attention to minorities – LGBTI and ethnic groups – “to better reflect and connect with today’s Australia”, none of which is a bad thing
    IMHO, in a similar fashion articles suggesting a lower immigration should be preceded by a statement: “I am not a racist but…” to make sure no one is offended… LOL

    • alterbrainMEMBER

      Amusing isn’t it. What sort of car company would try and sell to city dwellers and immigrants, growing markets. Instead they should have focussed on traditional buyers, farmers and families, who would have shown loyalty to the brand after it stopped manufacturing in Australia, and stopped showing loyalty to Australia. Sure they would. Just the level of thinking that got them into trouble in the first place. OMG we stopped manufacturing locally, and fired everybody, then they stopped buying our cars – must have been those gays and immigrants.

    • It’s not a bad thing, but from a business perspective, it’s pretty stupid to go for tiny minorities; and new immigrants who, most likely already have foreign brand preferences. To top if off, by doing so, you’re alienating your big, fat, Aussie Nationalist, through to Bogan base?

      Could you imagine if Hanson tried the same?


      At this point, they deserve to die. They’re clearly too stupid to survive.

    • Know IdeaMEMBER

      Perhaps. But I would still rate BMW as the all round cock’s car (as long recognised by Top Gear, as it then was).

      • Yes. Especially the bog-basic 3 series. Basically a small sedan that slightly underperforms a Hyundai, plus a badge that you pay $20,000 for. A good way of letting the neighbours know you are a tool.

  7. GM stated in not so many words that the Holden brand would last until 2020 at which time it will become Opal, this may be sooner going off the latest stats.

    I can understand the commodore not selling as it looks like Sh!t.

  8. retaining an estimated 18 per cent of its value as a trade-in after five years/100,000 kilometres.

    Wow that means this car is totally worthless to the lease market, now what percentage of Holden Commodore new car sales were actually some form of lease?
    Like I said the other day this rebadging of an Opal goes to the core of the car’s (and the brand’s) value proposition, if I just wanted a V6 Camry than I’d buy a V6 Camry (or Honda), If I wanted a cheaper off brand front wheel drive car than there’s no shortage of Korean cars to choose from) If I wanted a luxury performance car than there’s no shortage of European choices. But a sort of low end European V6 front wheel drive car, what segment of the market even wants that?
    In the end Holden is squeezing a sub standard (or at the very least unproven) car into a very crowded segment and waking up to the reality that this means discounting and discounting heavily (aka buying market share). They can look back at what the Korean car companies did when they wanted a slice of the Aussie market, that’s their new reality.
    All Sounds like dreaming the impossible dream, if you ask me, but it does raise the more troublesome question, just WTF were they thinking would happen?

    • They had a lot of brand loyalty supporting local workers and Australias own car. Now that’s gone and they’re not only just another import, they’re the ex-girlfriend that just dumped us. So they are pushing uphill and need a really good product and low pricing to get back in the game.

    • Jumping jack flash

      ” now what percentage of Holden Commodore new car sales were actually some form of lease?”

      A huge percentage.
      They now lease Korean cars instead.

    • Some interesting figures in this story. In Perth, most 5yo cars retain at least 49% of their original price.

  9. GM filed for bankruptcy because they suck. Holden stopped making cars in Australia because they suck. Fact is, they are not competitive with the best of Japan and Europe. Their cars suck, if governments aren’t buying fleet cars then they are nothing more than a niche market.

  10. How do you sell a mid range car as a successor to a full size one?
    Brand it the same and expect that no one will notice.

    Funny but this approach actually had a chance
    VIVA * * * ANCAP Camaros/Mustangs!

    • Jumping jack flash

      I don’t see a problem with doing that, but the problem is their price is still a lot more expensive than 24,990 drive away!

  11. Lots of dealerships that are sitting on valuable real estate. It won’t take long for some of sites to be sold for apartment blocks.

    • right on, sure saves you the trouble of getting your next brand from a less convenient location

  12. Jumping jack flash

    Holden really can’t compare to the cheaper and more economical cars.
    Overpriced and out of touch with what people actually want.
    Why buy a Commodore when you can buy something cheaper that will do the job, probably as well as or better than a Commodore?

    People just want something that works, at a cheap price.
    If Australia would allow the import of that $800 Indian car, I’d buy a new one every other year.

    Brand loyalty is dead, well, not entirely, but it is only for an ever-decreasing number of people, mostly old people, who can still afford to be “brand loyal”. Brand loyalty is no longer possible for the average joe. Subsequently, companies that have restructured themselves to heavily rely on brand loyalty will all fail unless they can become market leaders in innovation and function again to justify their “brand” price premium.
    Who in their right mind would actually buy something sub-par, or even par for that matter, just because of the sticker on it?
    Makes no sense.

    Provide something that works at a good price and you’ll kill it. That’s the entire China story right there.

    These days where just about everyone is staggering under the weight of enormous mountains of debt as a result of the global debt bubble, nobody except the winners of this ponzi of debt can afford to be aspirational, ideological, and brand loyal.

  13. A really spectacular failure by the managerial class, the MBAs and consultants, the policy leaders, the industry experts.

  14. Hill Billy 55MEMBER

    Amazing how the suits expect the proles to do brand loyalty, yet themselves chose the cheapest and nastiest.

  15. I think we should rename them HODLens. Their depreciation since late last year almost exactly mirrors Bitcoin.

  16. Would be a perfect time to start on a clean slate and get into electric vehicles. Wont happen though.