Holden boss rejects rumours: 'I did not join the company to close Holden'
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A few weeks ago rumour was rife that General Motors was going to restructure its operations in Australia, as well as the Holden brand at large. This was following an article by the Australian Financial Review that said GM was thinking about handing over distribution of the brand to UK-based company Inchcape Motors.
This in turn came off the back of a difficult 2018 for the iconic brand — their first without an Australian Commodore in the line-up, backed up by struggling sales of the new (critically well received) German-built ZB Commodore and Equinox SUV. It's hoped that the Holden Acadia seven-seater can help turn the tide for 2019.
In the meantime, it's been reported that Holden Chairman and Managing Director Dave Buttner has responded to the speculation from the Australian Financial Review by labelling it "pure scuttlebutt" that is "absolutely no way, not happening".
According to Australian publication CarAdvice, Buttner spoke about the murmurings at Holden's national conference last Friday in Melbourne. According to their sources, Buttner stated; “I’m looking directly at you. Believe me, it’s not going to happen. There is no plan [to change distribution]. I did not join the company to close Holden”.
Buttner took on the role at Holden in mid-2018, after 30 years working at Toyota Australia. Toyota Australia of course, somewhat ironically, shut their doors on Aussie manufacturing in 2017.
CarAdvice approached numerous sources in the dealer network, with some reporting that they were "very happy" with Buttner's response to the rumours.
Closer to home, Holden appeared to have a better 2018 in New Zealand than it did in Australia. They sat third in the end-of-year overall figures for new-vehicle registrations, with 13,046 vehicles and an eight per cent market share to their name (pipped by Ford and Toyota on 10 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively).
They were third in new car and SUV registrations (behind Toyota and Mazda, again on eight per cent), while they ended up fourth in new commercial vehicle registrations on nine per cent, behind Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Ford. That said, their commercial hero — the Colorado double-cab — had an imperfect January, falling to fifth in the commercial vehicle registration queue behind the Nissan Navara.