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Holden Leads Sales Race

Thursday, April 5, 2001

Holden, which last year enjoyed its best market performance since 1987 has carried that sales surge and momentum into the just completed first quarter and reinforced the market leadership position it established at the beginning of this year. The company is ahead of Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Honda.

According to Land Transport Safety Authority figures released for March 2001, Holden posted its best passenger car sales performance since October last year - the resulting 20.8 per cent market share also being the best share achieved by the company for at least 16 years. Long-time kiwi favourite the Commodore accounted for one in seven new passenger car sales - emphatically outdistancing its nearest rival and stretching its unbroken run of market leadership to eight months. The carline’s popularity is even further underscored in that its 619 sales in March bettered the collective passenger car model totals achieved by all other marques.

Compared to March 2000, the industry’s passenger car volume was down from 4,954 to 4,167 units - a 15.8 per cent decrease. In contrast, Holden’s volume was up by 27.4 per cent, while the brand’s market share forged ahead by 7.1 percentage points to total 20.8. per cent.

Year to date March 2001 and compared to the same quarter last year, Holden’s car volume is up 338 units or 18.7 per cent, bucking the industry’s decline of 1,532 units (11,467 versus 12,999 YTD March 2000) or 11.7 per cent. With 2,140 units sold - 571 ahead of its nearest competitor, Holden remains New Zealand’s most popular new passenger car brand.

The Commodore carline has led the market since last August and year to date 2001 commands a 40.7 per cent share of the large car segment - compared to 35.4 per cent for calendar year 2000. In the process, the car has established an authoritative 472 units lead over the country’s second best selling vehicle. Of the carline’s total number of sales in the first three months of this year, around one in four had the 225 kW GEN III V8 all-alloy engine whereas last year, the ratio was one in five.

Increasingly a favourite with both private buyers and fleet purchasers, Holden’s medium size Vectra holds second place in its market segment and is the country’s eighth most popular carline - up from 13th at this time last year. The slightly smaller Astra has moved from 19th position last year to 15th in 2001, while the Barina - the smallest Holden that is due for replacement with a more ‘grown up’ and spacious version around mid-year - was the third best selling model in its market segment. Collectively, these four-cylinder models - all sourced from Europe, now account for a third of all Holden passenger car sales.

And Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) - arguably New Zealand’s best known and most popular performance car brand for over a decade, maintained its stranglehold on the sporting end of the market by recording a total of 95 sales for the three-month period versus 93 last year. Cumulatively, some 2,060 units have now been sold in this country since the marque’s advent late in 1989.

During March, Holden’s light commercial vehicle proposition - led by the two and four-wheel drive Rodeo and including the Ute and Combo, achieved a volume gain of 40 units or 36.3 per cent over March 2000. For the year 2001 quarter, volume was up marginally (323 units versus 313) across those product lines and should show further improvement as the all-new VU Series Ute - destined to roll from Holden showrooms very late this month - begins to make its presence felt.

Holden’s heavy commercial vehicle nameplate and brand Isuzu - New Zealand’s best selling truck in 2000 - sold 91 units in the quarter for a market share of 18.7 per cent and leads the New Zealand commercial vehicle market for the eight month in a row.

In terms of Holden’s overall and market leading performance year to date March 2001, the company’s volume stands at 2,598 units and market share at 15.5 per cent - up 275 units or 11.8 per cent on the same three month period last year. For comparison, the company’s overall market share at that time stood at 12.2 per cent, while its market position was 3rd.

Aalbert van Ham, public and industry affairs manager, said that Holden and its Dealers had approached the year with a great deal of optimism and confidence founded on the positive economic outlook, and on the back of the company’s sublime sales performance last year.

“Continued marketplace acceptance of the Commodore, the arrival of the stylish VU Series Ute late this month and the introduction of the all-new Barina mid year, positions Holden well to further build its volume and enhance its market share. That, along with the recently announced appointment of the company to fulfil the fleet replacement needs of the New Zealand Police plus the prospect of the soft-top Astra Cabrio and full-size Monaro Coupe in Holden showrooms at year’s end, augers well for the brand’s ongoing success,” he concluded.

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