Recently appointed Holden chairman and managing director Gerry Dorizas says the company is aiming to be the top selling brand in Australia by 2020.
Speaking to media for the first time since taking over the job months after Holden announced it would cease producing vehicles in Australia by the end of 2017, Dorizas ambitiously said Holden will claw back the market share it has lost to arch rival Toyota and eventually find itself as Australia’s favourite car brand.
“The strategy or the point where we want to go is to go back to number one,” Dorizas said.
“In a boxing match there’s 12 rounds ... I think we’ve gone through the eighth round. There’s still some rounds to go, but we’ll be back.”
Dorizas nominated 2020 as the target year that Holden would retain the title it once looked like owning for good.
The unscripted prediction is a bold announcement for a brand that more than a decade ago was the top selling brand and talking of 25 per cent market share. Now Holden is struggling to achieve 10 per cent in the face of a dramatic shift in customer demand away from the large cars Holden has long specialised in towards smaller cars and SUVs.
But the 53-year-old Japanese-born Greek national says there is no reason the brand cannot return to the top of the sales charts.
However, he said the market share of the top-selling car maker – currently Toyota – will drop, making that target more achievable.
Toyota’s market share once hovered around 22 per cent but has slid to 18.9 per cent last year.
While that’s still clearly ahead of Holden in number two – at 9.9 per cent – it’s indicative of the fragmentation of what’s considered one of the world’s most diverse and competitive markets.
“The market shares are going to start levelling out,” Dorizas said. “I don’t see that we’re going to be 20 per cent [market share] ... I believe that it will be 15 per cent one brand, 14 per cent the other, so everything will come closer together.”
Dorizas admitted there was work to be done if Holden were to achieve its ambitious goal.
He highlighted a better product line-up, more focused dealer network and boosting the brand’s share with the all-important younger generation as key to driving sales.
“Of course, we need the product strategy which is being deployed,” he said.
“We need the focus, together with the network, we need our focus as well.
“We have to refocus, it’s going to take time, it’s going to take a lot of work.
“I believe the notion of ‘no worries mate’ is not the identification of how we work. We will work hard, and we need to get the credibility back."
Dorizas also pointed to servicing as key to Holden’s success, saying customer and dealer satisfaction was crucial.
He said of the carpark of 2.2 million Holdens in Australia only about one quarter were getting their cars serviced at a Holden dealership.
“We don’t service the carpark that we have in Australia,” said Dorizas. “We will innovate ... we will get our customers back.”
He said the demise of local manufacturing and its importance in the success of Holden – locally produced models have been the backbone of the brand for more than half a century – would not hold back its transition to a full importer.
“We have always been an Australian brand, we will always be historically an Australian brand,” said Dorizas.
“The experience of the customer makes a brand, the correct product within the segments make the brand and also the best partners [dealers] ... make the brand.
“In Australia Holden is Holden, so there is history behind it ... we will come back.”