Spark buy-in pitch fires up

Holden’s daring new finance deal for its smallest car has gone big. And the company is already talking about taking it further.

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AN innovative finance option that Holden has launched to attract clientele, particularly younger buyers, to a recently released city runabout might implement with other models depending on circumstances.

Holden New Zealand says it is pleased with the immediate reception to its ‘Add Fuel and Go’ campaign, a New Zealand-first involving the 1.4-litre Spark, the cheapest model it has.

In speaking about the early reaction to the idea, the brand has also opened up to Motoring Network about the potential for other cars in its range to benefit.

The Auckland-sited brand is offering the Spark on a subscription-style finance system co-ordinated with the regular finance provider, Heartland.

Included in the $99 weekly payment is servicing, warranty, insurance and roadside assistance.

Specialist media point out that the deal is a three-year finance agreement at 9.99 percent per annum. The car can be handed back at the end of the term or a $7000 balloon payment made.

Although initial publicity surrounding the pitch focused on the base LS car, which costs $16,490 in manual and $17,990 with a constantly variable automatic, a spokesman has made clear that it also in applies to the flagship $19,990 LT.

In fact, it doesn’t stop there, general manager of corporate affairs Edward Finn said.

“At the moment were promoting the offer alongside Spark LS because it provides for a $100 weekly subscription, but certainly if our customers are interested in looking at other models then we will definitely run the numbers for them and see what sort of weekly repayments are involved.”

However, he added, the incentive probably works particularly well for the Spark, which despite a big specification lift positions $500 below its predecessor to sit among some of the cheapest new cars on the market.

“It really does lend itself to the smaller cars, where the weekly price becomes very compelling.”

There was already anticipation that some Spark buyers would prefer the LT model under this scheme “as it offers extra features and specification.”

While Holden NZ acknowledges it is especially keen to draw in the younger buyers that the brand spoke of, at launch, as being the people for whom this generation of Spark was particularly tailored for, it is not suggesting that any other age groups are excluded.

Initial feedback to the campaign, which launched last weekend, supports this.

“Pleasingly, we’ve seen some immediate success. It has certainly captured people’s imagination and there has been unprecedented interest.

“Most of the media doesn’t start until later this week but there were more than 700 visits to the Spark Add Fuel and Go website in the first few days of the campaign. 

“This offer demonstrates Holden is thinking outside the square to attract a younger audience, by understanding how they behave and consume – hence the beautiful simplicity of a subscription-based offer.”

In publicity surrounding the concept, Holden explained that it was confident because Kiwis were now highly familiar and comfortable with subscription-based services such as mobile phones and pay TV.

“This is simply an extension of this as it too relies on a weekly payment – but we believe this is the first time it’s been done in New Zealand with a car,” Holden New Zealand managing director Kristian Aquilina commented in a previous communication.

He imagines the promo will resonate with recent graduates and those starting out in the workforce.

“Holden also offers a variety of options at the end of the three-year agreement as the driver has the ability to buy the car outright, upgrade to a new model or simply return the car and end the subscription.”

Holden has not detailed how many Sparks have been sold since its launch in mid-March but Aquilina says the model has enjoyed “a fantastic response.”

Another attraction to the young – or, at least, the technology-savvy – is that it adopts the latest version of a new media interface that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, effectively turning the car into a mobile app, delivering internet radio streaming, voice control and satellite navigation – all downloads that operate with the phone as a hard-drive – plus all the usual smartphone functions.

Other Spark attractions are that, with 73kW and 120/128Nm (manual/auto), it pitches the most powerful engine in the sector, and a solid five-star ANCAP crash test score that will surely play well with anxious parents who are sure to have a say in the purchase process.