Holden leaving? You’re dreaming!

Do you believe Holden is about to disappear? If so, then the brand has a message you need to take heed of.

Holden Acadia_On road.jpg

SIX months on from having closed down its production line in Australia, Holden here is still having to convince it is not heading to the car brands' graveyard

The Auckland-domiciled outfit announced today that it has a viral campaign starting this weekend that purpose aims to remind that it is still in business and has no intent of disappearing from New Zealand.

Holden has not said how much it has invested in the promo nor has it indicated how long it will run.

They are also keeping the specific details of the theme under wraps, except to say it features a face familiar to movie fans, whose famous lines have made their way into everyday use.

Potentially, the heading given the press release gives good indication: ‘Tell ‘em they’re dreaming’ is, of course, a signature line from the classic 1997 Australian comedy movie, ‘The Castle’, the story of a Melbourne working class family fighting city hall. Michael Caton, who plays the film’s lead character, is one of Australia’s top voice-over artists.

However, it has acknowledged an effort is required because there is public perception that the closure of its factory in Adelaide last October meant the end of Holden altogether.

In fact, the brand has simply reset its sights as an full-blown importer, with its badge adhering to Opel and Chevrolet vehicles, sourcing out of Europe, Thailand, South Korea, Mexico and, when the Acadia large sports utility lands later this year, the United States.

The campaign comes at a crucial moment: The ZB Commodore, a re-engineered edition of the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia, is now entering the market, with full public availability from next month.

The car sources from Germany, but what is also potentially causing confusion is that maker Opel is now no longer a General Motors asset, having been sold to PSA Peugeot-Citroen late last year. Despite this, Holden has ability to source the ZB from its current manufacturing point until around 2022. PSA then intends to re-engineer the Insignia so that it uses a French platform and drivetrains.

David Johnson, a senior Holden exec here for the ZB media drive a fortnight ago suggested then that Holden could still keep ZB going beyond that point, because the GM-designed Epsilon platform and GM engines it uses could be produced from other GM sites, in China and North America.

Meantime, Holden New Zealand managing director Kristian Aquilina is seeking to put a positive spin on clarifying any misconception about the brand’s status.

“Some people thought incorrectly the closure of the factory in Australia last October meant the end of Holden altogether, but nothing could be further from the truth … we are enjoying a product renaissance and have a very exciting future to look forward to.”

From late next year, every new Holden will have the capability to be connected to the internet thanks to GM’s unique Onstar technology, offering customers connectivity and peace of mind like no other brand, delivering a suite of emergency, security, navigation, connections as well as vehicle management services.

“Together with our dealer partners, we’re also making a significant multi-year $50 million investment in the future of the brand in New Zealand across the areas of customer experience, facilities and people,” Aquilina said.

“Plus, we have just launched the Holden Street Smart young driver road safety initiative.  These are all significant commitments to the long-term presence of Holden in New Zealand.”

“The new campaign will assure people Holden remains committed to New Zealand and is very much here to stay,” said Aquilina.

To see the new campaign, go to www.holdenheretostay.co.nz from Saturday.