Holden Commodore sales continued to slide in August.
Holden is pulling out all the stops to reverse a sales slide that could see it post its lowest sales in 19 years.
The company’s sales are down 10 per cent in a market that is up by 9.4 per cent in the first eight months of the year.
If Holden continues at its average monthly rate of 9500 deliveries, it will have sold 115,000 cars by the end of the year. Holden’s previous two lowest results were 118,800 in 1994 and 96,500 in 1993.
The brand has been hit hard by record-low Commodore sales as it waits for an updated model in June 2013 – and a six-month “blackout” of supply of the Colorado pick-up at the start of 2012.
Buoyed by a 0.5 per cent finance offer last month – which it has re-introduced on selected models this month – Holden posted its best monthly result for the year in August.
But the tally of 11,200 was still down on the same month last year – as the Australian new-car market is on track for an all-time record of almost 1.1 million sales.
“I think what you saw in August was us responding to a bad July,” says Holden boss Mike Devereux. “We clawed back quite a bit of ground in August.
“I don’t know that we’re going to make up for lost ground [but] we’re going to be competitive in the pricing [between now and the end of the year].”
Devereux says limited Colorado stock in the first six months of the year is the main reason for the sales slide. Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) are the third biggest category behind small cars and compact softroaders.
“Some of that market share decline we’ve seen is because we didn’t have Colorado for six months.
“We got pounded big time in the LCV segment. We built our last Colorado in November  and got our next one in June . We had a pretty big blackout.”
The floods that devastated Thailand late last year may have delayed the launch of the new Colorado, but now Holden is heavily overstocked.
According to dealer reports, Holden is shipping 18,000 Colorados in the second half of this year – equal to the number of market-leading Toyota HiLuxes, even though the Colorado is the fourth-best seller in the one-tonne ute market.
Dealers are already being offered bonuses of up to $4000 on selected Colorado models – a highly unusual move on a just-released vehicle.
Devereux would not comment on exact numbers, but says: “We’ve got a fairly aggressive sales ramp up for new Colorado. We have enough Colorados.”