Holden has been in a bit of turmoil for the past few years. With declining sales, plant closures coming in a couple of years, and big changes for the Commodore, steady leadership is key. But in the past six years, Holden has gone through six chairmans. The latest one, Gerry Dorizas only lasted eight months on the job. But there will be a new person in charge.
Last Friday, Holden announced the appointment of Mark Bernhard as Managing Director and Chairman of the brand. This is an important milestone as Bernhard is the first Australian to be in charge since 1990.
“Mark’s knowledge of GM Holden, our region and GM’s global operations will serve him well in his new role,” said General Motors executive vice president and president of GM International Stefan Jacoby.
“He will champion the ongoing transition of GM Holden to a National Sales Company and the repositioning of the Holden brand for long-term growth and profitability.”
Bernhard is no stranger to Holden. He started his career at the company back in 1986 within the in the finance division. Since then, Bernhard has held many roles at GM, including the CFO of Holden.
"It's wonderful, and quite humbling, to be returning to Holden to lead the company where my career started. I am a Holden man, always have been. [Becoming] Managing Director of this company has always been a dream job. While I know that the company is going through a very challenging transition, I also know that it is has a very bright future,"said Bernhard in a statement.
"I understand that the transition from being a manufacturing company to a national sales company is not easy. We need to ensure that those that leave us as a result of this change are treated with dignity, respect and most of all, support. But I am really looking forward to leading the re-making of our iconic company as we bring in great new product, continue to revitalise our Aftersales service and re-establish ourselves as Australian customers' favourite car company."
Bernhard begins work at Holden in the third quarter.
Along with the announcement of a new chairman, GM also announced that Holden will introduce 24 major new models and 36 new powertrains by 2020.
“While I can’t reveal all the details, I can say that Holden will debut an all-new Barina Spark in the first quarter of 2016, launch a global Captiva replacement and another all-new, world-class SUV to ensure comprehensive offerings in the crucial SUV market segment," said Jacoby.
Also in the pipeline is the next-generation Commodore and a 'true sports car'.
Holden are currently collecting data regarding people's opinions on the new commodore to come from OS. This link was sent out to email list subscribers.
Be heard on the issues we're all worried about (dropping the ute, rear wheel drive, power etc - what ever is important to you!)
Direct customer feedback has driven Holden's decision to retain the esteemed Commodore nameplate for the next-generation large car.
Holden Executive Director of Sales, Peter Keley, announced today that this will be imported from GM's global operations from 2018.
"The next-generation large car we have selected from GM's global portfolio is worthy of the iconic Commodore nameplate," said Mr Keley.
"When it arrives in 2018, our new large car will honour Commodore's heritage and support a long and successful future for Holden in New Zealand and Australia. Holden and Commodore aren't going anywhere and they will remain pillars of Kiwi motoring for many years to come. Customers have confirmed that retaining the Commodore nameplate is the right decision for Holden."
"Through the process of selecting the vehicle, we put to customers a number of possible criteria to better understand what they felt was important for the car to be competitive in our markets.
And, of course, whether it deserved the Commodore nameplate."
"Ultimately, the overwhelming response from customers was that Holden should continue the Commodore nameplate into the future with our next-generation large car."
Across 17 different customer research sessions, Commodore owners and non-Commodore owners offered a range of views, with a strong majority favouring retention of the Commodore nameplate.
"We know the decision to retain or retire the Commodore nameplate will stir passionate responses among Holden fans and customers. That's why we'll ensure the next-generation car drives like a Commodore should," Mr Keley said.
"The vehicle will be tuned and honed by Holden engineers and technicians at our world-class Lang Lang Proving Ground in Victoria, ensuring it performs in New Zealand conditions and to New Zealanders expectations. Right now, our Vehicle Performance team is helping shape the next-generation Commodore for Kiwi and Aussie customers."
Across all customer research sessions, almost 70 percent of unaided customer responses to the Commodore nameplate were positive, with participants citing Commodore's reliability, performance and appropriateness for families.
Customers cited a number of criteria as critical for the future of Commodore, including: ability to perform in local conditions; affordability; external styling; interior space; handling; power, acceleration; towing ability; and offering variants including luxury and sport.
GM Executive Vice President and President of GM International, Stefan Jacoby, said the decision to retain the Commodore nameplate for Holden next generation large car was not taken lightly.
"I cannot reveal full details of the next-generation vehicle, but I can say it will either compare very favourably or improve on the current Commodore's dynamic performance, acceleration, fuel economy, running costs and mass," Mr Jacoby said.
"The current VF Commodore has set new standards for quality and driveability and continues to perform well in New Zealand and Australian markets. We are confident that from 2018, we can honour Commodore's heritage and chart a new direction for the next-generation vehicle that is worthy of the esteemed Commodore name."
Very interesting - 9 speed auto and the size of a Commodore/Caprice.
It has been described as both AWD and RWD. Could end up being built by Opel and Buick.
I have found 7 reports about it, but none say if it was on the Zeta 2 platform.