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Holden marketing boss: 'We failed on Colorado 7'

Communication breakdown: GM Holden’s director of marketing Bill Mott said a lack of publicity has led to poor sales of it Colorado 7 SUV, but he promises to turn this around.

The marketing boss of Holden has admitted Colorado 7’s bad sales is their fault

21 Nov 2014

HOLDEN’S marketing boss has admitted the company has failed with its Colorado 7 large SUV as continuing poor year-to-date sales place it in the bottom of its segment.

Adding insult to injury is the Isuzu MU-X which shares the same underpinnings as the Colorado 7 but is selling at three times the rate, with 3623 units sold to the end of October compared with the big Holden’s 1234 sales.

Speaking with GoAuto at the launch of the 2015 Colorado ute and SUV on the Sunshine Coast, Holden executive director of marketing Bill Mott said the reason for the disappointing sales was a lack of advertising and publicity.

He added that Isuzu’s small line-up of vehicles made it easier and more important for it to focus more on selling its version of the SUV, but added this was no excuse.

“The M-UX has outsold us … that is true,” he said. “It was a failure at our end to properly draw attention to the product and its advantages. Another part of that is by virtue of how important it is in the slice of sales for a brand like Isuzu that obviously they’re going to give it attention and make sure that everybody is focused on that car.

“That’s a challenge when you’ve got as many nameplates as we do at Holden.

“So that’s not an excuse – it is part of the context in which we are selling our car, we’ve just got to do better.” Mr Mott said this will involve a re-energised effort aimed at winning over buyers and motivating the dealer network. But there’s a lot of ground to be gained with Isuzu’s advertising machine in overdrive promoting its ute and SUV.

“If you’ve paid attention you’ve not seen much communication on Colorado 7. You probably will have seen on Isuzu’s MU-X. I certainly have and we’ve got to do better.

“We have to engage with customers and tell them about the product, tell them about the advantages of the product and do the same with our dealership staff so that they can sell the product not just against the MU-X but all the others as well.” Those others come in the form of Mitsubishi’s Challenger, Toyota’s Prado and next year will see Ford’s Ranger-based all-new Everest go head-to-head with the Colorado 7.

Mr Mott said that given the right support his product is good enough to beat the direct rivals.

“Yeah I think we’ve got great potential in the car we’ve not exploited, quite honestly,” he said.

“We can do better and will do better in raising the awareness of the car and the advantages of the car. We have improved in the last several months, I think we sold 177 in September which probably still isn’t enough but better – it’s an improvement on where we had been and gives us some indication on where we can go with the car.

“So, with the right marketing – and we’ve got plans in place – and explaining to customers and to our dealership staff what the advantages of the car are and how we can better market the car, I’m sure we’ll have greater success with it.” Mr Mott said that upgrades including the more premium interior and quieter cabin brought in with the 2015 model-year update will widen the appeal of the SUV.

Launched in 2012, the seven-seat Colorado 7 is based on the Colorado ute and while a body-on-frame vehicle too, the SUV has a multi-link suspension in the rear for a more comfortable ride.

Four-wheel drive only, the Colorado 7 comes in two grades – the LT for $47,490, plus on-road costs and the range topping LTZ for $50,990.

The current leader in the large SUV under $70,000 segment is Jeep’s Grand Cherokee with 14,279 sales since the start of the year. Toyota’s popular Prado is not far behind with 13,615.

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