Holden’s fortunes have taken another major blow as consumers turn away from Australia’s former flagship automobile.
New Roy Morgan Risk Monitor research has found that Asian carmakers dominate Australia’s top six most trusted automotive brands, with Holden not even making the top 10.
Toyota and fellow Japanese companies, Mazda, Honda, Subaru and Nissan, make up the five car brands with the highest Net Trust Score (NTS).
South Korea’s Hyundai is in sixth position.
The highest-ranked American brand was electric-vehicle maker Tesla, in seventh position, while Holden’s traditional local rival, Ford, was 10th.
German prestige carmaker Mercedes-Benz was the only European company to make the top 10 in eighth, ahead of Kia of South Korea in ninth.
Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said that in the current tough automotive sales environment, maintaining a high level of trust was vital for car companies looking to maintain or grow their sales.
“It’s well known that Australia’s automotive market is in a rough spot at present with sales of cars in Australia dipping in the last two years after reaching a record 1.189 million in 2017,” Ms Levine said.
“Automotive sales declined by 3 per cent in 2018 and have continued this decline so far in 2019.”
Holden’s poor result comes a week after it announced it will phase out its most recognisable model, the Holden Commodore, over the next year.
Australians who said they distrusted Holden mostly took aim at the company’s decision to close its Australian factories in 2017, telling Roy Morgan the brand had “no commitment to Australian jobs” and had “taken taxpayer money offshore”.
Roy Green, former dean of UTS Business School, told The New Daily Holden is seen as part of Australia’s past, “not its future”.
“The world moved on, to other designs, other technologies, including SUVs and electric vehicles,” Mr Green said.
“Unlike companies like Volvo in Sweden, which has a strong export market, and was permitted and in fact encouraged to [expand exports by] its new owners, the Holden brand was largely confined to Australia,” he said.
“It was never permitted to become a successful global manufacturing export. And this ultimately placed a constraint, along with the changing tastes of consumers, that ultimately doomed the brand, and I think that’s now reflected in people’s perceptions.”
Ms Levine said that without a local manufacturing base, Holden had become just another importer and had fallen well behind other car brands over the past few years.
“The low Net Trust Score for Holden highlights the risk facing the (US) General Motors subsidiary over the next few years without solid local support,” said she said.
Ms Levine said Tesla’s strong showing as one of the most trusted automotive brands in Australia was unsurprising given its eco credentials and innovative brand reputation.
“Tesla appears to be shaping the future of the car industry,” she said.