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Old 09-11-2002, 18:17   #1 (permalink)
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Observations of a dumb consumer

Firstly, let me say that whilst I have been enjoying your discussions for some time, this is my first posting, so please be gentle.

I like to think that I'm an objective person and feel that this is true of how I vote and how I choose cars. I currently have a POS company car with an antiquated push rod engine, suspension designed 20 years ago, poor engineering, inadequate build quality, that leaks and burns oil, (ie VTII SS). See, I have been reading your postings (though I can't say that I've experienced most of these).

I am due to replace my car early next year, but would like to point out that I love this car and will be sad to see it go. Having said that, I couldn't be more excited at my options for replacement. At present BA XR8 and VY SS are running short odds.

So, some observations from one of the many non-tech (dumb) buyers out there.

One car has a control blade thingy and the other has a missing link trailing arm. All I know is that my SS handles pretty well and is lots of fun to drive around the bendy bits, although most motor writers would contradict me on this (I guess I haven't test driven enough Porches or BMWs to know the difference). And Holden are telling me that the next SS will handle better (than VX). Cool!

My push rod engine design is antiquated by comparison to BA's. All I know is that I think my car is quick and certainly does the job when the guys boom gate in the toll booth next to me raises at the same time as mine. And Holden are telling me that the next SS will be quicker (than VX). Cool!

My point is that superior products frequenly lose to superior marketing. Look at Beta Vs VHS as a case in point. It is clear from this forum (and from the guys backpeddling on LS1) that the BA appears to be the superior product.

Another thing worth considering is that for both Falcon and Commodore, executive fleet sales make up a large percentage of sales (70% I think). This means that the standard specs on these vehicles are important as there is little option for your average executive to make after market modifications.

For the record, to date I've had 3 Falcons and 3 Commodores.
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Old 09-11-2002, 18:37   #2 (permalink)
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Holdens Biggest Problem

Holden's biggest problem / mistake so far is their pricing strategy!!! Sure they are looking after the retail consumer, but just think what this means for fleets........ And lets face it, fleets make up over 70% of total volume for both Holden and Ford

There are currently 8000 VX Commodores still to be sold. Yet the new model is the same price. Therefore, discounts on VX!! Discounts on the VX runout, will reduce the resale value of cars already sold, let's face it your VX won't be worth as much if a new one can be purchased for a couple of grand off the list price. Falling residuals will hurt fleets who currently have a large number of VX commodores out there. Make them angry and they will go to the company with better residuals!!

So yes, Holden have priced competitively!! And it may make retail customers happy, but they are a very small % of the total market.

It may not happen, Holden may manage this issue!! But Ford suffered badly from the same issue with AU and their sales to fleets have suffered significantly!! Fleets are not brand loyal despite the arrogant comments of Holden's marketing department, and if the superior technology in the Ford lifts their residuals........Holden could (and I emphasise could) be in for a pretty rough ride!!
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Old 09-11-2002, 18:37   #3 (permalink)
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I hear you

Not necessarily from my perspective but that of my wife. I currently own a VT Berlina and was planning on replacing it with an AWD Ralliart Magna, until I saw the work Ford had done on the BA Falcon. From my perspective, the VT Berlina has an unrefined and asthmatic engine which I don't enjoy driving. The automatic transmission is dumb to the point of being dangerous - while driving up a hill on the Pacific Highway in the wet the transmission kicked down unexpectedly causing the tail to fling out once. Build quality is absolutely attrocious - I keep having to push the rubber seals on lights back into place, carpet edging isn't hidden properly, panels don't fit together on this so called luxury car. And of course, there's that rear wheel steering thing, when the toe angle on the rear wheel changes etc etc - I could go on.

My wife on the other hand, loves the car - for it's looks and thinks its great - oddly enough she's the one that drives the S15 200SX the most. I've shown her pictures of the BA and her comments are "That's nice - what colours does it come in?" She doesn't appreciate the benefits of an inline 6 cylinder engine, the benefits to the fuel consumption that infinitely variable valve timing brings etc etc. She just gets in, likes what she sees, and puts her foot down.

Ford still does have a marketing job to get on with - I think it's done well with the drip feeding - it has gotten the media excited which in turn has aroused the curiosity of the public. I certainly had no intention of buying a BA until my interest was aroused piece by piece. However, once people are in and have taken a look at the car, inside and out, and taken it for a drive (even my wife recognises and appreciates the difference in handling between the Berlina and the 200SX), I think Ford will be in with a large chance.

Now, what colour should I get that XR 6T in....
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Old 09-11-2002, 19:12   #4 (permalink)
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is only reason a superior product is outsold by a inferior product is down to marketing. Marketing is an area Holden have the wood over Ford, its now up to Ford to lift its game in this area and what we've seen so far it will improve
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Old 09-11-2002, 19:45   #5 (permalink)
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i thought it was pretty obvious Ford has identified Marketing as a key area of improvement and have done so already. . Have a look at the release schedule of the information and the cars so far.

Ford have set the early pace and basically said to the other manufacturers, "We're ready to roll, keep up if you can".

VX sales have almost completely dropped off while people wait for the new falcon to come out before making decisions. A foot in the door. We may not convert all of them but we've got them thinking.
the VY marketing machine has barely kicked into gear, the Holden Website has copied (poorly IMHO) the website ideas of the falcon with the different parts of the car displayed and they are already on the back foot over the rear end styling amongst other things.

While there is a way to go, the momentum is building and showing that steps have been taken to learn from previous issues and correct them.
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Old 09-11-2002, 22:41   #6 (permalink)
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An interesting viewpoint from Holden central:

Quote:
Originally posted by HSV Senator @ LS1.com.au
must say I am a long time Holden fan but I begining to wonder if Holden's VY is going to get spanked harder then Ford did over AU!

From what I have seen Holden has nothing to compete with this car?

Holden has a boat anchor Pushrod 3.8L V6 with 152kw and Ford has a new DOHC VCT 4.0L I6 with 182kw! Holden has an out of date supercharged Pushrod 3.8L V6 with with 171kw Ford has a DOHC Turbocharged 4.0L I6 with 240kw! Holden has a pushrod 5.7L Gen 3 V8 with 235kw and a very poor quality reputation and Ford has a new Quad cam 5.6L V8 with 260kw!

Holdens suspension is old technology and much worse then the Au and the BA has gone another step ahead again with control blade rear suspension! Holden is also still using the dodgy old 4 speed auto from the VT and Ford is using much better autos and now with sequential sports shift!

The interior of the BA apears to be an all new quality job while the VY is a few crapy parts thrown on the existing VX interior? WTF? And to top it off hardly anyone likes the look of the VY and lots of people seem to love the BA, and having seen the photos of the VY SS and the BA XR8 you would be nuts to go the SS, I hope in the metal this is not the case because the VY SS will get flogged.

The looks of the rest of the Vy range seems nothing to write home about either and the BA does look more appealing at the moment (on the road I guess we will see). There are no new decent features on any of the new Holdens except bloody parking sensors and colours from the Monaro- Yawn! The biggest news being the stripped out SV8- Hello!? yeah nice but only if you add more mods and that will void your warranty anyway!

This is all on top of the fact that Holden has such poor quality and their service dept have a really bad reputation along with alot of existing VT-VX owners who are very unhappy with their cars now, let alone when there is a fantastic new competitor accross at the Ford dealer ship not to mention better efforts from the Magna and Camry.

So Holden will keep the prices down for the moment, big deal if the car feels like a cheaper second best car to its competitors then I supose you wouldnt want to pay the same or more for it then would you? I would rather fork out a bit of extra cash for the better product personally?

So where does this leave Holden? From what I am reading the new gearboxes are at least a VY2 proposition, the new multicam engines wont be on line for a few years yet, the new suspension/platform a few years after that? They wont ever have a multi cam Gen 3 and they cant give it much more power because it will kill HSV.

HSV say they wont go over 300kw and seem like they will be priced out of the market by Fords new performance arm anyway!

So what happens next? As I said I have been a long time Holden fan but I can see no reason to stick with them unless Ford some how completely stuff up the BA which seems unlikely. Surely there is something happening for Holden Fans? Anybody?
The thread can be viewed here: http://www.ls1.com.au/forum/showthre...&threadid=4244
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Old 09-11-2002, 22:52   #7 (permalink)
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All you have to do is get the customer into the car for a drive, before or after they're been across the road to Holden.

The problem is making them go drive the BA as well instead of just hopping in a Commodore and thinking "this is nice", and driving away in it.

Hellooooooo marketing! I can't wait for the ads!

:s6:
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Old 09-11-2002, 23:10   #8 (permalink)
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^^Great post from a Holden fan.

And on to the marketing subject.

They WILL get it right. I applied for a job at Ford in their marketing dept. Now, I don't have big head or anything, but I am pretty good at what I do. And I didn't get the job.

So, they would have some pretty sharp people working there!
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Old 09-11-2002, 23:17   #9 (permalink)
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Well, having had previously an EA and swearing off Falcons forever, they managed to get my attention with their marketing to date. I'll need to test drive the XR6T first but I'm sure that will just be the final nail in the coffin.
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Old 09-11-2002, 23:20   #10 (permalink)
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Just with that link, it says that HSV wont go over 300kw? is this true, i didnt know that HSV had called a cap on power figures..
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