Holden posts lowest monthly sales ever (plus market wrap)

New car market slides backwards (again) but Holden remains on the fast track to obscurity - out of the top 10 by monthly sales for the first time


Holden in just a sec. But first, a market update.

Year to date sales - September 2019

Top brands, YTD

  1. Toyota 154,515

  2. Mazda 79,057

  3. Hyundai 66,489

  4. Mitsubishi 64,506

  5. Ford 48,604

  6. Kia 46,360

  7. Nissan 38,343

  8. Volkswagen 37,709

  9. Holden 34,215

  10. Honda 34,210

  11. Subaru 30,701

Official FCAIA sales figures came out last week: Federal Chamber of Automotive Industry Arseholes. (The car industry’s grubby little grandiose lobby group in Canberra.)

The big news: Those perennial losers (Holden) parachuted out of the top 10, for the month, and suffered a staggering 38 per cent sales drop, compared with September 2018.

On year-to-date sales, the failing Retardistani/fake-Australian brand is in ninth spot.


As things stand there, year-to-date, Subaru sits just outside the top 10, on 30,701 sales. They had that massive supply issue earlier this year.

Honda - still asleep following the GFC but selling 34,210 cars so far, largely leveraging its reputation from the 1990s (when they were actually pretty good) but only really selling to people who don’t know better today.

Holden, just five cars ahead of Honda - 34,215. We’ll get to them below.

Next: Those immoral criminal shits and professional pseudoscience monkey gassers managed to find 37,709 dumb shit ‘Strayans to support them thus far this year - those convict genes. (Criminality doesn’t worry us - ‘Straya!!!!!!)

Next is those chumps at Nissan 38,343. (Not expecting a Christmas card there. Not after last week, eviscerating their behaviour vis-a-vis the generation 1 Leaf and its dogshit battery. Oh well.)

Kia is in sixth spot - 46,360 - and it you’d opined to me this would happen, perhaps mid-way through the GFC, I would have dismissed you as a crack smoker. Isn’t it funny how things work out?

Ford, fifth - 48,604 - the blue oval can feel Kia’s hot breath on its back. Or perhaps that’s just the ghost of Pinto. They haven’t had a customer relations or design disaster for days now. Days. It’s amazing.

Mitsubishi - despite the recent shackling to Nissan, and even worse, Renault, bits-o-shitty is on fire, and not in a ‘Ford’ way. 64,506 sales - so, daylight back to Ford. Triton has become the number-three seller in the country, and it’s an excellent product, representing a third of total ‘bits-o’ sales last month.

Hyundai - hanging onto third - just, with a 2000-vehicle lead over ‘bits-o’. They’ve gotta be worried about that. Bits-o sales are flat this year; Hyundai has slumped nine per cent. An internal Hyundai bulletin leaked to CarAdvice suggests there’s a seven-year warranty about to be deployed by the big South Korean H - but only for private buyers and only until Christmas. So if you’re in the market, wait until it’s announced and make sure you latch on to that.

Mazda - comfortably in second. 79,057 sales. No chance of being overtaken. No chance of overtaking for the win. It’s where they are. Locked in second. Like a Volkswagen DSG. Mazda is what Honda was, technically, but they need a new design team because the current generation has gone backwards badly, aesthetically, and they might think about dropping the bullshit Jap rhetoric in western markets such as ours - that’d be nice.

Toyota - king of mediocrity. Carmaker of choice to ISIS. Couldn’t design a DPF or an off-road air filter to save their lives. Slowest adopter of technology among major carmakers. (Apple CarPlay, Andriod auto - still brilliantly deciding if people really want that.) But still pretty good on the bullshit. 154,515 sales so far. Massively in front - perhaps complacency is a recipe for success. Look at the top motoring journalists - it’s certainly working for them...


Among the luxo Cherman brands, three-pronged swastika is way out in front on 23,644 sales. (They hate that.) Some are still made in Chermany. It’s amazing.

Bavarian Money Waster is second. 18,255 sales.

But, see, the gaps are all fluid here. Merc is dropping badly - 9 per cent down this year, but Bimmer is flat, so catching up, entertainingly enough. Perhaps fewer people are enjoying Mercedes-Benz’s ‘dominatrix class’ treatment in the service department. They are a leader at that.

And let’s not forget four-ringed expensive Skoda. Skoda with a Wonderbra, and better hair and makeup. Glorified Volkswagen for rich wankers. Audi, Audi, Audi … you’ve taken another steaming dump in your trousers. Sales are down 25 per cent this year, off the back of a 12 per cent reduction last year.

That weekly conference call back to Ingolstadt - I’d love to be ze fly on ze wall for zat. They’ll be gutting the prices all over the floor soon. So that’s nice.

The Holden Nosedive

Now, Holden: Despite the plutonium-239 implosion of CarAdvice, which is going on all around him, following the sales figure release, Josh Dowling did an excellent CarAdvice piece on the plight of Holden.

‘Holden posts lowest monthly sales since 1948.’ Kinda says it all, really. Just 2863 sales in September - lowest result in 71 years. And that’s after Detroit disinterred and re-animated Dave Buttner (below) - and I’m sure that was all very ‘Frankenstein’.

Incidentally, February, April and July this year were also record monthly lows for Holden. I’m sensing a pattern. And that pattern would be that not even Deadpool’s dad, the former boss of Toyota Shitsville, can pump water out of the bilges fast enough. The iceberg was just too big...

Expect more Holden dealership closures in coming months as the brand continues to slide further into obscurity. And whatever you do, don’t buy one - in an environment like this, you’re setting yourself up for a resale disaster.

Tung Nguyen (…aaaaaand the Academy award for best male porn star name ever by a motoring journalist, goes to the Carsguide news editor, Tung Nguyen - yesssssss!) Anyway, Deep Tung (as I would call Mr Nguyen, for shits and giggles if we shared an office) went on faithfully to transcribe Holden’s bullshit excuses for dropping the ball so badly in September.

According to a Holden bullshit excuse monger, there was a delay selling some Colorados to fleet and rental customers. Deep Tung also transcribed this epic bullshit excuse:


“...and a significant sell down of dealer demonstrator inventory as a result of our demonstrator clearance sale.” - Holden excuse-monger


If a Holden bullshitter had ‘explained’ this to be, I would have retorted with ‘How f-ing ill-informed do you think I am?’

See, sales figures don’t actually track sales. Of course. The car industry is in fact a movie I would call ‘Bullshit Inception’ - it’s bullshit inside bullshit inside bullshit - little Russian dolls carved out of bullshit - all the way down to the quantum level.

Sales figures actually track registrations. So, when a month looks like going bad, for a carmaker, the mother ship tells all its dealers to go out and register, like, 10 cars.

If you’ve got 200 dealers, that’s 2000 additional registrations that get chalked up as sales, and they go on the books as demonstrators even though most never get driven.

Then the mother ship pays the dealer a back-hander to sell the demonstrators at a discount, seeing as it’s no longer worth as much as a new car. So, essentially, that makes the carmaker look better in that month, but it engineers an even bigger slump the next month, potentilly, and it is therefore a very short-term sales strategy.

So, if you’re a proper journalist, the pro tip there would be to call them on it. Because this is what happens when you cook the books in August and it bites you on the arse in September. Because the fundamental problem is the cat’s out of the bag on Holden’s appalling conduct vis-a-vis the factory closure almost two years ago today.

15 years of Holden sales

*2019 sales are a pro-rata projection of YTD sales to September 30, 2019 - ie 1.33 x YTD Sept numbers. (In other words, Holden will be flat-out hitting 50,000 sales by the end of the year.)

The ‘Holden Heist’

Clever advertising can’t right the ship. I know this because Holden even released a brand new advertising campaign at considerable expense, detailing the joys of Holden SUV ownership. A Holden Heist, they called it. ‘This is how we SUV.’

(As if ‘SUV’ is a verb…)

Very nicely shot. Expensive. Stabilized rigs on cars. Couple of nice drone shot inserts. Wouldn’t be surprised if they dusted off three or four Arri Alexas or the Red Weapon Heliums.

It’s very good, production-wise. Almost Hollywood. But, at the same time, nauseating.

It’s a bullshit concept. They’re selling vehicles nobody wants. Under a brand they burned. Most of us know the real Holden heist involved the Australian taxpayer - and not even the most accomplished ad agency in the world could shove that down my throat and make it taste like fois gras…

If you’d like to support my unique flavour of ‘guerilla’ advocacy - highlighting that corporate cockheadery - there’s a secure Paypal link just over there, to the right. Your support would certainly help.

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Your Comments by e-mail

Bill H.

G’day John, I Read with interest your latest article on Holden. I have mixed feelings about Holden, but completely agree with your current comments. My mixed feelings stem from a long association I had with Holden from 1980 to 1994. During this period, I conducted fleet drive programs for them Australia wide. It was on one of these programs in the 1980s (at Symmons Plains in Tassie as I recall) where a very senior Holden engineer attending the program, made the comment “We just don’t seem to be able to get it right”. His comment was related to the ill fitting exterior window seals on a Commodore. So it would seem that lack of quality was recognised even back then, by personnel from within the company itself. I’ve always remembered this, as it affected my feelings about Holden from then on. Feelings which had developed from 1: A family member (Sir Laurence Hartnett) being a former head of the company. 2: The first Holden coming off the assembly line on my birthday (November 29, 1948) and 3: Getting my licence in an FJ Holden ute. One could say ‘nostalgia mixed with current reality’. Sad end to a company I knew so well.


Holden burned the brand and the Japanese and Koreans have made superior cars for years. I owned 3 Holdens 2x FB sedans and an LC GTR Torana.


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