What’s the fleet strategy for Holden in 2019?
Our strategy is to grow our fleet business in 2019 by offering outstanding customer service and products to our fleet customers. Holden is fortunate to have a loyal following of fleet customers and we plan to continue to offer tailored service and support to maintain their loyalty. We’re pleased that we’ve experienced solid growth so far this year of 15% YTD but we recognise there is still a lot of work to be done.
Holden has a relatively new fleet team and we plan to embed their roles and positions within the business and with our customers.
We have recently streamlined and simplified our fleet pricing system. We have adopted a “Club” pricing program of Silver, Gold and Platinum for small business and corporate customers. We have reduced the number of our fleet price lists from 14 to 6 and now issue on a quarterly basis, rather than monthly. This will make it easier for dealers, Fleet Management Companies (FMOs) and customers alike. These are the start of several initiatives we will announce over the coming months to continue to provide value to our customers.
Our plan is to maintain and grow our fleet sales across all buyer types from Corporate, Government and Rental. We have a renewed focus on the FMOs with the appointment of a National Manager in this area. This focus will extend to salary packaging sales which is a huge growth opportunity for Holden.
You have several new members in the team. Who are they, and what are they focusing on?
Personally, I am new to Fleet from August last year, and are relishing the new role. I’ve been with GM Holden for some time and are very excited to be heading up our Fleet Operations. My focus is to support the team in building the right strategies, systems and operations so we can all provide the highest level of customer service to our customers.
We have two National Managers across key areas of the business.
Paul McDonnell is new to Holden Fleet after joining us from OnStar where he formerly headed up commercial partnerships across the Asian region. Paul takes personal ownership of some major accounts, particularly in mining and infrastructure to ensure we deliver the unique needs of the customer. In addition, Paul is also leveraging his expertise in heading up our connected vehicle strategy in this market.
Matthew Morrison joined Holden Fleet in August last year and oversees our strategy and relationship with the fleet management companies, plus NSW Fleet. As mentioned, this and salary packaging sales are a major focus for us, which are currently 18% up on last year.
We are also fortunate to have extremely talented individual State Sales Managers across the major markets to support our customers on the ground. These are Peter Clifford (Vic/SA), Brendan Carrigy (NSW) and Janice Letinic (Qld).
Finally, the sales team is supported by Diana Ashlakoff, who is also relatively new to the position of Fleet Operations Manager. Diana is committed to provide great service to our dealers and customers which includes doubling our resource here with an extra consultant.
What are the big fleet trends you’re seeing in 2019?
The trend towards SUV sales is definitely continuing and we expect this to continue further. Holden is well placed to take advantage of this trend with our now complete range of SUVs from the compact Trax, medium sized Equinox, our new large SUV Acadia, plus the off-road ready Trailblazer.
The corporate fleet market is under a little pressure so far this year, but we expect this to bounce back in the second half of the year. We are seeing strong signs in the government and rental market and are well placed to take advantage of the confidence in this area.
Are your customer asking about electric vehicles?
Many of our customers are asking about electric vehicles. General Motors is investing billions on dollars in future technologies and are wholly committed to our strategy of zero emissions, zero congestion and zero fatalities. Recently General Motors invested in another 150 engineers in Melbourne to make our Engineering centre the most advanced centre outside the United States. These engineers will work on future products for General Motors around the world.
General Motors has a goal of launching 20 new electric vehicles by 2023. Of course, not all of these will be available in Australia, however we are working closely with General Motors on our future product, including electric vehicles.
Do novated customers prefer utes or SUVs in your range?
Our two top selling models in novated sales is the Colorado and our new Acadia seven seat SUV. These products will continue to be a focus however with Holden having such a new range of vehicles. Matthew and the team are working closely with our dealers and FMOs to increase the visibility/awareness of our products. Our strategies in this area appears to be having a positive impact with strong results so far this year.
For a Holden fleet customer, what’s the typical mix of vehicles being purchased?
Colorado is our top selling fleet vehicle with a loyal group of customers buying this vehicle. Customers love the power, durability and reliability of this hard-working ute. We are working with many customers on increasing our share of their fleet by increasing and/or adding sales of our other models. Our newly expanded range of SUVs are now featuring prominently in many of our customer’s fleets. The new imported ZB Commodore is also gaining strong support from our customers.