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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Return to sender: Holden's Epica Program

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Jaedene Hudson, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13/07/07

Holden's money-back guarantee offer on its Korean-built Epica has been used twice, writes JAEDENE HUDSON.

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2007 Holden Epica

Two people who bought Holden's new Epica sedan have taken the company up on its unique money-back guarantee and handed back their cars.

Holden has a shopping channel-style deal for Epica buyers: if you buy one and don't like it, return it in good condition within 30 days (or 1500km) and you will get your money back.

It is the first deal of its kind in Australia and there is only one condition - you must buy another car.

One buyer swapped the Epica for a Holden Commodore, while the other - a woman from Wingham, near Taree - bought herself a Mazda6. Holden will not reveal the identity of either customer for "privacy reasons" but Drive spoke to the Mazda dealership in Taree that handled the changeover.

It says the woman bought the Epica from McGrath Holden at Liverpool when she was in Sydney on holidays. She then drove the 310km back to Wingham without incident but the car later broke down on a trip to nearby Tinonee and had to be towed to the Holden dealer in Taree to be fixed.

While it was being repaired the woman walked to the Mazda dealership across the road, Manning Valley Motors. Salesman Steve Pascoe says the woman did not initially tell him about the Epica.

"I knew nothing about the other vehicle at the time," he says.

"It was not until the transaction was done and I took the deposit that she told me about the other car.

"So I gave her a copy of the order and Holden contacted me to get our banking details and then put the money straight into our account."

Pascoe says the woman bought a Mazda6 Classic hatch, with a recommended retail price of $32,980. The Epica range sells for between $25,990 and $30,990.

The Mazda dealer then trucked the Epica (with just 501km on the clock) back to the dealer in Sydney.

The Epica was launched in late April this year and replaces the European-built Vectra as Holden's entrant in the medium-car segment. It is the fourth Korean-built vehicle released in Australia by Holden since October 2005. The Barina and Viva small cars were launched at the 2005 Sydney motor show, while its Captiva soft-roader was introduced in October last year.

In the two months the Epica has been on sale it has recorded 917 sales. In June it was the fifth best-selling car in the market, behind the Toyota Camry, Mazda6, Subaru Liberty and Honda Accord.

Holden marketing director John Elsworth says the local maker always expected some cars to be returned.

"We only ever forecast a handful of cars would come back. Other GM markets have done this at various times and got a handful back," he says.

"It is my understanding someone bought a competitor and someone bought another Holden, a Commodore, I think it was."

Elsworth says the deal provides reassurance for buyers uncertain about the new car. "It's a talking point on showroom floors and sometimes a new brand needs that as some people think there is a bit of risk with a new brand. Some dealers use it more actively than others."

The money-back deal was scheduled to run until the end of the year but Elsworth says he expects it will continue.

"I don't see any reason why it will not continue unless the dealers think that there is no need for it.

"It is a talking point. The Epica is up against some stiff and well-known competition such as the Camry, the Mazda6 and the Accord."

Elsworth says he does not think the Epica's Korean origins have any effect on buyers.

"Where it is built is such a non-issue on showroom floors these days. There would not be many people who would know where their car is made."

However, Holden has had mixed results with its Korean-built vehicles.

The Captiva has quickly become the third-best-selling soft-roader in its segment but after a promising start, sales of the Barina light car have stalled, while Viva is outsold by its more expensive stablemate, the European-built Astra.

Barina sales are down by almost 15 per cent, while Viva sales have dipped by nearly 30 per cent in the first half of this year.

HAVE YOUR SAY

Is Holden's made in Korea strategy a hit? drive.com.au/blogs

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Well, when you have a Korean engineered piece of junk, that isn't very attractive to boot, what would you do? Shame on the owners for buying such a car, but at least the came to their sense and bought something good.

Edited by Dodgefan
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Well, when you have a Korean engineered piece of junk, that isn't very attractive to boot, what would you do? Shame on the owners for buying such a car, but at least the came to their sense and bought something good.

Amen to that... If their Epica is as craptastic and unreliable junk as the Canadian Chevrolet Epica, then they should all be returned soon.

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What I don't get is why doesn't GM have enough faith in the new Malibu to offer it globally instead of this thing?

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Now I know where the last generation of Malibu headlights went to! :P

I was thinking the same..my neighbor has one of them and this car looks like a MCE of that Malibu.

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What I don't get is why doesn't GM have enough faith in the new Malibu to offer it globally instead of this thing?

Don't worry, the Epsilon2 Malibu is global.
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What I don't get is why doesn't GM have enough faith in the new Malibu to offer it globally instead of this thing?

Too big. The next Malibu will essentially be the lwb version, sold overseas to rival the Grandeur, Opirus, 607 and C6, while the standard-wheelbase model will replace the Epica/Tosca and rival the Optima, Sonata, Mondeo, 407 and C5 etc.
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Unfortunately, Holden in Australia has just replaced the Epsilon-based Vectra with this car.... Anyway, only 2 people taking up the offer is a great result

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Hmmmmm, remember Saturn used to do that. I don't think they do it anymore, I wonder why? :AH-HA_wink:

No, they still do. The window sticker of our Aura claims that we can return the car within 30 days or 1500 miles for another car.

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What I don't get is why doesn't GM have enough faith in the new Malibu to offer it globally instead of this thing?

Because. Not only the size of the Malibu, but also- Opel is GM's principal global brand. NOT Chevrolet. In Europe, Chevrolets are all Korean and the Corvette, I believe, is marketed as the Corvette C6 and not as a Chevrolet.

Enough said :-)

Plus, from what I've seen, I'd still take the current Vectra over the next Malibu anyday anyway. I don't find the Malibu attractive. Especially in the rear. God it's aweful!

Edited by MyerShift
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In most markets Opel has been replaced by Chevrolet as the main brand, the only exceptions being Europe and South Africa. Egypt, India, Thailand, Indonesia etc., have seen Opel dropped in favor of Chevrolet, assembled locally or imported from Korea or Australia. For a little while the product mix will be different in North America and the rest of the world, but common products will roll out faster than you might expect in the next few years—Aveo and Colorado will be followed by the HHR, Camaro, Cobalt, the next Malibu (not the 2008), etc.

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Because. Not only the size of the Malibu, but also- Opel is GM's principal global brand. NOT Chevrolet. In Europe, Chevrolets are all Korean and the Corvette, I believe, is marketed as the Corvette C6 and not as a Chevrolet.

Enough said :-)

Plus, from what I've seen, I'd still take the current Vectra over the next Malibu anyday anyway. I don't find the Malibu attractive. Especially in the rear. God it's aweful!

I'm not referring to Opel or the Vectra. I'm referring to Chevrolet in other parts of the world is made up mostly of GM-DAT cars. Epica VS Malibu, not Vectra.

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Amen to that... If their Epica is as craptastic and unreliable junk as the Canadian Chevrolet Epica, then they should all be returned soon.

Unfortunately, it is.

Holden were pretty much forced into the Korean gear, due to the exchange rate of the Euro versus the Aussie Dollar. The Vectra was simply too expensive and Holden were selling them at a loss - it made the mistake of trying to pitch it as a premium middle size car, when the market would have none of it. The fact that the price of a Vectra was greater than a Commodore at times didn't help either! The XC (Opel) Barina was replaced with the Daewoo variant on the same cost basis. Holden lost $1500 per XC Barina it sold in its last year of sale. I bought one of the last XC's and compared to a new TK Barina, the XC still beats it hands down. The Viva was bought in as a gap in both cost and size between the Barina and Astra. It too is tailing off.

The market knows about how average the Korean made Holden's are and are taking notice - customers are starting to stay away from those models. It hasn't helped that Holden has dropped the Astra to just under 20k as well. Now the resale on them is utter rubbish and for the Barina, the current resale has pushed down the previous models resale too.

Half the problem is that a lot of the Daewoo based Holdens are still on the road here under their original branding and Holden only made minimal styling changes to them when they launched their variants barely a year or so later. Coupled with the fact that the build quality is average (i'm being VERY generous here) and they're getting a bad reputation here. At least they're drive half decently, but thats as far as it goes. If it wasn't for the economics, Holden would switch back to the Opel-based products in a heartbeat, but they need to make a profit as quickly as possible. I worry that short term gain will equal long term ruin - Mazda and Ford are pitching more quality based products into those market segements (Mazda 2 & 6, Ford Fiesta & Mondeo) and they're being well received.

I'm just hoping that the fiscal side of things will change enough for Holden to bring back the Vectra and Corsa, because as one of my favourite bands once sang " You can't polish a turd"...

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