Holden is offering customers $500 if they test drive one of its cars but then go and buy something else. Photo: Joshua Dowling.
Holden is offering customers $500 if they test drive one of its cars but then go and buy something else. Photo: Joshua Dowling.

Test drive Holden, pocket $500 if you buy a different car

HOLDEN is about to open its chequebook with a $500 offer to get buyers back into showrooms after sales hit rock bottom in the first half of the year.

And you don't even need to buy a Holden to cash-in on the deal.

In fact, you'll only pocket $500 if you don't buy a new car from them.

Holden is about to offer customers $500 if they test drive one of its vehicles - and then go and buy a car from a rival brand.

"It's a bold move but it's one we do with confidence," says Holden marketing director, Kristian Aquilina. "The idea of course is that once customers take a new Holden for a test drive and compare the value, they'll buy one of our cars."

To pocket the $500 you must test drive a Holden first and then provide proof that you bought another car of the same type and in a similar price range within 30 days.

The $500 is redeemed online in the form of a prepaid Visa card.

Out with the old and in with the new … stock of locally-made Commodores is starting to sell out, making way for the new model imported from Germany (front). Picture: Joshua Dowling.
Out with the old and in with the new … stock of locally-made Commodores is starting to sell out, making way for the new model imported from Germany (front). Picture: Joshua Dowling.

The bold Holden offer follows Ford's $200 cash back promotion in 2014.

Back then if you test drove a Ford but bought a car from a rival brand customers were given $200. However, if customers came back and bought a Ford they would get $500 off their best quoted price.

While industry experts and some dealers were concerned the Ford deal was open to rorting, insiders estimate only about 200 customers cashed in at the time.

Holden's offer of $500 to not buy one of its cars is more than twice the incentive offered by Ford four years ago.

Holden believes its new cars and sharp prices will be so compelling that it doesn't expect to be handing out many Visa card vouchers, even though it has budgeted for them.

Mr Aquilina said Holden would "challenge buyers to experience our cars and form their own opinion".

"We're so confident … we're willing to put $500 down if they go on to buy something else."

The deal comes after Holden posted its lowest sales and smallest market share - in February and March respectively - since 1948, when the first Holden rolled off the production line.

In another first, Holden is using its local engineers in the new "test drive challenge" advertising campaign.

Holden now has a broader model range compared to when it manufactured cars locally. Picture: Joshua Dowling.
Holden now has a broader model range compared to when it manufactured cars locally. Picture: Joshua Dowling.

The advertisement aims to reverse the perception that Holden abandoned Australia after the factory closure in October 2017.

Holden now has a broader model range than it did before the end of local manufacturing.

Furthermore, Holden still employs approximately 180 engineers who fine-tune foreign cars to better suit Australian conditions - in addition to their ongoing development work for overseas models in the General Motors world.

While Holden may no longer be making cars in Australia "we pride ourselves on knowing Australian drivers best," said Mr Aquilina.

The engineers in the advertisement include ride and handling expert Rob Trubiani, who set a lap record for a V8 Holden ute at the famed Nurburgring circuit in Germany in 2013, Melanie Pollock, director of quality, and Ben Stephens, the lead development engineer for Colorado ute.

Holden engineer Ben Stephens (left), Rob Trubiani (centre), and Melanie Pollock (right) appear in a TV ad for the $500 test drive challenge. Picture: Supplied.
Holden engineer Ben Stephens (left), Rob Trubiani (centre), and Melanie Pollock (right) appear in a TV ad for the $500 test drive challenge. Picture: Supplied.

The $500 test drive challenge comes a fortnight after Holden introduced a 5-year/unlimited kilometre warranty across its range after dabbling with extended coverage in the past 12 months during sales promotions.

This means half the Top 10 brands now have five- or seven-year warranty coverage.

Leading brands still holding out with three-year coverage include market leader Toyota, number two Mazda, and Nissan, Subaru and Volkswagen.

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling

Holden engineer Rob Trubiani testing a German Holden Commodore at the Lang Lang proving ground on the south-eastern outskirts of Melbourne. Picture: Supplied.
Holden engineer Rob Trubiani testing a German Holden Commodore at the Lang Lang proving ground on the south-eastern outskirts of Melbourne. Picture: Supplied.

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