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HSV customers are more sophisticated, more mature and thoughtful about their purchase than they were
even 2 or 3 years ago. They recognize that the HSV car is a reward for their hard earned achievements
and that it is a responsible purchase against European sports sedans that they could well afford. Their
purchase is driven by the individual styling of the vehicle and the heritage of genuine race bred
performance. Motorsport is still their most common pastime, yet they are going to the track less often,
preferring to watch the excellent TV coverage on Channel Ten. The most common alternative to their
HSV purchase is a BMW vehicle.
This information comes from our latest market research – the HSV owners survey, which has been
conducted since 1994.
Perhaps one of the most striking figures from this research is the way in which our customers income has
changed over time. Today close to half of new HSV owners have a personal income in excess of
$100,000. They have developed their careers and their businesses in line with the maturity of the HSV
brand name. These people can afford expensive products and they have accepted that the HSV car now
commands a broader level of respect from colleagues and other drivers. The most important factors
influencing their decision to purchase a HSV are:
Exterior styling of the vehicle
Quality of finish
Engine size and uniqueness
We need to change with these trends, and this lifestyle change is indeed a theme for this meeting and for
our strategic direction this year.
So to begin – what an incredible year of contrast we experienced in 1999 for HSV sales. And the monthly
sales graph really sums up the level of customer hold back and lack of supply that kept sales at below
average levels in the first half. Once VTII and WH supply came on line the sales closely mirrored our
production schedules – building to record levels through October/November and in particular December
with 350 deliveries. A total of 2216 new HSV cars for the year, only marginally down on the ‘98 result. I
would like to thank every Dealer for their efforts in achieving these record results and in particular the
number one Dealers in the state as follows:
In Qld EAGERS NEWSTEAD
In NSW SUTTONS ROSEBERY
In SA METRO HOLDEN THEBARTON
In WA BRIAN GARDNERS CANNINGTON
In Victoria GARRY WARREN SMITH OAKLEIGH
Who are also the number one HSV retailer nationally, and have been for four consecutive years.
I would also like to acknowledge the number one HSV provincial Retailer for last year – Brian Kelly at
HSV buyers seem to be largely unaffected by talk of the pre GST slow down – and in our most recent
market research they responded with no clear opinion as to whether they would be better off buying a
HSV before or after the GST.
In simple terms there a few good reasons to delay purchase of a new HSV until after the GST, as the
saving will be small in relative terms.
Our production volumes represent a significant lift in our daily build rate in the last 5 months of this year,
and our production team is gearing up to handle 18-20 cars per day over this period.
HSV production this year is targeted at a total of 3000 units for the first time. And with the combination of
a new model and lower GST pricing we expect the sales volumes in the second half of this year to be very
Earlier I flagged the need for a change – in anticipation of the way that our customers are already letting us
know that they are looking at us differently. And we believe that there is an expectation that our owners
are looking for HSV to be innovative, progressive and at times a little controversial in its marketing
I would appreciate being able to provide you with the following summary of our current and planned
The delayed release of the VTII GTS, and preview publicity from last years Sydney Motor Show
unveiling has provided a substantial boost to the level of PR support for HSV.
Our two main HSV promotional mediums continue to be in order: The incredible success of HRT and
what this means to our owners and Second the level of publicity and influence of the car magazines.
Since VTII release HSV has dominated the cover of many issues of Wheels and Motor, and in the
inevitable comparisons with Tickford the HSV cars come out as the superior performance car product.
The GTS this month features in both Wheels and Motor. And in coming issues will be compared against
some of the worlds’ best high performance sedans. We are also sending a GTS to Europe with Motor -
where we will take on the worlds’ best on their home turf.
The GTS is a model that is in many ways symbolic of the new direction for HSV and its buyers. In three
1.Firstly the sophisticated look and style of the car
2.Second the premium price commanded by the vehicle
3.Third the GTS performance for dollar equation, where for less than half the price of comparable
European cars the GTS takes us into an exclusive club for what is one of the fastest four door
sedans in the world.
Every GTS owner will be invited to attend our HSV/HRT hosted driver-training program later in the year.
As part of these events we intend to extend the use of the race tracks for a separate day where Frequent
Buyers and your nominated customers and clients can attend a HSV experience day. In our most recent
owners surveys, we asked customers if they would like to attend such a driver-training day and 83% of
them responded by saying they definitely would.
Two weeks ago we hosted a VIP activity for the top 10 HSV sales specialists of 1999 at the Phillip
Island Supercar Race Meeting. Over the course of the two days we also took them for a test drive in the
new GTS at the Lang Lang proving ground, and VIP tours of HSV and HRT.
The Internet continues to be a major source of information for HSV buyers – with 78% of owners visiting
the HSV website last year. On a daily basis www.hsv.com.au is now visited by over 120,000 people -
and recently some of the new additions to the site have been popular. (Note from webmaster – that figure
has risen to around 160,000 since this article was written, although it should be noted that it is a measure
of ‘hits’ not ‘people’.)
The On Line sales section was added late last year and was a first for HSV.
HSV TV was added to the web site late last year and this is a two minute video download of HSV and
HRT news items updated each week – since making it available HSV TV has been downloaded 5000
times from the site.
Eight months ago we launched HSV Smartcare Insurance in conjunction with HFS, in recognition of the
need to provide the reassurance of a branded package of insurances for HSV owners – still a major cost
of ownership. In less than a year over 400 HSV Smartcare Insurance contracts have been signed.
We believe that it is a natural progression to bundle up a package of HSV customer care services, and
accordingly we are working with GMAC on the release of HSV finance later this year.
As we attract a new customer base to the HSV brand you will see a broader selection of surprise and
delight features in our cars and the model selection will also reflect this change and maturity in our buyer
At the same time we must remember where we’ve come from and continue to link the incredible image
power of the Holden Racing Team to our road car business, and continue to build on our core product
characteristics that will always represent what a HSV is:
A checklist if you like of what a HSV car must always be, includes these elements.
A HSV car must always be:
A distinctive and incredibly stylish looking sports touring car – that stops people in their tracks and
make school children say “Wow!”
It must deliver acceleration that is never more than 7.5 seconds 0-100
It must feature a distinctive interior and offer crisp responsive handling.
Be assured that HSV will continue to serve up to you cars that meet these key criteria and much more.
In another new initiative we plan to pre release the HSV lifestyle concept at the Melbourne Motor Show
starting next week.
HSV lifestyle is again a recognition of the changing HSV customer profile and promotes the fact that HSV
ownership is about much more than just the car itself.
It is a reminder of all the benefits of ownership and adds substance and meaning to the theme “I just want
one” – that extends through:
HRT Club 1 membership
HSV Classics – Certified Used Cars
HSV Frequent Buyers Club – now with close to 100 members
Apparel and merchandise
The exclusive HSV owners magazine Excelerate
HSV Smartcare Insurance and Finance
The unique delivery inclusions with a HSV – the vanity kit, compendium certificate, etc.
Another component of HSV lifestyle is the announcement of HSV designer interior upgrades.
For many customers this will be the ultimate expression of the individual HSV and as a corporate
statement for HSV is a very sophisticated offering that is right up with the latest trends of the exclusive
divisions of Mercedes Benz, Porsche and the like.
Our display of an exclusive interior at the Melbourne Motor Show in the form of a market research study
to determine the potential demand and pricing levels for the series of options.
These are some of the prototype interior treatments that we intend to display at the Melbourne Motor
Show and gauge public reaction. With the plan that for customers who demand an extra special interior
upgrade to their R8, they can specify this designer option.
These prototypes include color themed leathers using premium quality hides, for the performance seats,
also included will be the matching of the steering wheel, gear shift handle, handbrake lever, dash surround
and rear parcel shelf speakers.
I have no doubt that this will be a very positive future trend – so watch out for further details on these
options in the near future.
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