Holden Australia

1. Management Decision Problem

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1.1 Background
Holden is an Australian company which is manufacturing and supply of cars, engines and auto parts. With the vehicle market in good times, the sales of Holden continued to drop even though it received a massive financial supplement of approximately $150 million a year from the Australian government (Coorey, 2013). Moreover, Martin (2013) states that the VF model as a new product cannot alleviate the crisis in the market and influence Holden’s decline 12.5% in 2012 (Appendix 1). In 2013, Holden manufacturing plants suddenly announced that it will cease its production line in Australia in 2017. The main reason is that Holden doesn’t have a definite understanding of the consumer preferences and purchase intentions. These problems resulted in the company facing difficulty with their business operation.

1.2 Decision Makers Key Goal

Holden should improve their innovation of products to increase their sales volume.

1.3 Management Decision Problem
Should Holden is new product be changed?

1.4 Rationale Research Problem
The new product of Holden has problems that are different from the real demand of the customer. Successful industrial innovation has three critical factors which are technology push, demand pull, and integrated model (Rothwell, 1992, p. 221).Holden’s innovation developments not only dominate product line but also influence on product sale result. When Holden develops new products, it is not based on the customer feedback instead according to the company’s product categories and competitors’ developed product. It leads to setting a vague plan to develop products. As a consequence, some customers may not purchase the innovation vehicle because the products are not needed.

2. Marketing Research Problem

2.1 Marketing Research Problem statement
To determine consumer preferences and purchase intentions for the proposed.

2.2 Rationale Research Problem
According to Holden Australia, the outlook of vehicles market is positive, but its market share is in decline, some scholars think that Holden is inability to build quality in innovation may be the main problem that will influence its market share and change consumer purchase behavior. Therefore, Holden should maintain its competitive advantage through decreasing product life cycles, building quality in innovation and investigating perceptions held by Australia customers. Additionally, Holden can identify different variables which may change consumer decision making based on the MRP in order to increase market share and develop new product.

3. Research Objective Problem

3.1 Research objective one
To rank how Holden Australia introduces new attractive offers for the customers to increase the sales of the product. (RO1)

3.2 Research objective two
To assess Holden Australia’s new product to satisfy the different customers’ needs. (RO2)

3.3 Research objective three
To identify Holden Australia needs to supply target group planning to vehicle market. (RO3)

4. Repertory Test
The repertory test is one of the research objectives. It is through the structured qualitative interview (normally one-on-one) that is used to identify the interviewees’ opinion to the test topic and it is trustworthy. Repertory test also known as Kelly’s Triads or Triad sorts (Wilson, A. M., 2006). In today’s society, repertory test analysis is one of the popular techniques for estimating research targets and it is a common method to generate constructs through some targets and participants (Pike, 2005). Furthermore, the repertory test has other benefits which are help researchers to understand the opinion of the respondents more conveniently and effectively and distinguished the detail could be more identify etc.. However, the repertory test also has a couple of disadvantages including taking more time for analysis and lack of standard of test. In this case, Repertory test can be used in research to identify how Holden attracts customers to purchase. There are two key points to help Holden attract clients. First of all, the repertory test will be used on the Ro1. The company can use this test to understand the clients’ psychological state. According to appendix 2, car customers’ ranking shows Holden’s score is -3%. In contrast, Japanese cars with a positive score come out top.

Holden really need to understand the Australian consumer buying behavior or psychological motivations, and which marketing method is the most attractive to Australian consumer. Secondly, it can also use this test on the Ro2. The aim of RO2 is to satisfy the customer different needs, so the test can be used to identify what the customers’ real demand about the existing car or new product is. For example, quality and safety are important factors for Australia consumers buying a new car (Appendix 3). Therefore, Holden can analyze the competitive strengths and weaknesses, and then improve their products. This will improve their sale status.

5. Focus Group
The focus group is the mostly widely used in qualitative tools. A focus group discussion is to collect data through a group (8 to 10 participants) interaction and a moderator. The main objective of a focus group is to get in depth answers of consumers, and understand consumer attitudes and behavior on its products (Warren, C. A. B., & Karner, T. X., 2010). The group participants are selected carefully and discussions based on their experiences and views. In addition, researchers or clients can use one –way mirrors to observe participants’ opinions and behaviors. Moreover, focus groups can be an early stage to reduce problem as a filter. The advantages of focus groups are freedom, comfortable, high involvement, and commonality experience. For example, if participants have similar experiences and attitudes as others, they will have higher willingness to discuss the topic with other group members. Therefore, researchers not only can involve participants efficiently, but also can stimulate discussion of the topic. However, there still are some disadvantages of focus groups, including misuse, misjudge, moderation, messy and misrepresentation.

For example, when participants have difficulties in presenting their opinions it will cause the discussion to fail. In this case, the focus groups can be used for research objective three. Researchers of Holden Australia should make up a target group in order to investigate consumer attitudes and behaviors. The main goal is to increase Holden’s market share through consumer trends. There are three main topics to increase market share and maintain competitive advantages. Firstly, Holden should build quality in its new product in order to satisfy consumer demands. For example, safety is very important for majority consumer (Appendix 3). The second topic is to focus on price, when consumers who focus on cost will change their purchase behavior (Ahmed, M., Zaman, F.& Irfan ,M. S., 2013). For example, Holden can provide promotional program to attract consumers. The last one is that Holden’ sales services are a very important stage to increasing costumer’s willingness to purchase again.


Colquhoun, S.& Blackbur, B. (2010, August 3). Ford, Holden fail satisfaction survey. Drive. Retrieved from Coorey, P. (2013, December 11). Government’s treatment of Holden was bizarre. Financial Review. Retrieved from Martin, T. (2013, November 8). Market Insight: Holden hopes rise with VF sales. Market Insight company news. Retrieved from!prettyPhoto Masoom Ahmed, Fazluz Zaman, & Munshi Shamsuzzaman Irfan. (2013). Consumer’s brand choice behavior for car. Kuwait Chapter of the Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review, 2(5), 198 Pike, S. (2005). The use of repertory grid analysis and importance-performance analysis to identify determinant attributes of universities. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 14(2), 1-18. Rothwell, R. (1992). Successful industrial innovation: Critical factors for the 1990s. R&D Management, 22(3), 221-240. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9310.1992.tb00812.x Warren, C. A. B., & Karner, T. X. (2010). Discovering qualitative methods: Field research, interviews, and analysis. New York: Oxford University Press. Wilson, A. M. (2006). Marketing research: An integrated approach. New York: Prentice Hall/Financial Times.

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