Holden managing director Dave Buttner has stepped down from his position as managing director of Holden after just 16 months on the job.
The former Toyota executive, who was lured out of retirement in August 2018, has failed to halt the worst sales decline in Holden history.
Following the closure of Australian manufacturing in October 2017, Mr Buttner vowed to lead Holden out of its disastrous sales slump. Instead, Mr Buttner’s reign at the top of Holden will go down as one of the shortest tenures in the company’s history.
A statement released by Holden’s parent company, General Motors, stated that Mr Buttner was stepping down for personal reasons.
Mr Buttner’s resignation coincides with a disastrous sales run for Holden. Year on year sales from 2018 to 2019 are down 26.6%, which is already 33% lower than the same sales period in 2017.
In 2019, Holden has recorded its five lowest monthly results since 1949: September (2863), October (3086), July (3266), April (3483) and February (3825).
The September 2019 result is the first time that monthly sales figures have ever dropped below 3000. The disastrous month was enough to push Holden outside the Top 10 manufacturers by sales in Australia for the first time in more than half a century.
Holden’s market share has been steadily declining since 2013 when they announced that they would withdraw from local manufacturing in 2017. In 2013, Holden sold 112,059 cars. In the first 10 months of 2019, they have sold just 37,301.
Mr Buttner will be succeeded by Kristian Aquilina as the interim chairman for Holden Australia. Mr Aquilina has been with the company for 22 years and was more recently serving as the executive director of sales, marketing, and aftersales.
Question marks hang over the head of Holden’s future in Australia. Earlier this year, General Motors withdrew from the European market and sold its subsidiary brands Vauxhall (UK) and Opel (Europe) to France’s Peugeot-Citroen group.