Timing, they say, is everything. But it cuts both ways.
A group of Australian journalists were headed for the airport, bound for Thailand when news of the abdication of Holden boss Dave Buttner broke this month. By the time those same motoring writers were in the air, the bombshell had dropped at Holden and the fallout was raining down.
Suddenly, the invitation to drive Holden Colorados in the Thai jungle, about 200km south of the Laos-Thailand border, was taking a back seat to questions over the very future of Australia's favourite car brand. The vultures were circling.
Meantime, as speculation raged over the brand-name's extinction, that same group of journalists were told that, as well as the Holden-badged product, we'd also have the chance to sample the same vehicle but with a Chevrolet badge and Thai-market specification (all Colorados and their variously-branded variants are made at GM's Thai factory). Suddenly, the jungle drums were beating double-time.
Think about it: less than 48 hours after the news hitting that Holden's great hope, highly regarded ex-Toyota boss Buttner, was on the move against a backdrop of Holden's sensational sales slump and questions over its future, Aussie journalists were being invited to sample a Chevrolet-branded dual-cab ute. Two and two was suddenly becoming four. Or was it five? As it turns out, reports of Holden's death may have been premature.
The facts, as we know them now, include that Buttner's claims of leaving for personal reasons were true. The actual reasons are none of our business, but at least in this case, the expression was not a smoke screen for anything else.
Secondly, Holden's Thai counterparts had decided to allow us a taste of the Chevy-branded utes long before Dave Buttner had made his announcement. And, thirdly, the trip to the jungle to sample the Colorado in rather more trying circumstances than the average building site or boat ramp, had been in the planning for weeks beforehand. So, just bad timing then? It was looking like it.
But, boy, there's unfortunate timing and then there's this.
Designed as a reintroduction to the Holden Colorado ute, the actual product didn't hold too many surprises. There's no doubt the vehicle is capable and Holden's claim that the ute really deserves to be in the top-three sellers in Australia in its class are hardly fanciful. The problem is, of course, that the competition in this increasingly important sector of the local market is fierce.
At the moment, the Colorado is well behind the two star performers, the Toyota HiLux and the Ford Ranger (the Mitsubishi Triton is third), while the Colorado lurks around, swapping with the Isuzu D-Max for fourth and fifth position most months. Fourth or fifth ain't bad, but the Holden generally claims less than half the showroom scalps that the Ranger and HiLux achieve.