Despite a boom in sales of four wheel drive SUV and ‘crossover’ models Down Under, General Motors’ Holden has reportedly slashed the cost of its recently launched Adventra – a higher-riding, 4WD crossover derivative of the Commodore station wagon – and refunded part of the price.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) the new purpose-built Ford Territory crossover – an all-new design rather than a spin-off from the Falcon wagon – has claimed its first victory as, faced with disappointing sales, Holden has slashed the Adventra’s price by $A4,000 ($US2,900; £1,560) and will refund that amount to those who have bought the car already, a move which could cost it more than $A5 million.

Private buyers will receive a $A4000 refund while fleet buyers, who bought the car at a discounted rate, will get a smaller refund, the SMH added.

The newspaper said Holden predicted it would sell 400 Adventras a month but has sold less than half that – the June tally of 177 sales proved particularly disappointing during the biggest month of Australian new car sales on record.

It took the Adventra’s main competitor, the Ford Territory, just one month to overtake eight months of Adventra sales, the SMH noted, adding that Holden has sold 1,355 Adventras since late last year while, in June alone, Ford sold 1,372 units of the Territory.

“We positioned the car at a price we believed reflected the market place … but there’s a lot of pressure from all angles,” Holden spokesman Jason Laird told the Sydney Morning Herald, defending the move to discount the car less than a year into its life.

“We’d obviously estimated a certain number [of sales] a month and hadn’t hit that. Value is becoming increasingly important. When you’re looking at a market that’s moving so fast and a segment that’s splintered at a rate of knots … prices are always being revised up and down,” he said, according to the report

Laird reportedly said the price cut is intended to sell more Adventras, currently available with a V8 engine only.

A cheaper version of the Adventra, powered by Holden’s new V6, is due in September and industry pundits believe the V6-powered Adventra will need to undercut the cheapest all-wheel drive Territory, which sells from $42,990, the paper noted.

The SMH said the Adventra move follows a range of price cuts across the Holden range in recent months – Holden attempted to move its brand upmarket by placing a premium on the price of its [Opel-built] European imports but the public deemed the cars too expensive and sales slowed.

Holden is enduring a rough patch while the Australian car industry as a whole is roaring along at a record pace – year-to-date figures released this week show that [locally manufactured] Commodore sales are down by more than 10% in a market that is up 5.6%, the Sydney Morning Herald said.

Competition from Ford Australia’s purpose-designed new Territory crossover (left) has prompted rival Holden to cut prices of its Commodore wagon-based Adventra by $A4,000.