Holden dealers accept General Motors compensation

Marco Green
July 3, 2020

About 120 of the 185 Holden dealers who operate 203 showrooms across the nation agreed to the package on Tuesday afternoon.

Australian dealers had been fighting for $6100 per vehicle.

After a months-long battle the Australian Holden Dealer Council today revealed they had accepted the offer, which would hand dealers $1500 per new auto sold over a set period.

Holden's global parent company General Motors chose to retreat from right-hand drive vehicles internationally, informing Holden staff and dealers in a shock move.

The deal amounted to a payment of between $100,000 for smaller dealers and in excess of $3 million for larger showrooms, in addition to extra payments for outlets that had recently upgraded their facilities.

A protracted battle followed and, despite the intervention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, two days of mediation resulted in a stalemate.

Today marks a sad day for Australian Holden dealers, and more than 9,000 of their employees, after the majority of dealers were left with no choice but to accept General Motor Holden's compensation offer.

However, General Motors said: "This is not the case". We have responded to the government accordingly.

He said Holden's parent company General Motors had refused to negotiate in good faith and rejected taking the issue to arbitration.

Australian Holden Dealer Council secretary David Nicholson said the dealers accepted the offer "with great reservation, financial pressure and reluctance".

"This has set a risky precedent and Australia urgently needs to strengthen its automotive franchising regulations to protect local businesses against the heavy-handed behaviour of some vehicle manufacturers". "It's time to make some changes, otherwise it might be your job or business next".

The background of the confrontation between Holden dealers and GM this week hit its low point when, as the June 30 deadline approached, GM "flat out refused a federal government request to extend the deadline and refused to participate in arbitration with its dealers", said Mr Voortman.

"The AADA believes that the failure to offer fair compensation for walking away from its contracts; the way GM has conducted itself since presenting its offer of compensation; and the actions in the lead up to its withdrawal announcement all pose serious questions as to whether GM has acted in good faith", said Mr Voortman.

"At every turn, (General Motors) has thumbed its nose at local dealers, the Australian Government, and by extension the Australian public, the same public which provided the company with more than $2 billion in taxpayer funded assistance", said Mr Voortman. Lawmakers in Australia's parliament are pressing ahead with an inquiry into the matter and industry groups are calling for stronger franchising regulations to better protect dealers in the future.

However, dealers received an independent evaluation which calculated they were entitled to more than $6000 per auto.

Yesterday 120 Holden dealers agreed to the terms of a deal with GM rumoured to worth $150 million, or $1500 per new vehicle sold over a set period of time.

GM will now try to iron out details of the parts and service network which will remain in Australia to look after the 1.6 million Holdens on Australian roads for, according to GM, at least he next 10 years.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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