Holden dealers fear financial hit

GM's compensation offer described as 'grossly inadequate' .

HOLDEN dealerships across Australia fear they will be under-compensated by General Motors (GM) following its decision to shut down the brand in Australia.

The Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA) CEO James Voortman said feedback from its members indicated the compensation offer from GM was “grossly inadequate”.

“As an industry we were shocked by GM’s decision and the way it was communicated,” Mr Voortman said.

“However, we have been even more shocked by reports from our members on the grossly inadequate compensation on offer.”

“Holden dealers invested significant capital in facilities, stock and equipment. Many signed up to long-term leases.

“They employed people in their business and took on apprentices.

“All of these decisions were made in good faith based on commitments from Holden that they were in Australia for the long haul.”

MTA Queensland Group CEO Dr Brett Dale echoed Mr Voortman’s concerns.

“It is critical that GM compensate all Holden dealers fairly and that the precedent set is an appropriate one for Australia’s future,” Mr Dale said.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Australia’s largest car dealer AP Eagers Martin Ward said there were 943 GM employees affected across his dealerships.

He said GM had an obligation, morally and legally, to ensure car dealers were provided adequate compensation packages.



However, Holden said in a statement its compensation offers were in the best interests of dealers.

“We believe the compensation to be fair,” the statement said.

“We are disappointed a small number of dealers are choosing to raise their issues in the public domain, rather than raising them with us.

“Different dealers will take different approaches to their commercial negotiations around compensation.

"We also acknowledge that responses can be emotional as we work through an amicable solution to a difficult situation for all."

Mr Dale said MTA Queensland welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to launch a Senate Inquiry into the Holden decision.

The Senate Inquiry, which has bipartisan support, was announced after representatives of Holden dealers met with Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Canberra.

“The Senate Inquiry to review the actions of GM is necessary and we welcome the decision by government,” Mr Dale said.

“We will provide a written submission and give evidence at a hearing on behalf of our AADA Queensland members.”

GM announced last month it would “retire” the Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand but would continue to provide support for Holden owners.

“We are committed to looking after existing Holden customers – and our plan is to provide aftersales support for at least 10 years.” Holden said in a statement.