National

Holden dealers accept compensation offer

By AAP Newswire

About 120 Holden dealers across the country have accepted a compensation offer from the company as it prepares to exit the Australian market.

Under the agreement, dealers will be paid $1500 for each car they sold over a set period.

They are also entitled to reimbursement of some capital development costs and access to ongoing servicing operations.

Australian Holden Dealer Council secretary David Nicholson said the dealers were left with no choice but to accept the company's offer after the failure of mediation.

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

"With great reservation, financial pressure and reluctance, 120 dealers have now accepted GM's compensation offer," Mr Nicholson said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Today marks a sad day for Australian Holden dealers, and more than 9000 of their employees, after the majority of dealers were left with no choice."

Holden said three-quarters of its local dealers had now accepted the compensation offer and all its dealers in New Zealand had agreed to the terms.

'While it has been a very difficult four and a half months for everyone involved since the announcement to retire the Holden brand, our focus is now on how we can best support our 1.6 million Holden drivers," the company said.

In a letter to dealers, Holden's interim chairman and managing director Kristian Aquilina said he wanted to heal relationships and stood ready to help others do the same.

"Winding down new Holden vehicle sales was not something any of us wanted," he said.

"But it is now time to get things back onto a positive footing and focus on a successful transition, for the sake of our customers," he wrote.

"I am now hopeful Holden's legacy in Australia will transcend the difficulties of the last few months."

Global automotive giant General Motors delivered the final blow to Holden in February, announcing plans to dump the brand by the end of 2020.

The decision came after GM closed its local manufacturing operations in 2017.

At the time, Mr Aquilina described the brand's demise as "agonising" but said the company had chased down "every conceivable option" to keep it afloat.

"Every strategy, every plan, we looked under every rock," he said.

The company pledged to offer "fair" redundancy packages to about 600 staff along with compensation to dealers.

But Mr Nicholson said Holden had failed to show the same support to its dealers that the dealers showed to the brand during tough times.

"During the 1991 recession and throughout the global financial crisis, Holden dealers continued to take stock from GM in order to help it survive the crisis," he said.

"Yet, as Australia entered its first since recession since 91, sadly the loyalty and support toward GM has not been reciprocated."