Holden dealers will know within the next 24 to 48 hours just how far they can discount to clear remaining stock – and showrooms may shut by the middle of the year rather than make it all the way to the end of 2020.
Several Holden dealers – speaking on condition of anonymity – have told CarAdvice that General Motors will release by the middle of the week a discount plan to clear all remaining showroom models.
The dealers are unclear if the savings will amount to $2000 or $10,000 per car, but are confident the discounts will be generous to help move metal as quickly as possible.
Anyone who has signed a contract to buy a new Holden in the lead-up to Monday’s shutdown announcement may also be able to renegotiate the final drive-away price, the Holden dealers said.
General Motors has estimated the axing of the Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand – and winding up its Thailand factory operations, which made the Colorado ute and Trailblazer SUV – will cost $1.1 billion.
In addition to redundancies for 600 of Holden’s 800 employees in Australia and New Zealand, Holden dealers have been told they are entitled to compensation from General Motors because it has ended their franchise agreements almost two years early.
The contracts with most of Holden’s 204 showrooms were due to expire at the end of 2021.
A confidential Holden bulletin obtained by CarAdvice, which outlined dealer compensation and vehicle discount plans to "move quite quickly" also offered counselling services to dealer staff.
The bulletin, signed by Holden boss Kristian Aquilina, said in part: "We are concerned to ensure your personal and emotional wellbeing and will be making available counselling services should you require them. This will be a confidential service managed by external experts, and you do not need to advise Holden if you are intending to access this service."
While the news came as a shock to many Holden dealers, some have already fast-tracked plans to install rival brands on Holden’s floorspace and switch signage.
Leading multi-franchise Holden dealers across several states told CarAdvice that they expect to be clear of their remaining models within "weeks or months".
Most dealers said they had fewer than two dozen cars in stock and only a handful of orders to fill.
“It won’t take long,” said one veteran car dealer. “I reckon everyone will be sold out of their Holden stock within weeks not months. No-one wants to hang onto them now, we want to get rid of them as quickly as possible or even put them on the used-car lot.”
General Motors says the 200 or so employees who will remain in Australia for “at least the next 10 years” are staying on to ensure Holden meets its obligations for warranty claims, recalls, and service and parts back-up.
Holden represented just four out of every 100 new cars sold last year. At its most recent peak, in 2002, Holden represented one in every five new cars sold. Its all-time high was in 1958, when one-in-two new cars sold was a Holden, just 10 years after the first homegrown model rolled off the line in 1948.
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