US car giant General Motors is offering Holden dealers car servicing contracts for only five years following the shutdown of the iconic brand – even though the company told the public it will provide customers with technical support for “at least 10 years”.
A confidential proposal sent to dealers, a copy of which was obtained by CarAdvice, guarantees parts and servicing backup for Australia’s 1.6 million Holden owners for only the next five years, to the end of 2025.
However, when Holden announced it was shutting down by the end of this year, its parent company General Motors said it would retain a presence in Australia to cover parts, warranty, servicing and recalls until the year 2030.
A statement by General Motors issued on 17 February 2020 said in part: “Holden customers can be assured that the company will honour all warranties and servicing offers made at time of sale. Holden will provide servicing and spare parts for at least 10 years, through national aftersales networks. As required, Holden and its aftersales network will also continue to handle any recalls or safety-related issues if they arise”.
The CEO of the Australian Automotive Dealers Association (AADA), James Voortman, said "Holden needs to come clean with its customers".
"Holden said they would be here for 10 years after the shutdown," said Mr Voortman. "There are about 1.6 million Holdens on our road and all of those owners deserve to know if there will be an extensive network to support them in the years to come. For example, is there going to be enough dealers in the event of a massive recall?"
The revelation of a five-year servicing contract for dealers comes in the wake of Holden’s recent introduction of a five-year warranty and a seven-year free servicing offer.
The 31 December 2025 deadline is outlined in the 30-page Holden Service Operations Agreement, which has been sent to 185 dealers who operate 203 showrooms and service centres across Australia.
This new contract would replace existing Holden servicing agreements due to expire at the end of 2022, and instead push the expiry date back to the end of 2025 – rather than adding five years to the current deal, which would have extended the deadline to the end of 2027.
A Holden spokesperson said it was likely all dealers would be offered the option to sign up to a further five-year servicing contract at the end of 2025 but it would be “up to them” to decide how many would take up the offer based on the size of the Holden fleet on the nation’s roads by then.
A Holden dealer council representative – speaking on condition of anonymity over fears it could impact his negotiations with General Motors – said there is “currently no guarantee” Holden customers will be supported beyond the five-year servicing contracts.
“General Motors and Holden are telling the public one thing, and telling dealers another,” said the veteran Holden dealer. “We believe their statement that they will support our market for 10 years is misleading when they are offering us only five-year contracts.”
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