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Holden dealers offer showrooms, logistics support to battle COVID-19

Holden dealers have written to state governments and health authorities offering their empty showrooms and workshops to help with coronavirus efforts.
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Holden dealers have offered their empty showrooms and workshops to authorities across Australia to help them battle the COVID-19 outbreak before they close their doors.

A letter from the Holden Dealer Council to all states and territories, a copy of which has been obtained by CarAdvice, says its network of 185 dealerships which operate 203 showrooms and service facilities are ready to assist.

The letter, distributed earlier today, says: “We wish to begin a dialogue with you about what and how our facilities may be able to help in this very challenging time.”

The Holden letter then lists some suggestions including:

  • Providing space for relief package processing and distribution;
  • Offer dealership meeting rooms and spaces for the provision of flu vaccines to reduce the strain on medical facilities;
  • Utilizing our service and parts facilities for emergency vehicle maintenance;
  • Meeting points for Government employees;
  • Office space for essential service business providers.

The letter continued: “We remain open to other suggestions, but we were very keen to convey our most sincere desire to assist where we can. This is our community and Australian Holden Dealers want to do our bit and encourage other businesses to do the same.”

Holden has one of the largest dealer networks in Australia, covering metropolitan, regional and rural areas. Only Toyota has a bigger dealer footprint in Australia.

The letter, signed by Holden Dealer Council Secretary, David Nicholson, says Holden dealers remain open across the country – although they are winding down their operations following the shock announcement in February that US car giant General Motors was shutting the iconic brand.

Most Holden dealers have sold out of their remaining stock faster than expected. Holden had forecast sales would continue to the end of the year but most showrooms will be empty by the end of June.

As with the rest of the car industry, Holden dealers are grappling with a dramatic downturn in sales and an increase in finance applications being knocked back.

Many new-car showrooms have already begun reducing the number of days they are open, forcing staff on annual leave, or having them work one week on, one week off, amid the uncertainty of when business will return to normal.

In the interim, some dealerships have begun offering “contactless” quotes for new models, trade-ins and finance, offering home-delivered test drives, and doing vehicle handovers over video phone.