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Exclusive: Holden down to its last 3400 cars nationally

After a sales surge in March and a slow April due to COVID-19 lockdowns, most Holden dealers will likely run out of cars by mid-year.
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EXCLUSIVE

Holden is just 3400 cars away from running out of stock, after strong sales in March – driven by discounts of between $7500 and $17,500 – accelerated the clear out.

Confidential figures shared with Holden dealers show cars are selling faster than predicted and most showrooms won’t make it to the end of the year, as originally forecast.

In normal trading conditions – and based on Holden’s sales rate from last year – the tally of 3400 cars would leave about six weeks worth of stock to sell.

Based on last month’s sales rate – the highest for the brand in more than a year, driven by huge factory bonuses – Holden dealers would be out of stock within three weeks.

However, as with the rest of the new-car market, Holden sales slowed dramatically in April, with about 800 cars cleared as Australia felt the effects of lockdown measures – even though dealers are considered an “essential service” and allowed to remain open.

Holden dealers contacted by CarAdvice believe most showrooms for the lion brand will be cleared by the middle of the year as Australia comes out of lockdown.

CarAdvice has learned there now isn’t as much choice of vehicles as there was before the shock closure of Holden was announced in February.

“We don’t have every colour any more, or the right model someone might want, and not a lot of dealers are swapping their cars out as they normally would,” said one long-standing Holden dealer speaking on condition of anonimity.

“If the market didn’t slow down we potentially could have cleared everything by the end of May,” the major metropolitan dealer said.

Some showrooms are down to their last handful of cars, some have dozens, while a small number of dealers have more than 100 new Holdens to clear.

“Basically if you’re a customer and you’ve been holding off, you’ll probably miss out,” the dealer source said. “If you want one, best to start searching now.”

As reported by CarAdvice earlier, it is at each dealer’s discretion to decide how much of the “factory bonus” – which is funded by General Motors, not the dealer – they pass on to the customer.

Many are passing-on most of the savings or using the funds to increase the value of a trade-in.

CarAdvice has found some standalone dealers, who are trying to trade for as long as possible, are among those less inclined to discount heavily.

General Motors will continue to maintain an office in Australia with about 200 employees to look after service, parts, recalls and warranty repairs for "at least 10 years", and, in the coming months ,will appoint service centres across the country, many of which are likely to be former Holden dealerships and/or multi franchise dealerships that previously sold Holdens.

About 90 per cent of Holden dealerships nationally are multi-franchise (sell various brands of new cars) while the remaining 10 per cent are standalone Holden dealers.