Holden fans hoping to drive a bargain have less than three weeks to cash in on discounts of up to $17,000, as General Motors prepares to close the books – and end the bonus money – on 31 December 2020.
Official sales figures published by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) show just 203 new Holden cars were reported as sold last month.
That’s less than half the number of vehicles reported as sold when Holden opened in November 1948. Historical figures obtained by CarAdvice show Holden sold 524 cars on debut.
It is unclear how many new Holden cars remain in showroom stock across Australia today, but estimates range from 200 to 600 vehicles.
The calculation is complicated because dealers have been asked by Holden to report all cars as sold by the end of December – the official end date for the Holden brand in Australia – or miss out on the bonus money, which ranged from $7500 to $17,000 depending on the model.
The full list of discounts on new Holdens – sent in a confidential email to dealers in February – is listed below.
CarAdvice has been told by some dealers they are reporting the cars as sold and registering them – to claim the generous bonus money – and then putting the brand-new vehicles on their used-car lot with delivery kilometres on the odometer.
It means, technically, the Holden five-warranty starts when the vehicle is registered. However under Australian Consumer Law, if a vehicle is brand-new (for example, with 20km or less, known as “delivery kilometres”), the warranty commences when the final paying customer takes delivery, not the first date of registration.
This loophole in declaring cars as “sold” – even though they may not have been delivered to a paying customer – means most remaining new Holdens will be reported in December 2020.
However, the vehicles may be sitting on used-car lots in brand-new condition for weeks or months to come.
“Most dealers are at the point they just want to get rid of them now,” said one major metropolitan Holden dealer. “It’s been a harrowing experience ... so now they just want to clear the decks and start fresh.”
Holden sales figures, as reported by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) in November 2020.
At its peak, Holden had more than 230 dealers nationally and – after briefly reaching 50 per cent market share in the 1950s – its most recent peak was 21.6 per cent market share (or one in five new cars sold) in 2002.
As a sign of Holden’s fall from grace, in 2002 it reported a record 178,392 new cars as sold. In 2019, it reported 43,176 new cars as sold, barely a quarter of its former glory.
More than half of the remaining dealers have already pulled down their Holden signage.
While the Holden brand is being retired, General Motors says it will continue to have a presence in Australia to look after the 1.6 million cars still on Australian roads – with parts, service, warranty and recall support – for “at least” 10 years.