Holden dealers accept compensation offer

About 120 Holden dealers across the country have accepted a compensation offer from the company as it prepares to exit the Australian market.

Under the agreement, dealers will be paid $1500 for each car they sold over a set period.

They are also entitled to reimbursement of some capital development costs and access to ongoing servicing operations.

Australian Holden Dealer Council Secretary David Nicholson said the dealers were left with no choice but to accept the company’s offer after the failure of mediation.

He said the GM had refused to negotiate in good faith and had rejected taking the issue to arbitration.

“With great reservation, financial pressure and reluctance, 120 dealers have now accepted GM’s compensation offer,” Mr Nicholson said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Today marks a sad day for Australian Holden dealers, and more than 9,000 of their employees, after the majority of dealers were left with no choice.”

Global automotive giant General Motors delivered the final death blow to Holden in February this year, announcing plans to dump the Holden brand by the end of this year.

The decision came after GM also closed its local manufacturing operations in 2017.

Holden interim Chairman and Managing Director Kristian Aquilina described the demise of the brand as “agonising” but said the company had chased down “every conceivable option” to keep it afloat.

“Every strategy, every plan, we looked under every rock,” he said.

The company pledged to offer “fair” redundancy packages to about 600 staff along with compensation to dealers.

But Mr Nicholson said Holden had failed to show the same support to its dealers that the dealers showed to the brand during tough times.

“During the 1991 recession and throughout the global financial crisis, Holden dealers continued to take stock from GM in order to help it survive the crisis,” he said.

“Yet, as Australia entered its first since recession since 91, sadly the loyalty and support toward GM has not been reciprocated.”

Holden has been contacted for comment on the compensation agreement.