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120 Holden dealers sign agreement with GM

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The deal, rumoured to be worth in excess of $150 million, was well short of what dealers were legally fighting for.

The majority of Holden dealerships have accepted a controversial compensation agreement from parent company General Motor Holden (GM) after it made the decision to pull the brand from Australia.

Yesterday 120 Holden dealers agreed to the terms of a deal with GM rumoured to worth $150 million, or $1500 per new car sold over a set period of time.

The terms of the compensation deal have been the subject of a protracted legal battle in which Australia's consumer watchdog the ACCC intervened to bring about mediation.

READ MORE: Holden closing down, to be axed from Australia by the end of 2021

David Nicholson, Secretary of the Australian Holden Dealer Council, said the majority of dealers were left with "no choice" but to accept the offer.

"GM have thumbed their nose at Canberra along the way, refusing to negotiate in good faith, making a mockery of mediation and finally rejecting arbitration," Mr Nicholson said.

"If Australia continues to allow small, family businesses to be ruined by overseas corporates then what have we become?

"With great reservation, financial pressure and reluctance, 120 dealers have now accepted GM's compensation offer."

READ MORE: A Timeline of Holden in Australia

Mr Nicholson said he believed weak regulations allowed GM to walk away from agreements, leaving dealers with "empty showrooms and millions in losses".

"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, whilst it squandered more than $2 billion in taxpayer funded support over the years," Mr Nicholson said.

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

READ MORE: Holden closing down: How your ancient Holden could now be worth a fortune

Holden closure ends 160 years of Aussie motoring

In February it was announced that Holden would be axed at the end of 2021, ending 160 years of the brand's association with Australia.

Holden's global parent company General Motors decided to retreat from right-hand drive vehicles internationally, informing Holden staff and dealers in a shock move.

Approximately 600 of 800 jobs will be lost, including workers from Holden's design studio and Lang Lang proving ground.

The modern-day Holden

All Holden employees being sacked will be provided with separation packages and employment transition support.

The remaining workers will stay on to service Holden's ongoing warranty commitments for at least 10 years.

Holden was founded as a saddlery in South Australia in 1856 before moving into building vehicles in 1908.

Holden became a subsidiary of the United States-based General Motors in 1931, beginning the brand's 89 year history as a combined entity.

Holden car badge (Getty)

In December 2013 Holden announced it would cease production of vehicles in Australia and transition to an import-focused business model.

In 2017 the last Australian made vehicles – the venerable VF Commodore – rolled off the line at Adelaide's Elizabeth plant.

Currently Holden imports General Motors vehicles into Australia from its sales headquarters in Port Melbourne.

Holden is also supported by a national parts distribution centre, a global design studio and its traditional car proving ground at Lang Lang.

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Source: 9News

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