Holden dealers sign $160m compensation deal, remainder 'taking the fight to detroit'
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While Holden's network of New Zealand dealers have enjoyed a relatively smooth wind-down, a lengthy legal battle between some Australian Holden dealers and General Motors has been unfolding over the ditch. And today, a partial result has been confirmed.
Roughly two thirds of Holden dealers in Australia have agreed to a compensation package totalling approximately AU$150million (NZ$160million), according to reporting from CarAdvice.
The passionate debate came after General Motors announced a compensation package of AU$1500 per car 10 days after it was confirmed Holden would be no more by the end of 2020. New Zealand dealers were offered $2500, with Holden boss Kristian Aquilina confirming that the differentiation was because they were "far more profitable" than dealers in Australia. Holden has repeatedly defended its compensation package.
After extended discussions, public reporting, and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) intervention, Australian Holden dealers had seeked to secure the minor moral victory of having General Motors increase their compensation offer by $1, only for it to be turned down.
It's been reported that at least 120 of the 185 dealers included in the legal fight have agreed to the terms, in time for the deadline (which elapsed yesterday).
“There was some publicity over the weekend regarding a suggestion that GM Holden and the Australian Holden Dealer Council would seek to settle their current dispute via arbitration, and that the deadline for the acceptance of [compensation] would be extended beyond 30 June,” said a statement released by General Motors to dealers on June 29.
“This is not the case. Arbitration was suggested by the Federal Government but GM Holden does not agree that an arbitration process would be appropriate or helpful. We have responded to the government accordingly. Dealers must now make a decision on whether you accept your [compensation].”
Australian Holden Dealer Council representative David Nicholson says that those who accepted the deal did so after "great reservation and reluctance", adding that those who had not accepted the deal "will continue to take the fight to detroit".