Interesting GoAuto article.
Holden dealer relationships broke in 2005
Senate inquiry told GM wrecked the dealer relationship and the business model crumpled
HOLDEN management in 2005 instigated a change of attitude that effectively broke the strong relationship with dealers and contributed to disharmony that continues today, the senate inquiry into Holden’s conflict with its dealer group was told.
The Senate, Education and Employment References Committee inquiry this week was also told that despite Holden’s denial, dealers and former executives indicated there was a planned exit from Australia made years before the announcement that Holden would cease production.
“In 2005 there was a different way of doing business and – I won’t name names but certainly every dealer in Australia will know who I’m talking about – decided to change the needle a bit and move the partnership relationship to a ‘them and us’.
“There has been a gradual decline since then in the feeling between the dealers and the factory which has never recovered.”
The president and managing director of Holden in 2005 was Dennis “Denny” Mooney, who was appointed on January 1, 2004 and returned to the US as vice president of GM Engineering on August 1, 2007.
The inquiry also heard from Holden managing director Kristian Aquilina who said the conspiracy theories about GM planning the closure of the brand long before any announcement were incorrect.
He told the inquiry that he was told of the closure on February 14 and the official announcement was made on February 17.
“In addition, it (the submission) asserts that the Holden service operations agreement has forced dealers into contracts riddled with unfair terms and prevents the opportunity for compensation.
“It says: ‘Holden has effectively assured dealers they have no lifeline to sustain their business once Holden has gone’.”
Senator Pratt said to Inverell Holden dealer Mark Palmer: “Are you aware of that?”
Mr Palmer said: “Yes. It’s exactly why we are in this situation.”
“The agreement is so far in their (Holden) favour there may as well be no agreement,” he said.
“We (dealers) have no input. It’s all weighted to Holden and there’s no opportunity for negotiation. That is why GM has said insistently that the offer is reasonable.”
The inquiry is continuing with a final report due at the end of the year.