July 1, 2020
General Motors has refused a request to extend its deadline for Holden dealers, forcing businesses across Australia to accept “grossly unfair” compensation, according to the Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA).
“(The GM) deadline to its dealers to sign up for its compensation offer has arrived today (July 1) and many Australian businesses have been left with no choice but to reluctantly accept the unfavourable terms put to them,” a statement from AADA CEO James Voortman said.
“GM flat out refused a Federal Government request to extend the deadline and refused to participate in arbitration with its dealers.”
Mr Voortman said that over the past four months, 184 Holden dealers have remained united in their opposition “to the grossly inadequate offer of compensation from GM”.
“Ultimately, GM’s complete unwillingness to negotiate and the prospect of a costly and lengthy court battle has had the desired effect,” he said.
“GM has annual revenues of $200 billion and the prospect of fighting them in court was just not an option for many of the dumped Holden dealers.
“GM’s actions saw both sides of politics combine to launch a Senate Inquiry, it has led to the ACCC pressuring them into mediation and has drawn pleas from Federal Ministers for them to negotiate in good faith.
“At every turn, GM has thumbed its nose at local dealers, the Australian Government and by extension the Australian public, the same public which provided the company with more than $2 billion in taxpayer-funded assistance.
“This has set a dangerous precedent and Australia urgently needs to strengthen its automotive franchising regulations to protect local businesses against the heavy-handed behaviour of some car manufacturers.
“If we do not act this will happen again. The choice is clear. Do we want laws which ensure local Australian dealers are treated fairly or do we want laws that allow offshore Fortune 100 car companies to treat these local businesses and their employees with disdain?
“AADA will continue to advocate for urgent changes to automotive franchising regulations but we will also try and ensure that GM is called to account in the coming Senate Inquiry.
“GM’s senior management needs to front up to the Senate Inquiry and answer a range of questions, such as when they first knew that Holden would be withdrawn, why they misled dealers and consumers about their commitment to Australia, why they refused fair compensation to dealers and the details of its new General Motors Specialty Vehicles business.”