By Jackson Russell
One of Mitchell Shire’s oldest car dealerships has been left shocked by General Motors’ sudden closure of iconic Australian brand Holden.
The decision to close 185 dealerships across Australia was part of a wider move by the American company to exit from the right-hand-drive market.
Neil Beer Seymour has been a Holden dealership for much of its 40-year history, but dealer principal Greg Beer said the call from Detroit was completely unexpected.
“They certainly weren’t the powerhouse they were years ago, but they were still going okay in comparison to some other brands in the market,” he said.
“It was completely out of the blue, one phone call and it was all over.”
Like many dealerships, Mr Beer was less than thrilled with the compensation offer from General Motors which is now being negotiated by GM and lawyers on behalf of the Holden Dealer Council.
“We are endeavouring to continue discussions, nationally, with Holden for a fair compensation that recognises the impacts that our businesses face,” a statement from the Holden Dealers Council said.
However Neil Beer Seymour isn’t left without a brand, selling Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Polaris vehicles.
Mr Beer said in the days following the decision, he received an outpouring of support from the community.
“My phone didn’t stop ringing for the first two weeks basically,” he said.
“It makes you realise that people do actually care, it’s still a small rural community and we rely on a lot of people that come back to us.
“We’ve got people that we’ve sold cars to for 40 years, they just come back over and over again.
“It was pretty heartening to see that. You saw the best in people come out when they rang you and said they’re thinking of you so I thought that was really nice.”
While Holden sales will end by the end of the year, Mr Beer said owners of Holden vehicles have nothing to worry about with parts and servicing to continue for at least the next 10 years.
He said all warranties are still fully backed.
“We’ll service Holdens and supply parts for minimum 10 years. That might end up being 20 years but it’s a minimum of 10 years,” he said.
“All the parts, all the training, all the servicing and all the technical training will still be provided by Holden, they just won’t be a sales business.
“Holden still obviously has to comply with all the Australian laws so they can’t walk away from any warranties, any obligations so it’s not a matter of just packing up shop and walking away, they’re not allowed legally to do that.”