Earlier this month, a new report surfaced that Holden and UK-based third-party importer Inchcape were running the numbers to possibly hand over the distribution of Holden cars to the latter. Holden’s chairman, Dave Buttner, has outright denied the media reports for the first time.
According to CarAdvice, Buttner told dealers at an already scheduled meeting that the reports are “pure scuttlebutt.” “Believe me, it is not going to happen,” he added, according to a dealer present at the meeting. Buttner also said he did not join Holden to close it down.
The rumors of GM offloading Holden imports to Inchcape would mean shutting down Holden’s local operations while the cars were developed and tested within GM. Inchcape reportedly was drawn to Holden as a way to expand its business as GM cuts costs globally. Rather than Holden paying back-office fees for various functions and work, which Holden pays back to GM, Inchcape could skip this altogether. It could make Holdens more affordable looking at things in a basic “on-paper” scenario. However, if we’re to take Buttner at his word, it appears this scenario has been ruled out.
Yet, GM itself never outright denied it had conversations with Inchcape about such a deal. Inchcape wouldn’t specifically comment on Holden but told media it’s always looking at proposals to expands its business. There have also been rumors Inchcape wants to re-establish the Opel brand in Australia as it’s currently the importer for other PSA brands.
Other news from the dealer meeting was slim, per sources who spoke to the website. Holden is reportedly ready to re-hone its marketing message yet again after a failed re-branding immediately following the end of local production. Holden sales slipped in 2018 and led Ford to beat the brand for the first time since 1961.
No new models are expected for Holden in 2019, but refreshes for key vehicles are reportedly in the pipeline.