Earlier this month, General Motors announced it would retire the Holden brand in Australia by next year. Now, the Australian government has announced it will investigate the decision.
The inquiry was approved by the Australian senate unopposed in a vote this week, with politicians voicing their frustration over GM’s decision.
“Australians are angry and disappointed by General Motors’ decision to retire the Holden brand,” said Liberal frontbencher Jonathon Duniam.
“General Motors, stop selling the Holden dealers a clunker and compensate them fairly,” said Labor Party Senator for Queensland, James McGrath. “General Motors, this is not how you should treat honest, hard-working Australians. You should be ashamed of your shameful, rank, rancid, ethically deficient conduct.”
The inquiry was handed off to the Education and Employment References Committee, and will examine the brand’s retirement from Australia with regard to the impact on workers, dealers, and owners, as well as the eventual fate of Holden’s research and development assets. A report is expected by May of 2020.
The inquiry was applauded by members of the Australian auto industry, including the CEO of the Australian Automotive Dealer Association, James Voortman.
“This inquiry is crucial as the way in which Holden is allowed to exit Australia will set the benchmark for other offshore car manufacturers considering an exit from the country, a rationalization of their network or a change in their distribution model,” Voortman said.
“The withdrawal of GM from the Australian market leaves around two hundred dealerships in the lurch, and up to nine thousand workers out of a job,” he added.
Meanwhile, some dealers in the country have also expressed disappointment with the level of compensation GM has offered. The automaker justified its position in a statement.
“Holden is doing the right thing by its dealers during this difficult time,” said an unnamed Holden spokesperson. “In most cases, Holden dealers will receive compensation a factor of four times the average Holden new car profit/unit of all dealerships over the 2017-2019 fiscal years.”