No Legal Action Against GM Holden Australia After Investigation

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has cleared GM Holden of any wrongdoing against auto retailers following its hasty exit from the market last year, Reuters reports.

The ACCC previously launched a probe into GM’s withdrawal from Australia after the Holden dealer network said it was offered “grossly inadequate” compensation packages in exchange for it terminating franchise agreements early. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also backed publicly backed the campaign against the American automaker, saying he “won’t have big overseas corporates [from GM] destroying Australian family businesses.”

In a statement released Friday, the ACCC said it had opted not to take legal action against GM Holden, as the automaker was able to mutually agree on compensation packages with most of its dealers. Some dealers have also opted to take private legal action against GM, which further contributed to the ACCC’s decision not to take legal action against it.

“While our investigation into Holden’s conduct left us with concerns about Holden’s treatment of some of its dealers, the ACCC has decided not to pursue these concerns, in large part because any ACCC action may prejudice the private actions taken by dealers. This was a difficult decision based on a range of considerations,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

Dealers also accused GM Holden of continuing to approve new dealership acquisitions and encourage some retailers to make significant investments in their storefronts, despite the fact that top brass had known GM was set to withdraw the Holden brand from Australia for many months.

Sims said that the behavior by GM Holden in the months leading up to its withdrawal has “done much to damage the General Motors brand in Australia, and perhaps beyond.”

“The way Holden withdrew from Australia and managed the process and its relationships with long-standing loyal dealerships should serve as a lesson to all franchisors of what not to do in managing their relationships with franchisees and treating them fairly and with respect,” Sims said.

While Holden is no longer operational in Australia, GM has launched a new venture in the region called General Motors Special Vehicles, which imports pricier American products like the Chevy Silverado 1500 and Chevy Corvette into the country for local consumption.

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Sam McEachern: Sam loves to write and has a passion for auto racing, karting and performance driving of all types.

View Comments (6)

  • The ACCC has failed Australia's Holden dealers with its decision to not pursue GM for its unconscionable treatment of its franchisees.
    GM's exit from all right hand drive markets, and it's sale or closure of all manufacturing facilities serving those markets clearly were not decisions made within months of GM's announcement to abandon the Holden brand. These were global strategic decisions that were years in the planning. The decision was made well before the announcement that Australian manufacturing would cease.
    Had GM made their longer term intentions clear the franchise owners would have left in droves when their contracts were due for renewal and Holden's faithfull would have changed allegiances in a flash, creating mayhem and significant losses for the parent company.
    Instead GM kept a lid on their plans and allowed the Australian franchises to invest in a brand GM knew full well would not exist in the near future. The evidence of this is overwhelming and would be found in the GM board minutes if the ACCC were to pursue this matter.
    This information would only assist the private actions being pursued through the courts by the Franchisees, not hinder them.
    The Holden franchises, and the Australian public, deserve to know the truth about GMs decisions and actions. The ACCC should have demanded no less.

  • The same thing happened here in the states. ACCC is no different than American politicians. General Motors just paid them off I'm sure.

  • I hope over time things can be healed between GM and the ex Holden Dealers. A lot needs to be sorted.
    FOR THE FUTURE I hope GMSV can bring out the 2022 CT-V Blackwing in RHD in both engine variants to the Australian Market with full service/repair backup. A good performance 4 door road sedan would sell in Australia. Australians on the whole buy practical cars that is why 2 door sedans do not sell well here in great numbers. This car has great potential.

    • I know real reason why: GM Holden Australian - folded up shop in Victoria Australia and got nothing do with other ( rival motor companies ), hurting GM Holden financial business profit. It more do with - Australian Taxation Office Dishonest, literally.

      I looking for car manufacturer that interested in loop energy batteries system for Vehicles and show new way power up there vehicles by solar panels or something better and have the solution to solve these, two problems now.