Holden has been praised for its approach to service and maintenance data ensuring aftermarket repairers will be able to successfully work on the company’s cars after it exits Australia.
The inquiry will be told how the closure announcement in February came as a complete shock to its 800 remaining staff at the time.
It will also hear that questions need to be answered on just when GM made the crucial decision to quit the local market, amid suggestions it was much earlier.
But in its submission, the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association said the company’s withdrawal would not have a marked effect on owners of the estimated 1.6 million Holdens on the nation’s roads.
“The Australian auto aftermarket will be able to source parts, provide regular service and repair these vehicles,” it said.
“This is a situation that is unique to Holden.
“Unlike every other brand on Australian roads, Holden ensures repair and service information is available on fair and reasonable commercial terms to the 23,000 independent auto repair workshops in Australia.”
In other submissions, the Australian Automotive Dealer Association said the way Holden’s demise played out raised serious questions of whether dealers were misled.
The AADA said for some time GM had been adamant, both privately with dealers, and publicly through the media, that it was in Australia for the long haul, despite the end to local car manufacturing.
On the basis of those assurances, and the fact many agreements still had more than two years to run, Holden dealers had a clear expectation the brand would remain in Australia with some investing millions of dollars to upgrade operations.
“This inquiry needs to question whether General Motors Corporation, headquartered in Detroit, made the strategic decisions to exit the right-hand-drive car market globally some years in the past,” the association said.”
In its own submissions to the Senate inquiry, General Motors Holden said the decision to retire the brand was made only a few days before February’s public statement.
“Despite hopes of reaching a different outcome, the inescapable conclusion was GM could not sustain further investment into Holden,” it said.
At the time of the closure announcement, Holden had about 185 dealers across the country and still employed about 800 staff.
About 600 were expected to be made redundant including more than 200 engineers and more than 250 management and administrative staff.
Tim Dornin in Adelaide