Holden isn't happy about being shut down.
Australia received some terrible news last month when General Motors announced it was shutting down its Holden brand. Holden was already a shell of its former self as the Australian-based brand ceased all manufacturing when the last Commodore rolled off the assembly line in 2017. GM kept Holden open for a brief time, selling rebadged versions of other products like the Chevrolet Equinox but in the end, the American automaker decided it wasn't worth keeping its Australian division.
We thought this would be the end of the Holden story but the Australian brand isn't giving up without a fight. According to a letter obtained by Australia's Car Advice, Holden dealerships are now threatening legal action against GM's CEO, Mary Barra.
The letter, which comes from Australian law firm HBL Ebsworth and was addressed to Barra, claims GM "have known for a considerable period of time that [it] was considering exiting the right-hand-drive market, which would result in Holden's business being unviable."
HLB Ebsworth has also asked GM to retain all internal records regarding the decision of Holden's future because "if the dispute cannot be resolved, legal proceedings will be commenced in Australia against Holden and [General Motors]." The law firm currently represents 185 Holden dealers who operate 203 showrooms in Australia and New Zealand and were assured the Holden brand would be kept around long term.
The letter claims GM and Holden "consistently made representations to dealers to the effect that [Holden] was staying in the Australian market in the long term and would continue to sell motor vehicles" and that "by their silence, they failed to disclose a risk that Holden would cease its operations in Australia."
GM is currently engaged in compensation negotiations with the Holden dealerships who claim the initial offer was "grossly inadequate." Most Holden dealerships have reportedly sold out of most of their stock following huge discounts offered from the factory. Holden issued a statement on the matter saying it "does not comment on actual or threatened litigation. Holden strongly disagrees with any assertion that it has acted improperly. Holden believes the compensation offer to its dealers is fair."