Resale values for Holden cars are set to crash but potential buyers can expect to pick up a bargain after General Motors’ decision to dump the brand by the end of the year.
Thousands of cars remain on the ground in dealers across the country and more are being held by the company despite orders from overseas factories being cut over the past 12 months.
The abrupt decision by GM to kill off Holden has also cast a shadow over its 185 retail outlets, where jobs are at risk.
Most dealers sell more than just the Holden brand but whether they can keep all staff remains to be seen.
Fewer than 20 dealers are believed to be stand-alone Holden operations and some of them would be in smaller country locations where sales have probably been minimal in recent months.
One of those stand-alone operations is run by Michael Devietti in Queensland who fears he may soon have simply nothing to sell.
“We’d like to think we are going to stay in the motor industry, but what we are going to be selling, who knows?” he said.
Holden has pledged to provide compensation to dealers to transition their operations to other brands or to close, but the level of compensation and whether that will extend to staff is yet to be revealed.
Editor of consumer site whichcar, Tim Robson, told AAP that selling Holden cars in recent years had simply been a “hard row to hoe”.
“The sales have just not been there, literally,” he said.
“It’s a company that sells a product nobody buys.”
Mr Robson said he hoped dealers who might be trouble “saw the writing on the wall” and had started to diversify.
There were reports of some already implementing plans to move other brands onto their Holden floorspace.
It’s also not yet clear what discounts buyers can expect in coming weeks and months with Holden likely to finalise those arrangements with dealers in coming days.
Figures of between $2000 and $10,000 have been floated, despite margins on new cars being relatively tight.
Either way, Mr Robson said customers would clearly have the upper hand.
“Equally you’ve got to understand that you’re going to own that car until it turns back into its base elements because you’re never going to get your money back on it,” he said.
On the flip side, people who bought Holdens over the past few years will soon be counting the cost as resale values slide.
Holden’s interim chairman and managing director Kristian Aquilina said the company understood the impact of its decision to close on its people, its customers and its dealers.
“We will work closely with all stakeholders to deliver a dignified and respectful transition,” he said.
In South Australia, where Holdens were last built before the close of assembly operations in 2017, Premier Steven Marshall said he would meet with dealers to better understand the implications on their operations and the wider state economy.
“The decision to leave Australia with very little notice is extraordinarily disappointing and will have implications for businesses here in our state,” he said.
“We want to make sure that those businesses remain viable.”