The last car dealership in Glen Innes closes next week when Holden pulls out.
The franchise will end at the end of the week. The premises will convert to a repair shop but new cars will not be sold.
After at least half a century in the town, Holden will wind up business in what will be seen as a blow to the general economic scene.
The company is not commenting, either locally or at the Australian headquarters in Melbourne. Holden is part of General Motors which is based in Detroit.
The rationale isn’t clear. Holden dealerships are allocated by the company and it is then up to the local franchise holder to make a profit. The franchisee buys the cars from Holden which oversees broad standards to protect the brand but let’s most decisions be made locally.
It is understood that the Glen Innes branch is profitable. A similar dealership in Tenterfield will continue.
One reason for the Glen Innes closure may be that Holden wants to cut the number of dealers across Australia in the hope of making those that remain more profitable. Those who doubt that rationale say that people in small, rural towns try to shop locally so it doesn’t follow that they would switch to another Holden dealer a hundred kilometers down the road.
Holden recently closed its manufacturing in Australia and many of the models are imported – the Barina, Captiva, Spark, Astra Sedan and Trax from South Korea; the Colorado from Thailand, the Astra Hatchback and Commodore from Germany.
The current owners of the franchise bought the business 27 years ago. Before that it was owned by the Mackenzie enterprise which had been in business locally since 1863.
The franchise owners, Scott and Graham Rossington, put out a statement to customers: “The staff at Glen Severn Holden would like to thank everyone for their continued support over the last 27 years whilst we have been a Holden Dealer.”
They said that they would keep the same phone numbers and email addresses for the remaining repair shop.
They said: “We will be offering servicing on all makes, models vehicles with a full range of spare parts.” They added that they couldn’t continue to carry out warranty work under the current Holden programmes.