GM Launches Specialty Vehicle Brand Down Under; Holden Dealers Remain Pissed
There’s still quite a bit of bad blood between General Motors and the now-defunct Holden brand’s Australian dealers, with the retailers seeking compensation for the automaker’s February pull-out.
As that saga plays out, GM announced that it will remain in the Aussie market, offering right-hand-drive specialty models grouped under the new GMSV brand. The brand officially rolls out in the fourth quarter of this year, with a former partner once again handling the conversions of select models for a country that drives on the wrong side of the road.
Noticed by Motor Authority, GM’s Tuesday announcement sees Walkinshaw Automotive Group, parent of tuner Holden Specialty Vehicles, tapped for the conversion job. Before the Holden brand bit the dust amid GM’s global streamlining efforts, HSV tasked itself with converting American-market vehicles like the Chevrolet Silverado and Camaro to right-hand drive.
“I am thrilled to be leading a new automotive venture by GM in Australia,” said Joanne Stogiannis, formerly a longtime Holden executive, in a statement. “Sales of large U.S. pickups have been growing consistently and I believe the ongoing strength of that segment will provide a very solid basis for us to build a successful long-term business.”
The full range of GMSV models slated for Australian streets remains unknown, but it’s a fact that the C8 Corvette will arrive next year. However, that model sees its conversion work occur at the Kentucky factory, not in Australia. Select former Holden dealers, now focused solely on servicing, will handle GMSV sales.
And about those dealers. Many are not happy with GM over the decision to drop the Holden brand, with the GMSV effort serving as salt rubbed into the wound.
“The launch of GMSV poses many questions and it seems unthinkable that shortly after ruthlessly dismantling the Holden Dealer network GM can simply be allowed to launch a new brand,” Australian Automotive Dealer Association boss James Voortman told news.com.au
“GM remains in dispute with a number of Dealers and most who have settled did so under duress, accepting the inadequate compensation on offer. Even a last minute request from the Federal Government to settle the dispute through arbitration was rebuffed by GM.
“GM has burned so much goodwill after taking so much from Australian taxpayers, yet here they are about to start another business.”
[Image: General Motors]
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Australia is a weird place. I would not feel comfortable driving cars upside down, but that's me.
In the land Down Under, you will find that we actually drive on the Right side of the road. We can't help it if you guys haven't figured out right from wrong yet. ;)