News - Opel
Opel wins praise for dealer settlements
Consultative: Dealers have applauded the way Opel has handled its premature exit from Australia.
Class action avoided as Opel offers dealers $40m est. in compensation for pull-out
15 October 2013
AUSTRALIA’S 22 Opel dealers have praised Opel Australia management for their
handling of compensation claims following the premature closing down of the
brand within just a year of launch.
Dealers, who were outraged that their investments were being trashed just a
year into sales of the brand, were gearing up for a major class action.
Many dealers’ claims amounted to between $2 million and $3 million, including
investments in new dealership premises exclusively designed for Opel at Opel’s
But Opel dealers contacted by GoAuto have heaped praise on the company and its
managing director Bill Mott. The company has offered an estimated $40 million
or more to its dealer group as compensation.
One dealer said: “I think the way it was resolved is unprecedented. There is no
other car company that would have done what they did. But I think if they had
not done it that way they would have been facing a class action. I think they
“Having said that, a message needs to be flagged to all manufacturers that this
was a disgrace and that it should never happen again,” he said.
Another dealer said that car retailers would now think twice before taking on
new franchises that insist on very strict premises rules before the brand has
proven itself in the market.
The various settlements included covering trading losses made in getting sales
momentum for the brand, handing over the service tools and spare parts at no
cost, allowing dealers to hand back cars to clear their floor plan finance
accounts for Opel stock and generous compensation of premises costs which
covered most or all the cost of the buildings, furniture, signage and fittings.
Dealers were also offered stock still held by Opel at an average trading bonus
of $7000 a car although not all dealers participated in that offer. It is
understood that Opel is still holding 700 cars on its own account and that
steps are being taken to begin trickling these cars through Holden dealerships.
Holden dealers who were not awarded the Opel franchise are now being encouraged
to take on the parts and service support for Opel car owners.
Dealers said the process was handled “delicately” and was “consultative”. But
they described the pullout after such a short time as a “disaster that will
trash the Opel brand for years to come and make it harder for Holden dealers to
sell Opel-sourced products in the future”.
Another dealer said: “I think it is important to send a really clear message
that the reason it did not turn to mush is because of the way it was handled.
“But I can tell you that there were very strong moves to take class action and
others need to realise that it if it happens again – and you would hope that
this would never ever happen again – that the franchise will face a very strong
backlash from its dealers. The message must be that you cannot just walk away.”
There is now a concern that some of the Opel dealership premises could be lost
to retail, commercial or residential developments. Opel dealers are saying that
they are being approached by various car brands but these are mainly “minnow
importers” with very little prospect of generating significant returns on the
Some dealers are now looking for returns from their properties from outside car
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