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Subaru Melbourne dealership shake-up

Melbourne flagship: The Docklands dealership is the jewel in Subaru’s retail crown in Melbourne, but is now expected to come under the direct control of Sydney management.

Group dealer principal out, others to leave in Subaru Melbourne restructure

18 Oct 2011

A MAJOR staffing overhaul has occurred at Subaru’s Melbourne retail group, with dealer principal Graeme Woodlands unexpectedly leaving the company last week and human resources manager Tony Price along with an unconfirmed number of finance executives and other employees giving notice.

Subaru Melbourne is a trading name and division of Inchcape Automotive Retail (IAR), part of distribution, retail and logistics specialist Inchcape Australia, which in turn is part of the London-based Inchcape group of companies.

Inchcape is responsible for distributing Subaru vehicles in Australia, among other business interests.

The Melbourne retail group comprises the flagship retail outlet Subaru Interactive @ Docklands, as well as dealerships at Doncaster, Glen Waverley, Mentone and Fountain Gate, and service centres in other suburbs.

Inchcape Australia declined to comment on the “restructure”, which GoAuto understands will see Sydney-based IAR franchise director Rob Thomson assume responsibility for the Melbourne retail group.

Under the restructure, there will no longer be a dealer principal for the Melbourne network.

HR and finance operations will also now be “centralised” – that is, run out of Sydney.

Mr Woodlands was DP at Subaru Melbourne for only a short period, having returned to Australia after a stint as Subaru New Zealand general manager, a position he took up in 2008. He was previously Subaru Australia’s general manager of marketing, having joined the Japanese brand in 2006 after 16 years with Ford.

Mr Woodlands had previously been general manager of sales and marketing at Ford Australia, and had also served in a variety of roles at the Blue Oval brand both in Australia and overseas. These included responsibility for bringing the Ford Territory to market in 2004.

He also worked at Ford Motor Co headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, as manager of business strategy for Ford Asia Pacific, and later as manager of marketing and sales for Ford Financial International.

At Subaru Melbourne, Mr Woodlands replaced Gary Watson, who became general manager of aftersales for Subaru Australia in July last year. Mr Watson subsequently left in June this year to become national operations manager at Bob Jane Corporation.

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