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Holden badge. Jarrard Potter

Holden customers fume over "misleading" letter

HOLDEN have offered an apology after what some customers claimed was a misleading letter sent to them following the car manufacturer's decision to end franchise agreements of car dealerships across Australia.

O'Halloran Motors in Maclean was one of 30 dealerships that did not have their Dealer Agreement extended.

Since then, a letter was sent to customers of the dealerships who had their Dealer Agreement terminated, stating their local dealership had "recently closed its Holden franchise and no longer represents Holden in your area".

Two disgruntled Holden customers, Bill Anderson and Tony Speirs, said they were disappointed with the way Holden handled their communications.

"I was upset when I received that letter, which to me said O'Halloran had surrendered their franchise," Mr Anderson, who bought a Holden Colorado 12 months ago from O'Halloran Motors, said.

"I talked to O'Halloran Motors, who said they didn't surrender it but the franchise was taken off them.

"As far as I'm concerned (Holden) left me high and dry."

Mr Speirs, who also bought a Colorado last year, said he also felt misled.

"The way they handled it was shocking," he said.

"I got a letter from them saying that O'Halloran had dropped their Holden dealership was mispres- enting of the highest order."

Speaking to The Daily Examiner, Holden executive director of customer experience and dealer operations Peter Jamieson said the letter could have been worded differently.

"It was clearly our intent to advise Holden customers that are currently using O'Halloran Motors they no longer represented Holden, and to provide those customers the next best available dealership if they continued to use Holden.

"The unintended consequence was the suggestion the dealer may be closing their doors, which is clearly not the case, and the decision to end the Dealer Agreement which was made by Holden.

"We apologise for any confusion caused, which was clearly not our intent."

O'Halloran Motors owner and dealer principal Evan Lewis said the dealership had spoken to a number of concerned customers.

"That letter was Holden's opportunity to explain to customers that Holden had not decided to renew the Dealer Agreement, and that the decision wasn't based on individual performance but based on Holden's views for what they required for long term optimisation of its dealer network," Mr Lewis said.

Mr Lewis stressed that O'Halloran Motors was still operating as a used car dealer and continue to support Holden owners with genuine parts and provide the same levels of service.

"For us it's business as usual, we're not going anywhere," he said.

Mr Jamieson said he acknowledged the decision by Holden not to extend the Dealer Agreement had been difficult for the dealerships involved.

"We undertook a nationwide review of our dealer network and made the decision not to renew a number of Dealer Agreements across the country, including both metro and regional dealerships," he said.

"It was really about ensuring we have the right network going forward given the market conditions and our market position.

"The network hadn't been reviewed for a number of years and we had to make changes."