11th December, 2020 · Media Release

Government Sides with Offshore Car
Manufacturers over Australian Dealers

The Automotive Principles released by the Federal Government today, are a kick in the guts to all of Australia’s new car Dealers and their 60,000 employees.

This is a major setback for Dealers who this year have struggled with the effects of the pandemic and termination of some 220 Dealers by General Motors (GM) and Honda.

“Just when Dealers thought this year could not possibly get worse, Minster Karen Andrews has sided with multinational car Manufacturers, some of which have treated Australian Dealers and their customers with absolute disdain in 2020,” said AADA CEO James Voortman.

“It is clear that car Dealers in Australia desperately need a strong set of mandatory protections which protect Dealers against the abuses from car Manufacturers. What we have to today is a do-nothing policy cynically released on a Friday afternoon,” he said.

“The voluntary approach being announced by the Government is doomed to fail and the potential damage that can be done before these principles are reviewed in two years’ time is immense. One need only look at how GM reacted when asked by Minister Cash to engage in voluntary arbitration – they ignored and dismissed this request,” said Mr Voortman.

“The Government has said that they want to create an environment ‘attractive to Manufacturers’. If this means allowing foreign importers to walk all over Australian businesses, everyone should be concerned,” he said.

“A Senate Inquiry is currently hearing directly from Dealers about the abuses they have suffered at the hands of Manufacturers. The least the Government could have done is wait for that committee to issue its report,” he said.

“Australia has lost so many dealerships this year, especially in regional areas, due to the actions of car Manufacturers which are a law unto themselves,” said Mr Voortman.

“Make no mistake, this is a victory for multinational car Manufacturers. Companies like GM who terminated Dealers with inadequate compensation only to start a new business in Australia under a different name. Companies like Mercedes-Benz who have announced they will change their model in 12 months’ time and pay no compensation to businesses that have represented them for decades. Companies like Honda which according to testimony in a Senate Inquiry has bullied and threatened terminated Dealers,” said Mr Voortman.

“Claims by the Minister that these principles will protect Dealers and benefit consumers are disingenuous and demonstrate an optimism borne of ignorance. They will achieve no meaningful result and completely fail to hold the Manufacturers to account, as AADA has been telling the Government for over 12 months,” he said.

“It is so disappointing that the Government has sided with big multinational car Manufacturers. It is Dealers who employ 60,000 people. It is Dealers who take on thousands of apprentices. It is Dealers who pay their taxes here in Australia,” he said.

“Dealers across Australia will continue to make their voices heard to try and get the Government to support this industry against the abuses of Manufacturers,” said AADA CEO James Voortman.

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