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How the Holden boss got dealers off-side | comment

The industry does not know what to make of Gerry Dorizas' sudden departure but time will reveal all.

Time will tell us why Gerry Dorizas left the top job at Holden suddenly.

In the meantime the dealers that have carried the brand with outdated cars will need to do even more heavy lifting.

Mr Dorizas had barely been in the top job at Holden for more than a month when he boldly declared that the once proud brand would return to Number One and topple Toyota by 2020.

It was a big call because Holden sales had just hit a 20-year low, and it hadn’t been at the top of the charts for 11 years.

Behind the scenes, Mr Dorizas began blaming dealers for the company’s woes.

In one of his so-called motivational speeches to the dealer network, he told them to sell more cars. If only it were that simple.

The dealers quickly got off-side, but they continued to slave away selling a model line-up that has been left largely unchanged over the past few years.

Sure, Holden sales are up 1.3 per cent year-to-date in a market that is down 2 per cent. But most of that growth has been disguised by the Commodore’s bounce back from the previous year’s record low.

Holden has a handful of ‘new’ cars coming next year; but they’re simply rebadged versions of selected Opel models that were withdrawn from sale last year after just 11 months. Another monumental General Motors misstep.

Holden won’t have any all-new-from-the-ground-up cars until early 2016. That’s when the new Captiva is due to arrive, ahead of the imported version of the second-generation Cruze sedan.

In the meantime, Holden dealers will be pushing out the same metal it has been trying to move for the past few years — against competition with newer models and a more diverse range.

Holden dealers don’t deserve the blame for the company’s current predicament. They deserve a medal, because without their tireless efforts with an ageing product range Holden would be in much worse shape than it is today.