Holden NZ is offering its 31 dealerships "the opportunity to transition to become authorised service outlets," corporate affairs boss Ed Finn says.

Dealers who sign on for the cut-down role will be able to help Holden honour last night's pledge to maintain "a national aftersales network for at least 10 years."

It hangs in the balance how many will take up the offer. Dealerships contacted by the Herald overnight were still digesting the news and had no immediate comment.

Late yesterday, Holden owner GM dropped the bombshell that it would cease manufacturing right-hand-drive cars and retire the well-loved brand by the end of this year.


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Finn said Holden had some 800 directly employed staff across Australia and New Zealand.

In terms of dealerships, there are 185 in Australia and 31 in New Zealand.

"I don't have information on the number of dealer employees, as dealerships are independent businesses," Finn said.

"Customers can be assured that Holden will honour all warranties and servicing agreements, as well as providing spare parts, repair, service and any required recall or field actions," Finn said.

GM will honour its obligations for any vehicle recalls that affect Holden cars.

The company says a decision is still being made on whether GM's Corvette will be brought to New Zealand. It was still to "work through" the implications for the Red Bull Holden Racing Team.

GM has 828 employees in Australia and New Zealand and 1500 at plants in Thailand which it will sell to China's Great Wall Motors, according to an AP report.


Asked who would inherit the affections of Holden buyers, motoring writer Clive Matthew-Wilson told the Herald. "No-one. There are no Holden buyers anymore."

He thought the brand had lost its cachet after local manufacturing ended in Australia in last decade after subsidies were phased out. Later models were "the Holden badge glued to the front of cars made in Europe or Asia."

Motor Industry Association new vehicle registration figures for 2019 showed Holden did still have a following, coming fourth in the market of 15 brands tracked with 12,026 sales.