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VICTORIAN car dealers are being urged to vote for car retailers first in the upcoming elections for the nine spots on the executive board of the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC).

The issue is that in spite of the dealers being housed within the Victorian Automobile Dealers Association (VADA) division of the VACC, there are only nine places on the VACC board for the 15 divisions within the chamber.

Twelve candidates have been accepted for the election which closes on December 2.

If dealers do not vote for dealer representation on the executive board they could lose important guidance over key issues regarding their interests in the affairs of the chamber.

GoAutoNews Premium has been told that the candidates most likely to act in the best interests of car retailers are Tony Sitch from the VADA and Peter Savige from the used-car division of the VACC.

Mr Sitch has owned and operated car dealerships since 2003. Last year he became a Peugeot dealer in Melbourne’s inner east having sold his Nissan and Kia dealerships at Essendon Fields in Melbourne’s north.

Tony Sitch

Mr Sitch has served on the executive board of the VACC since 2012. He ran the VADA representing car dealers from 2008 to 2016 and was chairman of the Kia dealer council from 2006 to 2018.

In a statement to members Mr Sitch, who is seeking re-election to the executive board, said: “This board with Geoff Gwilym has set the VACC for a long, strong future. COVID is presenting many issues to be solved and importantly keeping member businesses strong and viable is our mission!

“Geoff and the board continue to put the interests of franchised dealers to the state government and federally.

“I have owned and operated and understand dealer needs and how we all work together in the motor vehicle industry.”

“We are BIG BUSINESS!!!!  Dealers employ thousands and support local businesses,” Mr Sitch said.

Mr Savige, a past president of the VACC, told GoAutoNews Premium that he was putting himself up for re-election because he was especially keen to follow through with the chamber’s new head office project which he has been pursuing as chairman of the VACC Building Development Committee.

The $40 million relocation of the VACC’s head office is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

Mr Savige is a 40-year veteran of the motor trade. He has been the proprietor of the Hilton Motor Company since 1979 and an accredited member of the VACC Used Car Traders division since 1985. He has been chairman of that division since 1999.

Peter Savige

He has been a member of the VACC executive board since 2006 and was president of the VACC from 2015 to 2016.

He has been chairman of the VACC finance and audit committee since 2009, chairman of the VACC investment committee since 2011, has been a director of the Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA) from 2009, has been a director of Motor Tradecard Australia from 2011, a director of Working Capital Systems from 2013 and has been deputy chairman of MTAA Ltd from 2014.

He served on the Motor Car Traders Guarantee Fund claims committee from 2003 to 2017 and is an employer nominated trustee of MTAA Super.

He has been a member of Variety Victoria since 2002 and as a team member of Car No. 55 raised more than $2.3 million between 2002 and 2017.

In a message to members, Mr Savige said: “Your vote is important. During this challenging year VACC has shown itself to be a leader in providing its members with advice, support and advocacy. As we seek to rebuild it is essential that this work continues.

“We need a board with knowledge of industry issues, experience, enthusiasm and commitment. I believe I have those qualities.”

By John Mellor

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