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GENERAL Motors has moved to scotch reports that the Holden brand will be dead in Australia by the end of the year following media speculation that it would be replaced by the GM parts brand, ACDelco.

Holden dealers have contacted GoAutoNews Premium saying that Holden service operations will continue on under the Holden brand at former dealership service centres and this should not be confused with a separate service and parts initiative to establish all-makes ACDelco service operations designed to shore up sales of spare parts covering parts for most brands.  

The all-makes parts and service ACDelco plan, which was first reported by GoAutoNews Premium a year ago, is for ACDelco-branded fast service operations to be run alongside existing Holden service activities, somewhat along the lines of MasterFit fast service operations in Vauxhall dealerships in the UK.

In the UK, nearly all OEMs run separately-branded fast service operations covering all makes from their franchised dealerships. Ford uses the name RapidFit and Peugeot ExpressFit. They generate significantly greater parts sales for the dealerships and the OEMs and hold used car buyers to the dealerships by menu-priced service offers.

In Australia, ACDelco, with the winding down of Holden, faces the prospect of dwindling Holden spare parts sales over the next decade as old Holdens leave the road with no new Holdens to replenish an on-going demand for parts.

The first of these stores is a recently-opened ACDelco pilot store at Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane. It is a standalone facility but operates as a complementary operation to the adjacent Holden Service Centre operating at the former Sunco Holden dealership.  

Ed Finn, GM spokesman for GM Australia and New Zealand, told GoAutoNews Premium the pilot store at Maroochydore was commissioned by GM Holden Aftersales. It is complementary to existing Holden Service Centres.  

“We believe other potential pilots could co-exist on Holden Service Centre sites with the appropriate differentiation,” he said.

Mr Finn said that Holden Service Centres would remain “an important presence in order to service more than 1.6-million Holden vehicles on the road in AU and NZ”.

“In addition to selling ACDelco parts to the public for all different makes and models of vehicles, the ACDelco store will also offer servicing for most makes and models,” he said

“We anticipate there will be a growing demand for all-makes servicing as the average age of vehicles increases and they are no longer covered by brand-specific scheduled servicing agreements.

“This is an exciting toe-in-the-water exercise to gauge viability of a more permanent ACDelco presence in the Australian and New Zealand markets,” he said.

ACDelco, GM’s equivalent to Ford’s Motorcraft and Chrysler’s Mopar, has for a long time sold non-genuine parts in Australia for most makes; mostly to independent repairers.

But for many years the range has been limited to fast-moving small items like spark plugs, batteries, oil filters, brake pads and the like.

But ACDelco now wants to sell a wide range of non-genuine parts and initially set its sights on high-volume vehicles like the Toyota HiLux, Toyota Corolla, Ford Ranger and Mazda3.

The plan has been initiated to give GM an ongoing stake in the high-volume parts business in Australia and to give ACDelco a future here. The move will not only create a GM-operated parts competitor to the parts sales of rival OEMs, it will take more intense competition up to the parts operations of the likes of Bursons, Bapcor or Repco.

The plan to move ACDelco into all makes was flagged as long ago as 2017 when Steven Warner, speaking as ACDelco’s marketing manager when announcing its involvement with Brad Jones Racing, said: “While the ACDelco brand is well known for its huge range of spark plugs, oil filters and genuine parts that cover the Holden brand, over time the ACDelco product range has broadened to suit mechanics and motoring enthusiasts with a need to service all types of car makes and models.

“We are going to use our on-track partnerships to raise awareness of the increased range of products under the ACDelco brand,” he said.

By John Mellor

Kelley Blue Book