Holden loss a 'shock' for Blackwells dealership

Blackwells. Photo: Supplied
Blackwells. Photo: Supplied
Christchurch's biggest Holden dealer is bracing itself for life without the brand after General Motors announced it will no longer be making vehicles suitable for New Zealand roads.

Last week the United States-based manufacturer said it would stop producing right-hand drive vehicles at the end of the year.

Blackwells chief executive Steve Grenfell was “absolutely shocked” by the announcement. Blackwells has been operating since 1923.

“It will certainly have an impact, we have a long-established history with the brand, which dates back to when Blackwells formed. Today, it is a large chunk of our business, a third of our business,” he said.

“Servicing and parts for Holdens will continue for the next 10 years or so. Really the only loss we are talking about is the sales element of the Holden brand and that is something we will have to address going forward.”

Steve Grenfell. Photo: Supplied
Steve Grenfell. Photo: Supplied
Mr Grenfell said the brand would be sorely missed by his customers. “It is an iconic brand with great loyalty along with a lot of avid customers.

“I can think of one customer who is probably up to their 20th Holden.”

Holden Enthusiasts Club Christchurch president Allan White said he was sad to see the brand go.

“It is only a car brand at the end of the day, but it is an iconic brand that Australia and New Zealand have known very, very well,” he said.