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Australian competition regulator drops GM Holden investigation over dealer conduct

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Nov 26 (Reuters) - The Australian competition regulator lambasted U.S. carmaker General Motors' local unit over its abrupt withdrawal from the market last year, but opted to take no formal legal action against it, the regulator said on Friday.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) said its investigation into GM Holden Australia's treatment of its dealers left it with "concerns", but decided not to pursue it after many dealers accepted compensation, while some opted for private legal actions.

General Motors in February 2020 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-gm-markets-idUSKBN20B04X announced plans to wind down its antipodean operations as part of restructuring of its global business.

However, Holden's dealers claimed the local unit was aware of withdrawal plans months before the public announcement, during which it continued to approved new dealerships, and "encouraged some dealers to continue to invest in their dealerships", the regulator said in a statement https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/accc-completes-investigation-into-holden%E2%80%99s-conduct-towards-dealers.

"The behaviour by Holden has done much to damage the General Motors brand in Australia, and perhaps beyond," ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

The ACCC is separately assessing whether Holden's car servicing deals raises any issues under the Australian Consumer Law.

(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)