Toyota's case of oh no, what a feeling

A BENALLA man who had his car dealership placed under receivership last month said yesterday he was not given a chance to trade out of his difficulties.

Travis Mullavey and his partner, Tanya Goldfinch, had owned the Benalla and Mansfield Toyota franchises for three years.

Receivers are continuing to negotiate with potential new owners, a process expected to be completed by the new year.

Mr Mullavey would not say whether he hoped to get the franchise back, though indicated he was prepared for a “long fight” to get answers from Toyota about the receivers being called in.

“We want to get what’s right, an outcome that is fair,” he said.

“We’re prepared to stand up for what we believe is right for as long as it takes.”

Independent receiver Peter Hedge told The Border Mail that the business would be sold as a going concern, with no job losses.

Mr Mullarvey did not shy away from the fact there were problems with the business.

“But we had a legitimate working plan to resolve the situation,” he said.

“We were quite open with Toyota and Toyota Financial Services about our predicament.

“My partner and I had already started to adjust things we needed to in our family life because we were aware we needed to spend a good couple of really hard years getting on top of the situation.”

Mr Mullarvey said buying the Bridgestone franchise was the main factor in the dealership problems.

“It’s got nothing to do with the Bridgestone brand — it’s a fantastic brand,” he said.

But Mr Mullarvey said they simply did not give the Bridgestone business the focus it deserved, which in turn affected their Toyota franchise.

The couple were getting close to transferring the Bridgestone franchise to another owner when the receivers were appointed.

“We believe we were one day away from getting a letter of offer from another bank to totally restructure our business banking,” he said.

Again, Mr Mullarvey said Toyota was well aware of that and had been supportive.

He said they were now trying to get documents from the receivers to assist their case, but had had no joy so far.

Mr Mullarvey said they had had “massive” support from the community “to the point where we have an organisation that would like to run a fundraiser for Tanya, me and my family”.

“We have every intention of staying in Benalla. We don’t believe we’ve done anything where we should consider leaving the town.”

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