THE DANGER OF GREY IMPORTS

THE GOVERNMENT’S COMPLETE DISREGARD FOR THE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES THAT WOULD FLOW FROM A PLAN TO ALLOW AUSTRALIANS TO PERSONALLY IMPORT NEW MOTOR VEHICLES IS IRRESPONSIBLE AND SHORT-SIGHTED.

TonyWeber

Car affordability is at record low levels and buyers have the highest possible level of consumer protection when it comes to purchasing a new car through a dealership.

Brands selling in this country make substantial investments by way of dealerships, workshops, technology and training to support and service their products. Consumers can be certain their vehicles can be serviced and repaired appropriately, and that recalls are captured.

This system is also underpinned by Australian consumer law.

The industry is not fearmongering when it says Australians who personally import a vehicle made for another country may end up with a vehicle that does not meet their needs or operate as

Cars may look the same on the outside but there are differences when you look deeper

required in Australian driving conditions. Vehicles made for the Australian market are engineered for our conditions and safety specifications, with the appropriate engine and transmission cooling systems to cope with Australia’s hot climate, towing requirements and fuel quality. It also includes having convenience items such as satnav, air-conditioning and infotainment systems specifically calibrated for Australia.

Cars may look the same on the outside, but there are differences when you lift the bonnet or look deeper into the interconnected systems.

It is very simplistic and misguided to say there is no reason to regulate if you’re now part of a is no reason to regulate if you’re now part of a global regime. Only 57 countries are part of the global regime.

I am bewildered that the government can take such a simplistic view of an issue and discount the advice of the industry it directly affects. It seems this position is driven by a misinformed view of purchasing a vehicle.

The reality is that the whole-of-life cost will become a significant burden for those who choose to import vehicles from overseas, made for another country’s conditions.

The government must consider the implications the proposal has on Australian consumers, on border security and quarantine, on automotive dealers, on service and repair networks, on future intelligent transport and communications systems, and on the automotive brands that invest in the tools, training and technicians to service a vehicle.

Australia has one of the most competitive and affordable markets in the world. When you look at cars with the same level of specification, most are competitively priced compared to other right-hand-drive markets.

It is baffling why the government is contributing to public misconceptions.

If the government is so concerned about car affordability, we would welcome a conversation on taxes and other government charges, which make up around 20 percent of prices here.

Fixing those tax arrangements, including the poorly designed Luxury Car Tax, is a better and more targeted way of addressing car affordability than a change that will only ultimately hurt rather than help consumers.

Tony Weber is chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, which represents the interests of major car companies in Australia.

Theft alert

THE government’s parallel imports proposal risks unravelling much of the good work Australia’s National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council has undertaken to reduce motor vehicle theft across the country.

How would Australians importing cars privately be able to check the historical and legal records or the real provenance of the imported vehicle? We know that stolen cars in the UK are exported around the world to other right-hand-drive markets.

This move would give criminal elements a new market for those vehicles.