Consumers sold a dud on personal imports

10th February, 2016

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) is extremely disappointed in the Australian Government’s announcement that it will allow personal imports of ‘near-new’ motor vehicles from 2018.

“The FCAI has repeatedly called on the Government to carefully consider the facts before making a policy decision that will mislead everyday consumers,” FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said.

“Not only is the Government taking a 'buyer beware' sentiment that would see many Australians caught in high-risk situations with their vehicles being outside established service networks; the Government is misleading consumers by telling them a used vehicle with 500kms or one that is twelve-months old, is new.

“Currently, consumers are offered the highest possible level of consumer protection when it comes to purchasing a new motor vehicle through an Australian dealership.

“Brands selling in this country make substantial investments in Australia by way of dealerships, workshops, technology and training to support and service their products. This means consumers can be certain their vehicles can be serviced and repaired appropriately, and that recalls are captured so consumers are informed if something needs to be fixed.

“This system is also underpinned by Australian Consumer Law.

“In its announcement today, the Government failed to acknowledge that 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 required in Australian driving conditions.

“For the past two years, the FCAI has strongly urged the Government to completely consider this matter by investigating 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 that are available in this county to service a modern motor vehicle.

“The industry supports the closer harmonisation of ADRs with international standards, and the industry has been working with the Government on this for a long time. But the reality is that there are only a few standards that are still different and we ask the Government to commit more resources to hasten their completion.

“The best way to continue to deliver a greater range of choice in new cars and motorcycles is to accelerate the removal of unique regulatory standards and administration.

“If the Government is so concerned about car affordability, it should look at the taxes and other government charges that make up around 20 per cent of the price of new cars in Australia. 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 consumers.”

For previous FCAI statements on this matter, see:

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For further information contact:
P: 02 6247 3811
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E: info@fcai.com.au