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Mercedes-Benz Chief Heads Up FCAI Board

Australia’s peak motor industry body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, has elected a new President.

The new FCAI President is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific Pty Ltd, Horst von Sanden.

Speaking for the first time in his new role at the FCAI’s Annual General Meeting dinner in Canberra this week, Mr von Sanden described this as an exciting, yet challenging time for the automotive industry.

“Australia is one of, if not the most, competitive markets in the world. The presence of more than 60 brands give Australian consumers a great choice at very competitive prices,” he said.

With Mr Paul Fletcher, Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities among the luminaries and industry representatives in the AGM dinner audience, the new FCAI President called for the need for policy certainty in order to enable the introduction of all the new vehicle technologies.

He said this would ensure the rollout of cleaner and greener mobility on our way to emission-free driving and the transition towards connected and automated vehicles in Australia, “which will bring us closer to our vision of accident-free driving”.

Mr von Sanden also called for high octane, low sulphur transport fuels to be supplied to our market “as we cannot achieve lower emission outcomes purely on engine management technology; we need fuel of first world quality to get a first world emissions outcome”.

“We [also] need Investment in the infrastructure for electric, alternative fuel, connected and automated vehicle technology,” he said.

“And we need investment in vehicle-to-vehicle-infrastructure technology across our road network. It [automated vehicle technology] won’t happen without it.”

He said that in addition to political pressure, Australian business increasingly faces an activist competition regulator, who seeks to increase regulatory compliance requirements “but the risk of regulatory over-reach is real and ultimately the consumer bears the cost, and it is a fair question as to the benefit [to the consumer] sometimes.”

Elected as Vice-Presidents to the FCAI Board this week were Toyota Motor Company Australia’s Matt Callachor and Hyundai Australia’s Chief Operating Officer, Scott Grant. The other confirmed Board positions were those of Vinesh Bhindi (Mazda Australia), Mark Bernhard (GM-Holden), Nick Senior (Inchcape), Graeme Whickman (Ford Australia), Stephen Lester (Nissan Australia), David McCarthy (Mercedes-Benz Australia/ Pacific), Paul Vandenberg (Suzuki Motorcycles) and Stephen Collins (Honda Australia).