As you may recall, representatives from the Turnbull Government early last year flagged changes to the extant Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1987, to allow parallel ‘grey’ importation of near-new cars from 2018.
The news quite obviously sparked fury and derision from key players from all Australian new vehicle importers, and their peak body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) - though not all industry stakeholders were opposed.
"After further detailed work on implementation arrangements, the Turnbull Government has decided not to proceed with one element of changes proposed earlier, which would have allowed personal importation of new motor vehicles from the United Kingdom and Japan," said today's government statement.
Specifically, the proposal from last year would have allowed buyers to purchase any vehicle 12 months old or less and with fewer than 500km on the odometer, from right-hand-drive markets with equivalent standards to ours, once every two years.
The government argued then that would offer wider choice to consumers. The new car industry countered by saying Australia's 60-plus brands for 1.2 million annual new vehicle sales was vastly more competitive and fragmented than most markets already.
Leading the just-announced decision to cull the former plan was Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher MP, who replaced the ousted Jamie Briggs - a proponent of the plan to allow parallel imports - in July last year.
Enthusiast vehicles:Also part of the government's proposed new Road Vehicle Standards Bill is the "streamlining and improving" of existing pathways for importing specialist and enthusiast vehicles.This includes expanding the range of vehicles eligible for consideration as a specialist and enthusiast vehicle, with vehicles now to be required to meet only one of six eligibility criteria instead of meeting two out of four eligibility criteria as was previously required.Over recent months, the government says it "has consulted extensively concerning these improved pathways". The six eligibility criteria will be:
- Performance: a new graduated threshold formula measured from 110 kilowatts per Tonne (kW/T) in 1992, increasing by 1 kW/T each year after.
- Environmental Performance: an objective vehicle technology based on an alternate power source to internal combustion or a micro-car subcategory for low power (low emissions) vehicles.
- Mobility: originally manufactured or fitted from the factory with substantive specialist mobility features to assist people with disabilities.
- Rarity: total worldwide production of the vehicle ‘Make’ is less than 3000 units per year; or total worldwide production of the vehicle ‘Model’ is less than 1000 units per year; or total worldwide production of the vehicle ‘Variant’ is less than 100 vehicles per year. Left-hand drive vehicles imported under the rarity criterion will not require conversion to right-hand drive but will need state or territory agreement for use on their roads.
- Left-hand drive: originally manufactured as a left-hand drive vehicle and not available as an originally manufactured right hand drive vehicle in another world market. These vehicles will require conversion to right hand drive for safety reasons.
- Campervans and Motorhomes:originally manufactured as a campervan or motorhome.
Tell us what you think
Did you see the proposed loosening of private import restrictions as a positive? Would you have been willing to source your own consumer protection? Or did the mad-as-hell car industry make good points?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.MORE: Do grey imports pose dangers? The risks you might face privately importing a new carMORE: Government plans to allow parallel ‘grey’ imports from 2018MORE: Aftermarket peak body praises plan to allow private importsMORE: Gov plans to allow parallel ‘grey’ imports from 2018MORE: Let Australians import new cars – ministerMORE: Govt says Australia won’t become a “dumping ground”MORE: Mazda boss says cars in Australia not overpricedMORE: Grey imports could cut market in two – Holden