Buried in a Turnbull government announcement yesterday was a gem that’s set to greenlight the import of left-hand-drive hypercars into Australia, by 2019, for driving on public roads.
The press release by the minister for urban infrastructure, Paul Fletcher MP, detailed a revised bill set to be submitted to parliament by the end of the year.
The bill follows a review of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act conducted from 2013 to 2015 and an announcement in February 2016, regarding proposed changes to the Act that would make importation of new vehicles from the United Kingdom and Japan legal.
Since then, the government has ditched the original proposed changes and undertaken further consultation with the industry and drafted this new bill to “modernise and strengthen the laws governing road vehicles when first supplied to the Australian market.”
What that means, in simple terms, is that the government wants to simplify the regulatory process of bringing a car to Australia.
That includes the process behind recalls, harmonisation with international standards, implementation of theft deterrent devices and the ability to import irregular vehicles.
The bill includes changes to the definition of a specialist and enthusiast vehicle. Previously, the vehicle would need to meet two of four criteria to be approved. Under this new bill, that will change to a requirement to meet just one of the following six criteria.
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.
This means that from 2019 we could see left-hand-drive cars like the Bugatti Chiron, McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari and Lamborghini Centenario cruising our roads with legal road registration.
According to Fletcher, the changes proposed in February were not as cost-effective as expected, for consumers, and these new proposed changes will open the door to enthusiast vehicles.
“Weighing these issues up against the modest benefits of the personal import arrangements – including price reductions estimated to be less than 2 per cent across the market – the Government has concluded that the benefits do not justify the cost and complexity of this particular change.”
“The reforms will provide increased consumer choice including by streamlining and improving the existing pathways for importing specialist and enthusiast vehicles.”
What do you think about this proposed bill? Will it get through? And, are you excited to see hypercars on the road?