Aussie says no to NZ-style parallel imports

New grey import cars? Australia won’t go there … at least in part because of what’s happened in NZ.

UNSCRUPULOUS Kiwi traders can cop the blame for Australia having decided against allowing a trade that flourishes here – the parallel importation for sale of new cars.

That’s a thought provided by the Motor Industry Association, which represents all new vehicle distributors here.

The Australian Government earlier today announced it will not allow the personal importation of new vehicles due to consumer protection issues.

MIA chief executive David Crawford believes that call results at least in part of Australian authorities having studied New Zealand, where a free market attitude has allowed the practice.

“The decision reached by the Australian Government was informed by some of the issues we face in the New Zealand market, particularly where importers of used vehicle tend not to meet their obligations as importers for vehicle recalls, servicing and warranties,” he told MotoringNetwork.

The potential for parallel importing was raised as a potential once Australia’s car manufacturing industry shuts up shop, a process that culminates with Holden ending manufacture on October 27.

Australia is also thought to be giving thought to allowing importation and sale of used cars from other countries, as New Zealand has done since 1980.

No decision about that has been announced, though it has opened the door slightly with changes to a concessional scheme under which unique, specialist and enthusiast vehicles can be imported there.

Crawford says the MIA does not normally comment on regulations in other countries “unless it affects our market.”

“In this case, the MIA notes that the decision reached by the Australian Government is, in our view, a sensible decision given their market.

“Today's environment for selling vehicles is very different from that which existed 20-30 years ago. Their market provides an extremely wide choice of new vehicles at internationally competitive process.”

The Australian Government said in looking into allowing allowed personal importation of new motor vehicles from the United Kingdom or Japan, it had weighed up the “modest benefits of personal import arrangements” and concluded that “the benefits do not justify the cost and complexity of this particular change”.

Australia’s peak motor industry body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, has welcomed the determination.

It noted that a main issue of concern raised by the Government with personal imports was the lack of protection for consumers; one element among the many which have greatly concerned the motor industry.

The Chief Executive of the FCAI, Tony Weber, described this as a win both for consumers and for the industry.

“The industry has long held the view that personal imports are not in the interest of consumers, nor of the 236,000 people who are either directly or indirectly employed in the Australian motor industry,” he said.

“Australia already has one of the most competitive motor vehicle markets in the world, delivering world quality vehicles and outstanding value for the consumer.

“To allow personal imports would have exposed consumers to enormous risks, which the Government’s own analysis has clearly identified.”