Riders will be able to import a new motorcycle or car from 2018 without having to deal with a dealer so long as the model is not already imported into Australia.
They will also be able to import used vehicles more than 25 years old without having to pay the $12,000 duty.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has warned that the Federal Government move will take out the “buyer beware” sentiment, leaving motorists exposed to “high-risk situations” while Motoring Enthusiasts Party Senator Ricky Muir believes it “potentially help drive down the overall cost of new vehicles in Australia by creating competition in the new vehicle market”.
Private low-volume importing of motor vehicles was popular a few years ago when the Aussie dollar was high, but has dropped off with the massive decline in the exchange rate making it uneconomical.
The new government move may increase private importing, however riders will only be able to import motorbikes that are not brought in, have comparable standards to Australia, are no more than 12 months old and have no more than 500km on the odometer.
At the moment, it seems only Japan and the UK have comparable standards for right-hand drive cars, but more countries may be included for motorcycles which are universal.
However, they may still require some modifications, in particular lights. Specialist companies such as Queensland Imports handle these compliance issues, as well as various government taxes.
The new rule will also allow motorists to import vehicles more than 25 years old, dropping the $12,000 import duty from 2018.
Major Projects Minister Paul Fletcher says he expects motorists to import exotic, rare, classic, collectible and special purpose vehicles.
FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber says 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.”
Senator Muir says potential competition in the new vehicle market could also lead to a reduction in the age of Australia’s motor vehicle fleet, allowing more people to access “more modern, efficient vehicles, with up-to-date safety technology”.
Meanwhile, the FCAI supports the closer harmonisation of ADRs with international standards and is calling on 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,” Tony says.
“If the Government is so concerned about car affordability, it should look at the taxes and other government charges that make up around 20% of the price of new cars in Australia.” The same is true for motorcycles.