In the market for a new car? It could be in your interest to wait a couple of years. In a turnaround, after Malcolm Turnball knocked back removing parallel import restrictions just a few months ago, the government has now approved the grey import of vehicles into Australia. From 2018, Australian consumers will be able to import second-hand cars from the UK and Japan; this coincides with the end of car manufacturing in Australia. According to The Guardian, major projects minister Paul Fletcher announced the changes to the vehicle import policy today.
It’s a win for some Australian consumers, around 30,000 are expected to take advantage of the lifted restrictions per year, meaning prices of directly imported cars from manufacturers will most likely drop as more choice is available and an increase in competition. Obviously, the local automotive industry is not happy about the changes, claiming they show a “complete disregard” for the consequences. Some industry spokespersons argue adverse effects for consumers, saying tax arrangements such as luxury car taxes will address car affordability better.
“There is certainly no guarantee that the consumer will enjoy the same level of protection that they currently do,” said a spokesperson for Mercedes-Benz Australia, David McCarthy.
The parallel imports must be 12 months old or less and travelled less than 500km. Imports will only come from the UK and Japan as they offer high safety standards and right-hand drive, not to mention cars are 20 per cent less expensive in Japan compared to Australia. Individuals will have the chance to import a new car every two years. The changes will encourage a faster renewal of Australia’s private car fleet, which is old by global standards. Finally, the $12,000 duty on importing classic cars over 25 years old will also be lifted.