Sydney, 15 February 2016 – Jaguar Land Rover Australia (JLRA) has responded to the recent announcement that the Federal Government will introduce changes to the Motor Vehicle Standards Act which among other things will allow the private importation of vehicles up to 12 months old with fewer than 500km on the odometer.

“We share the extreme disappointment which has been expressed by the FCAI (Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries) and a number of other manufacturers in the wake of this announcement”, said Mr. Matthew Wiesner, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover Australia. “The Government is misguided if it believes that these changes will be a positive thing for the Australian new vehicle buyer. We are very concerned that the reality of the situation is that the consumer will in fact be exposed to considerable risk and be far worse off compared with the current system.”

The All-New Range Rover

Chief among JLRA’s concerns is that consumers importing vehicles from overseas under the changed legislation will not have the protections that make a new car purchase in this country a very secure and risk-free investment. “Aside from the fact that the privately imported vehicle may have a warranty and possibly other features such as a service plan which have been issued in another country and therefore are not recognised here in Australia, the owner will not enjoy the benefits which come from the substantial investments made in local dealerships and support networks by brands which sell new cars in this country”, said Mr. Wiesner. “These investments mean that the local buyer of an Australian-delivered new car can rest assured that their vehicle will be serviced and repaired appropriately because we have trained and equipped our dealers for that particular model and specification. Very importantly, our dealer network also tracks and carries out any necessary recalls for vehicles delivered new in this country, so the owner is made fully aware of when important work is required – which is obviously critically important when it comes to vehicle safety.”

JLRA also shares the FCAI’s expressed concern that a privately imported vehicle will not have the protections afforded by Australian Consumer Law: “A new car purchased and delivered here is automatically covered by Australia’s comprehensive consumer laws”, said Mr. Wiesner. “This means that a locally delivered new car owner has recourse in situations such as when his or her vehicle proves not to be fit for that person’s needs. Unfortunately the owner of a privately imported car will not be eligible for any of this peace-of-mind security.”

JLRA believes that a further problem for consumers who choose to import a vehicle privately rather than buy their new cars here in Australia is that their vehicles will not benefit from important engineering provisions made by the manufacturer specifically for our market conditions. Mr. Wiesner pointed out that “Factories building cars for Australia incorporate many important features which recognise that this country is different. Cooling systems for engines and transmissions are designed to work efficiently in our extreme temperatures, as are air-conditioning systems. Navigation and infotainment systems are set up for this country from the outset, and engineering takes into account a range of factors as diverse as our towing regulations and the composition of our fuels from the earliest stages of developing a vehicle for export to Australia.”

Finally Mr. Wiesner added that consumers who choose to import vehicles personally on the basis that they are making financial savings may be in for a shock. “Australia is a highly competitive market and we firmly believe that new vehicle prices here represent excellent value for the consumer, especially when you take into account the considerable security the consumer enjoys by way of trained dealer networks, service and parts back-up, extensive warranties and roadside assistance…the list goes on”, he observed. “But the private importer of a car misses out on these things, and also potentially loses out at trade-in time because the car specified for an overseas country will always be worth substantially less than the car designed from the outset to be delivered and driven locally here in Australia.”

Finally Mr. Wiesner commented that “It is actually the government who is making a significant margin per unit sold in Australia and therefore grossly over taxing the best technologies and innovations available for consumers in the industry. Fixing the inequitable tax arrangements of a combined LCT and GST that adds 43% of cost to vehicles over $63,184 would be a better way of addressing car affordability for the Australia consumer.”