The Australian automotive industry and Australian consumers alike may soon be at risk of dealing with potentially unsafe and unchecked imported used cars on an enormous scale.
Recently, the AADA attended the Productivity Commission hearing in Melbourne, where it expressed concern towards a recommendation by the Commission to the Government allowing large-scale used car imports into Australia.
Permitting a surplus of foreign used cars into Australia could see the market flooded with sub-standard, unsafe and under-performing vehicles, not unlike the infamous vehicle surge experienced in New Zealand.
When New Zealand’s importation laws were softened, the market endured wide-spread problems with odometer fraud as well as the sale of vehicles with no history or which had been written-off in their country of origin. In fact, many reports have shown that fraudulent operations existed in exporting countries such as Japan; solely dedicated to tampering with vehicle odometers and log books to make them more appealing to overseas buyers.
It is feared that Australia could experience similar problems to New-Zealand – especially considering the task of checking every imported used-car for fraud would be virtually impossible.
Other concerns surrounding large-scale used car imports include the absence of any sort of warranty and issues surrounding vehicle recalls. Naturally, in the case of a recall, neither Dealer nor Manufacturer will want to assume responsibility for changing the faulty part and so the costs of repairing will likely fall on the consumer.
The AADA has already put forward a written submission to the Productivity Commission in support of a continued ban on large-scaled used car imports. As part of the submission, the AADA has argued that any recommendation by the Commission to the Government should at least consider enforcing the same compliance rules on imports as all cars sold in Australia.
Indeed, it would be unfair if imports did not comply with the same legal, environmental and safety standards which regulate their competition.
AADA Chairman Ian Field summed it up saying,
‘Our members are not afraid of competition [but] ask for a level playing field in terms of regulatory, taxation and other statutory requirements.’
While proponents of large-scale imports argue that it will increase competition and lower prices, the pay-off of no warranty coverage, no recall protection and potential odometer tampering means that consumers are put at great risk.
This is a risk that the AADA believes is too great, especially considering that Australians already enjoy an incredibly open and competitive market with cars that are cheaper, safer and better covered compared with most others places in the world.