Concern Over Electrice Grey Imports

Consumers should feel comfortable about buying a used electric car, but AADA has serious concerns around the importation of used electric cars, as the provenance of these cars is unknown.

AADA CEO, James Voortman, said the specialist and enthusiast scheme should not be used to bring in mainstream cars and he hoped the Government would rule this out just as they had officially done on countless occasions.

“If these cars are not good enough for consumers in their source countries, they shouldn’t be allowed to be dumped in Australia,” he said.

“Consumers face major risks as these vehicles will not be covered by the Manufacturer warranty and it will be near impossible for those buyers to enforce their Australian Consumer rights.”

Recalls is another major concern – we have seen with the Takata recall in New Zealand how much more difficult it is to rectify grey imports compared to standard imports.

In relation to electric vehicles, consumers can in no way be confident about the health of the battery in a used imported EV. EV batteries are the most expensive component of the car and have their own Manufacturer warranty periods which usually run longer than the rest of the car—generally they run for eight years or 160,000km.

“Governments have a number of other policy levers which they can pull to incentivise the uptake of EVs. Allowing for the import of used cars will only risk consumer welfare and increase the age of our fleet which is already behind the likes of Europe,” Mr Voortman said.

Harper Review recommendation 13: Parallel imports

Restrictions on parallel imports should be removed unless it can be shown that:

  • the benefits of the restrictions to the community as a whole outweigh the costs; and
  • the objectives of the restrictions can only be achieved by restricting competition.

Consistent with the recommendations of recent Productivity Commission reviews, parallel import restrictions on books and second‐hand cars should be removed, subject to transitional arrangements as recommended by the Productivity Commission.

Remaining provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 that restrict parallel imports, and the parallel importation defence under the Trade Marks Act 1995, should be reviewed by an independent body, such as the Productivity Commission.

The Government supports in part this recommendation. The Government supports the removal of parallel import restrictions on books. The Government will progress this recommendation following the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into Australia’s intellectual property arrangements and consultations with the sector on transitional arrangements.

The terms of reference for the inquiry provide that the Productivity Commission is to have regard to the findings and recommendations of the Harper Review in the context of the Government’s response, including recommendations related to parallel import restrictions in the Copyright Act 1968 and the parallel importation defence under the Trade Marks Act 1995.

Following consultation as part of the review of the Motor Vehicles Standards Act 1989 and having regard to consumer protection and community safety concerns, the Government has decided not to proceed with reducing parallel import restrictions on second‐hand cars at this time. They also rejected used car imports in response to a productivity commission report.

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