Australians will be able to import a car or motorbike under 12 months old, and with less than 500 kilometres on the odometer, as from 2018 – the same year local car manufacturing ends.
Under the changes by Minister for Major Projects, Paul Fletcher, Australians will be able to bring in vehicles from a country with ‘comparable standards’. Currently Japan and the United Kingdom are the only countries that qualify, and buyers can only import them up to once every two years. Basically this decision will see new, rather than second-hand, vehicles coming in under a parallel import scheme, although the government will also make it easier to import more exotic, rare, classic, collectible and special purpose vehicles if they are at least 25 years old, as well as cutting the $12,000 special duty on imported used cars from 2018.
Presently there are about 1.1 million new cars on the Australian market each year and, once Ford, Holden and Toyota close down, then all of those will have to be imported. According to the Financial review (see link below), motor enthusiasts say the new rules do not go far enough, as they will only mean an extra 30,000 vehicles a year imported privately. They will continue their push for full parallel imports of used cars. The government concedes it will only have a ‘small impact’ on car values and will not reduce prices as much as if they had allowed cars up to five years old. Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party leader Ricky Muir, accusing the government of bowing to the interests of motor dealers, said he would continue to lobby for parallel imports, and the Australian Automobile Association said it was time now to go further and lift restrictions.