The Motor Vehicle Standards Act (MVSA) is currently under
review, with the Government recently closing public submissions.
Moore Stephens Automotive attended and participated in the public
consultation workshop held in Melbourne, which outlined the process
of the review and gave stakeholders an opportunity to provide
Moore Stephens Automotive welcomes the Government review of the
MVSA, given it was last fully reviewed in 1999 with a major
amendment in 2001. Stakeholder feedback also supported the review
given the change in the global motor vehicle industry, technology,
consumer environments and the end of domestic passenger vehicle
production by 2017 in Australia. Furthermore, the Governments
deregulation agenda and the Productivity Commission's
recommendations on reducing barriers to second hand imports have
provided significant discussion within the automotive industry and
Given the significant impact reducing barriers to import
vehicles poses to both automotive businesses and consumers at
large, we explore this further.
Reducing barriers to the personal importation of new and second
hand vehicles is being considered due to the following reasons:
Public submissions in 2013 commented on the differences in
vehicle pricing between Australia and other overseas markets;
Community perceptions that Australia has higher prices –
the Government wants to ensure that Australians can access safe
vehicles at the lowest possible cost;
The Productivity Commission recommended reducing restrictions
on the importation of quality second hand vehicles; and
Individuals have consistently raised concerns about their
inability to purchase directly from overseas (including from
On the surface, the reduction of importation barriers sounds
like a great idea to provide affordable vehicles to consumers.
However after conducting a thorough analysis and considering
consumer safety first and foremost, Moore Stephens Automotive
concur with the view of the Federal Chamber of Automotive
Industries (FCAI), being in opposition to the proposed reduction in
barriers to import vehicles.
Whilst not exhaustive, the reduction of importation barriers has
significant consumer implications, and consideration needs to be
given to the following:
Fleet age and safety, emissions and anti-theft standards;
The risks in relation to consumer protection such as vehicle
warranties, after sale parts and service, and recall
The risks of importing vehicles that have been subject to
structural damage, inadequate repair, theft or odometer tampering;
Transitional requirements to control impact on existing
automotive sector businesses.
A simple example highlights the complexity surrounding the
practicalities of reducing the barriers to imports. Under
Australian law, an official importer is required to carry the parts
for any vehicle it sells, and must be able to service the vehicle
as well. Given importation of vehicles may be undertaken by
individuals, all the risks are borne by the consumer with no
responsibility of current franchisors. Sourcing parts and servicing
vehicles could therefore be difficult, with the onus squarely on
the consumer. The relatively recent reduced import barriers in New
Zealand provide many examples of consumers being unable to source
spare parts for vehicles, or have had vehicles repossessed, as they
have been subsequently identified as stolen vehicles.
Moore Stephens Automotive support the MVSA review, however key
aspects need to be considered carefully to ensure the protection
and safety of consumers.
On 12th November 2016, new laws will commence to protect small businesses from unfair terms in standard form contracts.
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