New And Used Cars Will Get A Lot Cheaper In Australia From 2018 Thanks To Parallel Imports
A big government shake-up for local car importation laws could have massive implications for the way Aussies buy their vehicles. From 2018 onwards, you’ll be able to parallel import brand new cars and avoid tariffs on imported used cars, potentially saving yourself thousands of dollars over local dealers.
Business Insider reports that changes to the Motor Vehicles Act in Australia will open up the domestic markets of dozens of countries around the world to private Australian buyers. From 2018, private buyers will be able to purchase and import cars from countries with comparable standards to Australia — the full list hasn’t yet been decided, but preliminarily both Japan and the United Kingdom have been approved.
The cars must be no more than 12 months old, and must have no more than 500km on the odometer. The price difference won’t be enough to justify importing cheaper cars, but just below Australia’s circa-$64,000 Luxury Car Tax threshold (and beyond) there will be some bargains — with countries like the UK and Japan both selling identical cars at a significant discount to Aussie dealers. The same “Australia tax” that we’re used to with technology applies even moreso with cars.
Used cars will also become far easier to import with the amendment of the Customs Tariff Act 1995, to remove a $12,000 special duty that applies to used imports. That tariff wasn’t applied consistently anyway, but its abolishment is a point of comfort for wary would-be importers. Cars that are imported will have a specific plate affixed and their details added to a new register, as well as the traditional blue-slip inspection and registration process.
There are some huge advantages to import at Australia’s luxury and niche car manufacturers’ current pricing. A Porsche 911 Carrera S will cost you $274,000 and change to buy in Australia, while an import including freight and government fees is a full $44,000 cheaper. Some, like Tesla’s Model S, have only a few thousand dollars’ disparity between local and imported prices. These prices may change to make importing less attractive, or we may see more imported new and used cars on Australian roads in the near future. [Business Insider]
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“. countries like the UK and Japan both selling identical cars at a significant discount to Aussie dealers.” When it comes to the UK, at least, nothing could be further from the truth. Go and price a Focus at ford.co.uk and you’ll discover that a car we can buy for less than $25,000 sells for more than $35,000 in the UK. It’s the same for 99% of cars currently in Australian showrooms. We have a hugely competitive market here and enjoy some of the cheapest car prices anywhere. The US is about the only market where you can buy cheaper and the new laws won’t let you bring in a car from there.
On that subject, the law will only allow you to import from RHD countries, so the assertion that you’ll be bale to buy cars from dozens of countries is way off the mark. I’d suggest the UK and Japan will be the only significant places we’ll be allowed to import from.
The other important factor is that it applies only to PERSONAL importation and you will only be allowed to import one car every two years.
Take all those factors into account and I can’t see the changes having any effect on 99% of prospective car buyers. If you have a couple of hundred thou to spend, you might be able to find a better deal overseas but if just want a new mid-range SUV or hatchback, you’d end up paying a premium for a car with no warranty.