Several luxury and sports car manufacturers have passed on the now-annual cut in the Luxury Car Tax (LCT) threshold, however only the thirstiest premium or performance cars cop the drop, with efficient hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs) remaining as costly as ever.
From July 1 this year buyers will have to pay 33 per cent in tax for every dollar spent over a $65,094 threshold. That compares with $64,132 from July 1 last year, a difference of $962 –or given one-third of that is $317.50, it should equate to about that saving for buyers of any vehicle pricier than the threshold. Except it doesn’t for vehicles that use less than 7.0 litres per 100 kilometres, where the cap remains stagnant at $75,526 for the second year running.
The upshot is that an RS3 Sportback drops by $371 to $80,240 plus on-road costs, the same amount deducted for all thirstier-than-7.0L/100km Ingolstadt vehicles right up to the derivatives of R8 including the V10 RWS now costing $299,129 (plus orc).
In camp BMW an M240i coupe drops by $371 to $77,629 (plus orc), but while an X6 M cops that cut and now costs $197,629 (plus orc), its far more fuel efficient X6 M50d sibling – 11.1L/100km versus 6.6L/100km – retains a $162,200 (plus orc) sticker.
And it gets even more backward. The 5.0-litre V8-powered, 11.6L/100km-rated Lexus LC500 will now be $371 cheaper at $189,926 (plus orc) but its 3.5-litre V6/electric motor-equipped, 6.7L/100km-rated hybrid sibling must still ask $190,000 (plus orc).
Likewise, a Mercedes-Benz S450 L remains unchanged at $227,500 (plus orc) because it sips 6.9L/100km, but an S560 drops $371 to $269,630 (plus orc) because it chugs 8.2L/100km.
Porsche has been most generous with cuts, with a Boxster manual falling $400 to $114,900 – but again, a 9.4L/100km-rated Panamera Turbo drops by the same to $384,100 while its 2.2L/100km-stickered Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid sibling remains at $460,100 (plus orc).
All brands this the LCT is madness, and many are claiming that this former protectionist policy – once alleged to have been strategically positioned above a Ford Fairlane/LTD and Holden Statesman/Caprice – now especially has no right to exist.
With the current federal government attempting to procure a European free trade agreement, Continental-based premium brands have said that the LCT will not be able to exist if free-trade is implemented.
Until such a time, we can only shake our heads at the way an Australian government makes thirstier cars cheaper and efficient new technology no less expensive than before.