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New-car private import restrictions dropped

By Daniel DeGasperi, 10 Feb 2016 News

New-car private import restrictions dropped

Buy a new car in UK or Japan and from 2018 you can legally import it

Fancy a new Porsche Cayman GT4 for $130,000? The Australian Government will lift barriers to new-car private importation from the UK and Japan within two years.

The above price is what you’ll pay for a Cayman GT4 in the Mother Country, once converted to local dollars, but of course there is a catch or three. From 2018 the Australian Government will allow each individual to privately import one new motorbike or passenger car from the UK or Japan every two years. It will need to be less than 12 months old and have less than 500km on the clock.

The vehicles will not require an identification plate to be physically attached, but will need to be checked by a third-party outlet on arrival in order to meet Australian Design Regulations (ADRs). A statement warns that this may require changes to such items as child-seat anchorage points.

X-drive badgeLikewise it cautions that the vehicle may not be covered by manufacturer warranty or be the subject of a notified recall as vehicles sold through dealerships would.

Where applicable, such as on a Cayman GT4, the vehicle will be required to pay the 33 per cent Luxury Car Tax (LCT). Consider that the Porsche costs $195k plus on-road costs to purchase from a dealership, and the $130k UK version may absorb much of the difference once import costs and LCT are factored in.

The lifting of the new car import laws also allow Australians to purchase new cars that are unavailable locally – everything from an Audi S3 three-door to all-wheel-drive BMW sedans and a whole breed of Seat and TVR models.

A Seat Leon Cupra three-door equates to $57,930 (plus import and on-road costs) when converted from the UK pound.

Seat Leon Cupra 3-doorFederal minister for major projects, territories and local government Paul Fletcher claims the reforms will benefit consumers while having little effect on new car dealerships locally.

“Over one million new vehicles are sold in Australia today; over 90 per cent are imported and within two years all cars will be imported once Ford, General Motors and Toyota cease local manufacture,” he said in a statement.

“With around 30,000 vehicles a year expected to be personally imported, most Australians will continue to purchase vehicles directly imported by manufacturers and sold through their existing dealer network. These new arrangements will however offer consumers greater choice.

“If a manufacturer chooses not to sell a particular model in Australia, a consumer may now have an option to source this model overseas.”

Audi S3 2014 modelUsed car buyers haven’t been left out entirely, with changes to the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 – which the government professes has not been reviewed in 14 years – meaning that cars older than 25 years can now be legally imported. It replaces the previous fixed date of January 1, 1989 or older.

The government will also remove the $12,000 special duty on imported used vehicles.

“Although this duty is not often applied, it is on the statute books, costing more to administer than it raises – and is seen by consumers as a hurdle to importing second hand cars even in the specific circumstances where such imports are permitted,” Mr Fletcher added.

“By removing this duty, we will provide more options for Australian consumers.”

Legislation is expected to be introduced to federal parliament later this year.