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FCAI supports new tariff plan

FCAI CEO Tony Weber

Tony Weber, chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries

Australia’s top motor industry body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), is showing their support for a reduction in vehicle tariffs, a move that the FCAI says “will give more Australian drivers access to the latest safety technology.”

The FCAI’s Chief Executive Tony Weber described the proposition as providing two significant advantages as it would not only help save lives on our roads by providing cheaper access to safety technology, but also help reduce vehicle emissions and CO2.

“This tariff reduction proposal should be viewed as an investment in safety and technology,” Mr Weber said.

“Currently around 88 per cent of new vehicles are five-star ANCAP safety rated. However, in direct contrast to that, the current average age of the total vehicle fleet on Australia roads is around 10 years.

“Abolishing the new vehicle tariff would pass on thousands of dollars in price cuts at the showroom, which would make more vehicles with advanced safety features such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keeping assistance more affordable for the average consumer.

“The flow-on effect of this would also benefit our environment because new vehicles produce fewer emissions and CO2.

“The industry is very much encouraged by the Deputy Prime Minister’s comment that this proposal has merit, and we would seek an opportunity to discuss this further with him.”

Mr Weber said that the industry had been vocal for some time about the need to reduce vehicle tariffs and abolish the arbitrary Luxury Car Tax, which distorts the market and does nothing to assist the trickle-down of vehicle safety technology into cheaper cars.

“The latest safety technology on offer by vehicle manufacturers has proven life-saving capabilities. There are a number of key elements to reducing trauma on our roads and the newer cars with features such as automatic lane keeping, warning systems, and fatigue detection, are a vital part of that safety package,” he said.

“With Government intervention through tariff reduction, vehicles can play an even larger role in saving lives on our roads.”

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New vehicle standards bill for Australia

Australia’s main motor industry body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, (FCAI), has welcomed the Federal Government’s release of an exposure draft of the new Road Vehicles Standards Bill.

The new Bill introduces reforms to strengthen the laws around road vehicles when first supplied to the Australian market. This involves clarifying vehicle recall arrangements; developing vehicles with international standards; and providing more choice through streamlining the regulatory pathways through which non-standard vehicles are imported. 

“This new legislation has been a long time coming, but the automotive industry is pleased that the Minister has taken the time to consider what is in the best interests of Australian consumers,” Tony Weber, FCAI Chief Executive said.

“It provides a framework to ensure Australians have access to world quality vehicles with the latest safety and environmental features.”

Mr Weber said that Australia’s new car market was one of the most competitive in the world, with new vehicle prices independently assessed as cheaper than most developed countries.

“This legislation would ensure our vehicles are fit for purpose, built for our market conditions, and underpinned by established consumer support mechanisms,” Mr Weber said.

“Our industry has always welcomed competition because that’s what delivers value for the consumer. This proposed legislation provides a robust structure which also safeguards the interests of the consumer.”

The Australian Automotive Dealer Association also reaffirms the FCAI’s views, “After a thorough consultation process, we believe the Government has developed a balanced, well-considered package of reforms which protects consumers, reduces red tape and allows for an objective scheme to import specialist and enthusiast vehicles,” said AADA Chief Executive Officer, David Blackhall.

“New car franchised dealers conduct all vehicle safety recalls in Australia and we are supportive of the additional clarity this legislation provides in this area,” said Mr Blackhall.

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ACCC report criticises car industry

Tony Weber, chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, (FCAI) has expressed concern regarding the ACCC’s final report into the Australian new car retailing industry.

The FCAI’s Chief Executive Tony Weber said that the report has revealed both a poor understanding of the industry and insufficient evidence to support the claims. This is especially disappointing for the FCAI as the document took around 18 months to develop.

“While the FCAI and motor vehicle companies in Australia are still studying the detail of today’s report, at first blush it appears that the ACCC has taken 18 months to research and understand a complex industry, and failed to properly comprehend it,” Mr Weber said.

“The ACCC’s report appears to be predicated on a very small number of complaints which it uses to tarnish Australia’s $17.5 billion retail motor industry. This is not only unfair, it is inaccurate.”

“To take one example, the ACCC has relied on 85 consumer complaints and 229 small business comments to support its position on mandating unfettered access to service and repair information,” Mr Weber noted.

“By way of comparison, there are some 17 million motor vehicles on Australian roads today, which are predominantly repaired and serviced by the independent repair sector. So how does the ACCC hypothesize that the information isn’t readily available?

“Technical information to service and repair cars is already widely available and the FCAI’s Voluntary Code ensures that car companies will continue to offer the information necessary to service and repair cars available to independent repair sector. However, it appears organisations are seeking ways in which they can leverage car manufacturers’ intellectual property for their own commercial gain by building and selling aftermarket devices.”

Mr Weber noted that the retail new car industry also has been unfairly criticised by the ACCC, when in fact 1.178 million new motor vehicles were sold in Australia last year with overwhelming levels of customer satisfaction. 

“The reality is that as modern motor vehicles become more sophisticated, the independent repair sector needs to continue to adapt and change to ensure it remains relevant and up to date. Independent repairers shouldn’t be able to say they can repair all makes and models when clearly they can’t. Unfortunately, today’s report just smacks of the ACCC looking to support old and failing business models for independent repairers.”

“Car companies take safety, environmental and security information very seriously. Additionally, having security information in the public domain puts a vehicle at much greater risk of being stolen,” Mr Weber said.

The ACCC’s recommendation on information sharing goes against the advice of the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC), which wrote to the ACCC specifically on the matter, stating:

“The current controls over the sharing of this information in Australia has helped deliver the nation low rates of electronic criminal manipulation by world standards and the NMVTRC’s view is that this approach should be maintained.”

“If the ACCC supports mandating the sharing of service and repair information above the already high level of information provided voluntarily by car companies, then the ACCC will own the responsibility for the misuse of that information,” Mr Weber said.

According to figures obtained from the UK Royal Automobile Club (RAC), the number of stolen vehicles in the UK has risen by nearly 30 per cent in the past three years, which is attributable in part to the release of security information.  By comparison, motor vehicle theft rates (all vehicles) in Australia have increased by 1 per cent over the same period.

“The ACCC has cherry-picked information to support its bias. Information provided to the FCAI by the ACCC on a confidential basis of complaints over a two-year period again reinforce the fact that the number of complaints are exceptionally small and most have been addressed by the car companies. Unfortunately, the ACCC has handcuffed us from releasing this information publicly.”






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Aussie car sales dip in September

The Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) reports that three of the growth segments in the Australian new vehicle market continued to rise in September, despite a 2.4 per cent dip in the overall market compared with the same month last year.

The chief executive of the FCAI, Tony Weber, said that while there was a modest sales fall in September, strong activity was recorded across several key segments.

A total of 100,200 new vehicles sales were recorded in Australia last month, a fall of 2.4 per cent compared with September 2016, according to the industry’s official statistical service VFACTS.

“Any month over 100,000 total sales has to be seen as a strong outcome, proving there is continued value for the consumer in the market,” Weber said.

Source: FCAI

Market leader Toyota recorded a 1.07 per cent rise in sales during September for a dominant 17.3 per cent share overall, followed by Mazda with 10.3 per cent, Hyundai with 8.1 per cent, Mitsubishi with 7.1 per cent and Holden with 6.9 per cent.

The Ford Ranger light commercial was Australia’s top-selling vehicle for September with 4,318 sales, followed by the Toyota Hilux with 3,822, Toyota Corolla with 3,055, Mazda3 with 2,776 and Holden Commodore with 2,547.

Utes and cab-chassis 4X4 light commercial vehicles, together with small and medium SUVs were the three growth segments during September. The 4X4 light commercials were up 11 per cent, small SUVs rose 7.9 per cent and medium SUVs increased 3.3 per cent compared with September 2016.

SUV and light commercials remain the two robust areas of the market, accounting for a 58.8 per cent share of total sales year to date, up from 56 per cent in 2016.

The overall market remained 0.2 per cent ahead of last year’s record total on a year to date basis.


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Aussie car sales hit fourth record month in a row

The Toyota Hilux was Australia’s top-selling vehicle

Vehicle sales in Australia hit a record month in July, the fourth in a row, according to industry body VFACTS.

A total of 92,754 new vehicles were sold in Australia last month, an increase of 1.6 per cent compared to July 2016.

Year-to-date sales hit 692,306 cars, a 0.4 per cent increase.

“This July figure demonstrates the industry’s ability to deliver products which are not only good value but cater specifically for the changing needs of Australian customers,” said the chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Tony Weber.

While the passenger vehicle market was down 5.9 per cent last month when compared to July 2016, other market segments saw large gains. The SUV market was up 9.4 per cent year-on-year, with small and medium SUVs up 15.3 per cent and 18.6 per cent respectively, and heavy commercials increased 14.5 per cent.

“The steady rise in small and medium SUV sales are indicative of our market’s changing dynamic and manufacturers are moving quickly to meet those new needs and expectations,” Weber said.

The top-selling car make was Toyota, who sold 17,931 vehicles for a 19.3 per cent market share, followed by Mazda, with 9,528 sales, a 10.3 per cent market share, and Hyundai, with an 8.1 per cent share of the market.

Five of the 10 highest-selling vehicle models were also Toyota, with the Hilux standing at the top of the table, with 3,742 sales, a 19.3 per cent increase. This was followed by the Toyota Corolla, with 3,208 sales, down 6.4 per cent, the Ford Ranger, with 3,076 sales, up seven per cent, and the Mazda3, with 2,466 sales, a massive 64.3 per cent increase.

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