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Japaneseusedcars.co.nz - Automotive News

Import age limit plan: Car prices 'to soar'

Prices of imported used cars are likely to rise sharply because of Government plans to get old vehicles off the roads.

Yesterday, the Government said it was directing the Ministry of Transport to consider options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

They included setting minimum fuel economy standards and a limit on the age of imported cars.

That is likely to result in a 20 to 30 per cent increase in the price of used imports from Japan.

An age restriction would probably allow importers to bring in from Japan only cars made after 1999, when new emissions standards were introduced there.

Cars made before 1996, when frontal impact regulations were toughened, are already banned.

Independent Motor Vehicle Dealers Association chief executive David Vinsen said an age limit would mean NZ car dealers would have to bid against rivals from many more countries to buy newer vehicles.

"More than 100 countries import used cars from Japan, so we're in competition with them," he said.

"With our exchange rate and our low-wage economy we cannot compete.

"If we're limited from bringing in older cars, there is going to be increased demand for the newer ones and the prices at auction in Japan will go up."

But the IMVDA backed moves to upgrade the country's vehicles, Mr Vinsen said, and the Government should provide greater incentives for people to junk old cars.

From October 27, a visible smoke test will be part of the warrant of fitness check.

But Climate Change Minister David Parker says further action is needed to meet climate change objectives. "The energy outlook to 2030 shows that if we do not change our policy settings, transport greenhouse gas emissions will increase by 45 per cent over the next 25 years. We cannot, and will not, let that happen."

Associate Transport Minister Judith Tizard said a rise in secondhand car prices was not inevitable, as buyers could be forced to buy smaller cars which met fuel economy and emission standards.

"We are trying to achieve better health outcomes, better fuel efficiency and better carbon dioxide efficiency," Ms Tizard said. "I think the price of petrol has meant that a lot of people are realising that a cheaper car may not be, over the life of the car, a good choice.

"We are takers of vehicles, we don't manufacture here so we can't set the standards, but what we can say is that we don't want other countries' junk being landed on our shores."

New-car sales fell in the first half of the year. Between January and June, 37,115 new cars were sold; in the first six months of last year, the figure was 37,263.

The Cabinet will consider a report on the policy proposals next month.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman said it seemed inevitable that imported car prices would rise, so affordable public transport should be a Government priority.

"If you don't have a lot of money and you're in Auckland and you're relying on an old dunger to get around, you need to have real public transport alternatives," Mr Norman said.

New cars will also be subject to new emission and fuel economy standards.

The Motor Trade Association supports Government moves to improve NZ's vehicles, spokesman Andy Cuming said.

Having a totally deregulated import trade posed problems in introducing some of the proposed changes, but the industry knew the Government was taking first steps in a right direction.

"That is not to say that these difficulties cannot be overcome and addressing the real issue of 'rogue importers' will be a good start."




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