Australia’s “grey laws” on car imports are set to change as of 2017/18 if the government gets its way.

At present Australia has restrictions on importing cars from overseas. Particularly cars that aren’t available as a model here in Australia, even if the manufacturer does sell other models here in Australia already. These have been dubbed the ‘grey laws’. This was all about protecting Australia’s home-grown car manufacturing industry.

Advertisement

Now the Government wants to modify these laws to make importing these ‘not released models in Australia’ much easier. Basically because after 2017, Australia won’t *have* a home grown manufacturing industry once Holden/GM and Ford take their bat and ball and go home following in the footsteps of Toyota and Mitsubishi who did this a few years ago. After 2017 all cars in Australia will be fully imported so protecting against foreign models won’t make any sense anymore.

So Australians will be allowed to import non-released cars of their choosing into Australia... But don’t get too excited because there will be restrictions on what you can bring in. They will have to be right hand drive, have less than 500km on the clock and meet basic Australian safety requirements and standards. This effectively restricts the imports to come from the UK and Japan.

Advertisement

Naturally the dealers are a little upset about all this because it threatens to undermine their sales of the usual models that are available. They are claiming all sorts of issues such as warranty coverage, consumer protection laws, quality and car safety issues, theft and ownership issues (the imported car could well have been stolen in the originating country) and so on. The government is basically saying to them to get with the times, learn to adapt and shut the hell up in response to all that. I think if they’re smart they’ll develop a ‘foreign import’ section to their dealerships to cater for this market and to get their slice of the action. Otherwise private companies could set themselves up as official importers-to-order and handle the cars (now there’s an idea...! hmm...)

Advertisement

Unions are also bitching about all of this but then, after 2017 they won’t have a leg to stand on because Australia won’t *have* a car industry beyond car repairs, mod shops and rare spares shops making replica and out of production parts. So they’ll have no workers to protect anymore in an industry that’s ceased to exist.

At least we’ll have a bit wider choice in Australia if this goes through.

cheers

Sean

Advertisement

(Top image - That’s my car, parked at work. A 2015 Mazda6 Sport that I bought last June... I love my car... :+) .. )