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Used Car Importers Sidestepping Consumer Safety


Tuesday 27 November 2001

Rather than accept the measures being proposed by the Minister of Transport to improve the safety standards of used cars being imported into the country, the Imported Motor Vehicle Dealers Association (IMVDA) and its members are actively stockpiling cars which will soon be prohibited by the new regulations, according to the Motor Industry Association.

Under new regulations being considered by Transport Minister Mark Gosche, cars imported from 1 April 2002 will need to comply with improved frontal impact standards for new cars manufactured for the Japanese market. The new standards were phased in from 1994 to 1996, depending on new model manufacturing cycles. The Gosche plan, which has been welcomed by road safety advocates, would effectively ban the commercial importation of cars manufactured before the new standards took effect.

According to MIA Chief Executive Officer Perry Kerr, used car importers are putting profits before community responsibility as they endeavour to land as many older cars as possible before the proposed new regulations become law.

‘The Gosche move is to be applauded as a serious attempt to raise the average safety standard of vehicles entering the New Zealand fleet’, said Mr Kerr. ‘The fact is that cars which comply with the proposed new regulations are readily available in Japan, but rather than try and work with what is a long-overdue safety measure the importers want to keep dumping older and less safe cars on the New Zealand public. The average used import is now over eight years old when it arrives in New Zealand, and that in itself is a scandal.’

‘It is ironic that importers are promoting the argument that the buying public would not be able to afford to replace their cars with safer later model vehicles. If the very same importers had not glutted the market in such an uncontrolled manner with so many older cars, the price depreciation suffered by owners would not have been such an issue. ’

‘The fact that the importers are stockpiling older cars ahead of the proposed regulations just serves to prove where their motives lie,’ said Mr. Kerr.

Perry Kerr
Chief Executive Officer
Motor Industry Association Inc.

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