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Car imports take new safety rules in their stride

15 May 2002

Surging used car imports take new safety rules in their stride

Fears that used car importers would be forced out of business by new frontal impact rules have proved to be completely groundless, based on a near-record 11,929 used cars imported in April, the first month that the new standard came into operation.

When the requirement for imported used cars to meet the crash safety regulations which were phased in for new cars in Japan during 1994-96 was first mooted, there was an immediate outcry from used car importers, which continued throughout the implementation process. Claims ranged from the ‘impossibility’ of sourcing compliant cars in Japan which could be profitably sold in New Zealand to the ‘intransigence’ of the new car distributors in providing a database on compliant cars. ‘In actual fact,’ said Perry Kerr, CEO of the Motor Industry Association (MIA), which represents new car distributors. ‘I want to praise the used importers for their ability to successfully work with the LTSA’s website to identify compliant vehicles, despite the IMVDA’s howls of concern.’

‘The negative claims of some who purport to represent the used importers have been comprehensively rebuffed by the ability of the importers to clear such a huge number of cars across the wharves in April, despite the new rules,’ said Mr. Kerr.

‘This is a clear endorsement of Transport Minister Gosche’s safety initiative,’ Mr. Kerr added. ‘It proves that the importers have been able to source safety-compliant vehicles with no impact on their overall volume, and clearly demonstrates that they have been able to more than successfully adapt to the new safety regime.’

The MIA has long held the view that the new safety initiative would be a major step towards reducing deaths on the roads. ‘The April import data confirms our view that we can reap the safety benefit without affecting the viability of the used import trade,’
said Mr. Kerr. ‘The figures also contradict the LTSA’s economic analysis that used imports would reduce by 53,200 in 2002. In contrast, it looks as if the used importers are gearing up for another record year.’


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