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Exchange rate means even older used imports

24 March 2006

Weakening exchange rate means even older used imports

The fact that the weakening New Zealand dollar means that even older and shoddier imported used vehicles are going to be pouring across the wharves is further bad news for the age, safety and environmental effects of the vehicle fleet in the short term, according to the Motor Industry Association.

“Even with a historically high dollar, an oversupply of used imports was already choking the bottom end of the used car market in New Zealand, and the dollar’s now fallen almost 20% against the Yen in the last four months,” said Perry Kerr, CEO of the Motor Industry Association. “New Zealand importers are losing purchasing power in Japan, and this is compounded by the boom in demand from Russia. Even the Independent Motor Vehicle Dealers’ Association is admitting that its members will be seeking older and shoddier vehicles for the same money and foisting them onto hapless consumers in New Zealand.”

Last year, even under a high dollar, used imports landed in New Zealand reached a record average of over eight years old. 78% (21,767 vehicles) of used 4 wheel drives entering the country were nine years of age or older.

The only emissions equipment required of these vehicles is that which applied at the date of manufacture. “New Zealand’s used vehicle entry system is so third world that there’s no check as to whether this equipment is still working, or in fact still in place,” said Mr. Kerr.

“There’s no doubt that used importers are now caught in a squeeze between the increasing cost of older used imports and the increasing supply and better value of NZ-new used cars, “ said Mr. Kerr. “The time’s now right for the Government to take some positive action to divert consumers towards better value, more environmentally friendly, longer-lasting vehicles by imposing a seven year rolling age ban on used imports.”


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