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Need For Closer Scrutiny Of NZ New Cars

17 August 2004

Niwa Findings Highlight Need For Closer Scrutiny Of New Zealand New Cars

Closer scrutiny of the quality of New Zealand new cars is needed in the wake of evidence that they emit more pollution than used Japanese imports.

Independent Motor Vehicle Dealers Association CEO, David Vinsen, said findings by the The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) explode the myth that new cars are necessarily better than Japanese used imports simply because they are brand new.

Mr Vinsen said it was particularly disturbing that NIWA had found that some New Zealand new cars incorporate less sophisticated exhaust emission control technology - or even none in some cases – because New Zealand has few emission regulations.

“We assume that new cars are built to a certain standard. Well, that standard isn’t so certain anymore. It is important that we put aside assumptions that new is necessarily better, and have a good hard look at the evidence.

“The findings are clearly evidence that new car distributors cannot be relied on to provide the best technology and the best product on the market until they are forced to.

“In fact, it was new technology introduced by Japanese used imports in the 1990s that raised public and government expectations - forcing New Zealand new car distributors to follow suite and offer technology like airbags, power steering, ABS braking and air conditioning to the mass market here.”

NIWA said in its reports that vehicles produced for the Japanese domestic market – and imported to New Zealand as used imports – require a higher level of technology (such as fuel injection and catalysts) in order to meet tough Japanese emission regulations.

Japan imposed stricter emission regulations as far back as the 1970s, but it only started happening in New Zealand in the late 1990s.

“We are confident this is true for all the technology incorporated into a Japanese product. Without doubt, when the New Zealand public buy a Japanese used import car, they’re getting the best product their money can buy.”

Mr Vinsen said the IMVDA supported NIWA’s call to achieve resource efficient reductions by targeting particular portions of the fleet – the gross emitters.

ENDS

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