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Herald Sun - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE CONFIDENTIAL - Twit­ter: @JoshuaDowl­ing

Rad­i­cal re­forms pro­posed for the Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle Stan­dards Act may lead to cheaper cars for the masses. Changes are needed in key ar­eas but let’s hope the legislators get the bal­ance right, be­cause the im­pli­ca­tions will be im­mense.

Vary­ing the im­port stan­dards could re­verse Aus­tralia’s 90-year low in the road toll and clog courts with cases try­ing to dis­cover the true iden­tity of a stolen car, or with lit­i­ga­tion over “le­mons”.

Some changes would ben­e­fit en­thu­si­asts while also ad­dress­ing con­cerns over ve­hi­cle prices, par­tic­u­larly at the top end of the scale.

The prices of mass-mar­ket ve­hi­cles are al­ready at 20year lows and af­ford­abil­ity is at a 38-year high.

Sum­maris­ing many of the 200 sub­mis­sions made on­line, here is my un­of­fi­cial take on the leg­isla­tive re­view.

Re­mov­ing re­stric­tions on new and used im­ports will not lead to cheaper ve­hi­cles.

Pri­vately im­ported cars un­der re­calls could be­come a safety risk if they can’t be read­ily iden­ti­fied and fixed. Trac­ing own­ers will cre­ate a new layer of bu­reau­cracy.

Al­low­ing pri­vate im­ports of new ve­hi­cles po­ten­tially could “con­tam­i­nate” the lo­cal mar­ket with ve­hi­cles that ap­pear the same but lack fea­tures or safety equip­ment, slash­ing re­sale val­ues.

There should be clar­ity in ad­ver­tis­ing the cost of op­tions such as metal­lic paint and auto trans­mis­sions, which add, say, $550 and $2500 re­spec­tively.

A sec­ond-hand im­port with a tam­pered speedo, proved to be stolen or built from parts from a writ­ten-off car, should be scrapped or re­turned to its coun­try of ori­gin at the im­porter’s ex­pense (as in New Zealand).

Clas­sic ve­hi­cles (1960s and older) ex­cepted, spe­cial­ist used im­ports should be re­stricted to cars three to five years old.

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