The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association says Government policy on purchasing and leasing fleet vehicles could be costing the local automotive industry millions of dollars.
The Association, the peak body for 23,000 automotive businesses, is urging the Federal and State Governments to split the tendering of vehicles and vehicle options and accessories.
Association CEO Stuart Charity said all vehicles purchased or leased by government Departments and authorities are imported and some government entities are ordering vehicles with pre-installed accessories and upgrades.
“This means that optional extras such as roof racks, bull bars, ute canopies and trays and tow bars are imported products. This is despite Australian product equivalents that are both cost competitive and generally superior to imported accessories,” he said.
“We would like to see Government policy stating that options added to the vehicle should be purchased from Australian producers, where these exist.”
The Association has raised its concerns with Karen Andrews, the Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology and with every state Premier. It is seeking a policy that supports buying Australian-made components.
Mr Charity said it was difficult to put an exact dollar figure on vehicles coming into the country already optioned up. “However, you could imagine a Toyota Hilux coming into the country and having a canopy, tow bar and roof racks added in Japan. That’s thousands of accessories that could have been added in Australia using Australian designed products.
“Add that up with the thousands of cars purchased or leased by federal and state governments and it runs into the millions of dollars.
“We are world-class producers of automotive aftermarket products, highly respected around the world but the current government practices are shutting us out.”
Mr Charity said the South Australian government is leading the way. “After the withdrawal of Holden manufacturing in Australia, the SA Government adopted an Industry Participation Policy that resulted in fleet vehicles purchased without any accessories fitted.
“As a result, our tow bar producers, barrier protection and sidestep manufacturers in South Australia are fitting out hundreds of SA fleet vehicles.”
The Federal Government is in the process of changing over its COMCAR fleet, replacing its 142 Holden Caprices with the Toyota Hybrid Camry and BMW 6 Series GT sedan.
“We have worked with and spoken to many government fleet managers and, in our experience the majority are ordering vehicles with, for example, the tow bars already fitted before the vehicles are delivered. This practice continues because it is easier to order accessories to be added at the same time and because many are under the false impression that they must use ‘genuine accessories’ or they will void the warranty. This is not the case,” Mr Charity said.
“The ACCC has confirmed that the warranty is not affected if parts and accessories are fit for purpose and fitted by suitably qualified staff. There is no requirement under Australian Consumer Law to fit car company branded parts.”
further information and interview opportunities with Stuart Charity please
Jos Roder, Marketing Coordinator, AAAA. Ph: 0423 857 072 / firstname.lastname@example.org