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The Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association (VIA) is cautiously positive about the recent Government decision on changes to the exhaust emissions rule. This positivity comes despite the decision being published with no fanfare and amidst the “fog of war” creating by the election transition uncertainty.

VIA Chief Executive, Greig Epps, noted that the timeframes and changes in standards appear to land faster and stricter for imported used vehicles than for New Zealand new models. “I think the short timeframes between the application of higher standards to new and then used vehicles shows the Government recognises the high quality of vehicles that VIA members are importing,” Epps said. “The imported vehicle sector has led the way on bringing in cleaner vehicles, as shown by the huge number of used hybrids and EVs that have entered the country in the past five to ten years.”

Although positive about the sector’s ability to accommodate these changes, Epps indicated that around 8-10% of current import models will no longer meet the Rule requirements. He said that this should not be seen as a major barrier to the supply of vehicles as there should be sufficient vehicles and models in the overseas market to aid this transition. “The obvious impact will likely be higher prices on the lower end of imports,” he said, “but there are still many New Zealanders who need vehicles in that price range and so we will probably see those lower end vehicle become younger, but with other price mitigating factors such as higher mileage to keep the price point consistent”.

Epps also noted that the Government has listened to several suggestions that VIA proposed to streamline the importing process, such as accommodating the possibility of delays at the border that might see different rules applying between the time the vehicle is sourced and when it is finally landed in New Zealand.

Epps noted that the introduction of Euro 6 has been aligned with Australian efforts, but that legislation has not yet progressed across the ditch. If the Australians are slow to bring this standard in, then there is the possibility that imported used vehicles could be subject to the equivalent of a Euro 6 standard before new models. VIA will be watching this transition carefully to ensure balance between the compliance burden on each sector.