Import tariffs could be lifted

A call has been made to remove the import tariffs on vehicles not manufactured in Australia. This demand arose after Toyota followed fellow car manufacturers Honda and Ford in announcing their departure from Australian soil.

Historically, the tariffs have been held in place to protect local car makers by adding thousands of dollars onto the retail prices of internationally imported vehicles.

Now that the local car manufacturing industry is expected to close by 2017, peak automotive bodies have released statements calling for the government to consider removing the unnecessary tariffs.

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) explained in a February 12 media release how the removing the tariffs could improve motoring affordability, which is encouraging news for any fleet manager hoping to reduce fleet costs.

"With local manufacturing coming to an end it is only fair that tariffs on imported vehicles must also stop," AAA Chief Executive Andrew McKellar said.

"If tariffs were designed to help protect the local industry then there is no longer any justification to maintain them."

According to AAA, nine out of ten vehicles sold on Australian shores in 2013 originated from offshore manufacturing plants. This shows that locally made cars have lost the battle for market share over the previous few years.

"The removal of tariffs could save the average new car buyer between one and two thousand dollars on the cost of a vehicle," Mr McKellar said.

Treasurer Joe Hockey has revealed the government is considering dropping the tariff in response to the departure of Australian car manufacturing.

"The car industry is not going until 2017, but this is something that will certainly be considered by our review of taxation, which will occur in the next 18 months or so, and certainly before the next election," he told The Australian on February 13.