The Albanese government faces the prospect of the car industry running an anti-mining tax style campaign against its plan to force car makers to cut their emissions.
The Federated Chamber of Automotive Industries, which represents the car manufacturer, is set to hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to consider their response to the plan which industry sources said could lead to them running a public campaign similar to that waged by the mining industry against the Rudd government’s mining tax.
One senior industry figure said the government’s proposal was likely to drive some of the most popular existing brands from the Australian market.
Last Sunday, Environment Minister Chris Bowen and Transport Minister Catherine King released the government’s road map to improving the fuel efficiency standards of motor vehicles with the industry given a month to respond.
Already one organisation representing the nation’s car dealers has responded with fury, describing the plan as an “existential threat to the retail automotive sector” and on Friday appearing with Opposition Leader Peter Dutton as he hit the campaign trail in the by-election for the Victorian seat of Dunkley.
A number of industry sources said car makers were split over the plan, which they had spent the week analysing.
“It’s fair to say the better they understand it, the less they like it,” an industry figure said.
EV manufacturer Tesla and Chinese brands MG and BYD are understood to be broadly supportive of the government’s proposed changes, as is Hyundai.
But the powerful Japanese manufacturers are believed to have greater reservations.
“It’s highly unlikely there will be unanimity on this,” a senior industry source said. “Of course there is a possibility that multiple brands could leave – especially the volume brands.”
James Voortman, boss of the Australian Automotive Dealer Association – whose CFO Brian Savage appeared with Mr Dutton at a Mazda dealership in Dunkley on Friday – said the government’s plan would be a disaster for his members.
“I have spoken to dozens of dealers since this policy was announced. They have grave concerns that it will do severe damage to our industry,” he said.
“They see it as an existential threat to the retail automotive sector and are strongly opposed to the policy.”
The AADA’s hardline stance against the plan has not been matched by its fellow industry association the Motor Trades Association, which also represents dealers, as well as mechanics and panel beaters, and has so far refrained from criticising the plan.
FCAI CEO Tony Weber said the plan would have a big impact. “If this goes ahead it’s going to be a different landscape and vehicles we drive may change dramatically.”
Extracted in full from: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/the-better-they-understand-it-the-less-they-like-it-car-makers-in-crisis-talks-over-new-fuel-standards/news-story/44027b502b11b3c98ac70509602c2d77