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What Australia’s biggest car brands have to say about tough new emissions standards

CarExpert

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Earlier this week, the Federal Government announced its intention to implement a New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES) by 2025, bringing Australia into line with regulations already in place in the US.

The NVES will result in carmakers being given targets for average CO2 emissions per kilometre across their fleets, with the target figure moving over time to encourage cleaner – and more fuel-efficient – vehicles on Australian roads.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the peak body for car brands in Australia, has already called the proposed standards “ambitious” and pointed out the lack of financial incentives for consumers in the Federal Government’s plan.

Despite the proposal being largely reflective of what has been used in the US since the late 1970s, the best-selling brands in local showrooms have offered different takes on whether the NVES will be a positive or negative for the industry.

CarExpert reached out to the top 20 best-selling brands in Australia. These are their responses.

Toyota​

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“Toyota Australia supports the introduction of a mandatory fuel-efficiency standard that is ambitious, doesn’t leave Australians behind, is calibrated to the Australian market and allows carmakers to determine the appropriate mix of technologies to achieve it,” said Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia’s vice president of sales, marketing and franchise operations.

“This will have a direct effect on the vehicles that consumers choose to purchase and drive, encouraging access to vehicles with lower and zero CO2 tailpipe emissions technologies.

“Australian consumers have shown they will purchase vehicles that meet their work and lifestyle needs while being practical, capable and affordable – requirements that continue to apply when seeking to reduce their carbon footprint.

“Toyota’s long-term strategy, therefore, involves a multi-pathway approach: delivering a range of technologies that support decarbonisation while leaving no-one behind.

“We welcome the opportunity to review the Federal Government’s announcement and will carefully consider our response.”

Mazda​

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“The preferred option is very ambitious, in terms of timeline, but also it has a mechanism of putting fines in the system that’s collected from the OEMs,” Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi told CarExpert earlier this week.

“But obviously this will get passed onto the price of vehicles in one form or another without being a direct tax or charge or levy.

“Our opposition is that I think the timeframe is too ambitious, and secondly maybe the government hasn’t really educated themselves on the costs that would go to the consumer in this big ambition they have shared with us.

“Many [overseas] markets have put significant subsidies [in line with their efficiency standards], which means the subsidies are disguising the cost bump.

“I think that’s one of the biggest weaknesses of this plan, there is no talk of consumer incentives … consumer incentives to accelerate this transition is something that needs to be put to the table, if the ambition is to do it quickly.”

He suggested a delay to the proposed standards.

“A timeframe from 2030 to 2035, one we’ll have more technology available and probably a better value proposition, which would mean that our government doesn’t have to be as aggressive on incentives would be the appropriate timeline,” he said.

MORE: Mazda pumps the brakes on Australian efficiency standards, calls for subsidies

Ford​

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“We welcome policies designed to educate and promote zero and low emission technologies to Australian consumers, and we see a mix of powertrain technologies playing a role in meeting the future needs of customers – which is why we offer a range of options across our line-up,” a Ford Australia spokesperson told CarExpert.

“We are reviewing the detail of the government announcement and will work with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) and other industry stakeholders to provide our input. We welcome diverse views and healthy debate on this important topic.

“More than two-thirds of our Ranger customers use their vehicles for work – anyone from a suburban electrician who’s a sole trader through to a household name company with thousands of vehicles. While the size of the business and the work it’s being used for can be different one customer to the next, what they all need is capability and versatility.

“We also know that customers will continue to need vehicles that meet their diverse requirements, whether for work or lifestyle. This is why it’s important that the policy accommodates a mix of powertrain technologies and considers the needs of all customers and use cases, whether they’re based in a big city or the outback.

“We look forward to local deliveries of the Ranger Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) beginning in 2025. Combining a turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor, Ranger PHEV represents the best of both worlds, combining zero-emission driving capability whilst retaining all the core Ranger towing, off-road and payload capabilities that our customers tell us they need for both work and play, including easy long-distance travel.

“The work to bring other lower-emitting and electrified vehicles to our shores is already underway at Ford Australia, including the E-Transit and E-Transit Custom, Mustang Mach-E and Puma Gen-E, in addition to Ranger PHEV.”

Kia​

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“Kia Australia supports a formalised emissions standard and the details of the Federal Government’s recently announced proposal are currently under study internally,” said a company spokesperson.

“Kia Corporation is a global company with advanced R&D, and has previously implemented long term strategies to meet emission requirements in the Korean domestic, North American and European markets.

“Kia Australia is confident it will provide a diverse product range, consisting of various fuel efficient technologies, for Australian new car buyers to choose from.”

Hyundai​

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“Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) welcomes the Federal Government’s Impact Analysis for the New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES),” said a company spokesperson.

“As we continue to study the details, we’re confident that by working closely with both Government and industry, we can develop a standard that is right for all Australian new car buyers.”

Mitsubishi​

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“We welcome the Federal Government taking the initiative and leadership to develop a model for the implementation of New Vehicle Efficiency Standards in Australia,” a Mitsubishi Australia statement read.

“When designed effectively, and set at the appropriate targets levels, policy levers like vehicle efficiency standards can be beneficial in achieving their objectives to reduce vehicle emissions.

“We are taking our time to properly assess the potential implications for Australian consumers and how it might impact the brand and model availabilities across the sector, both in terms of current models on sale and potential new models.

“Above all else, Mitsubishi Motors wants to ensure that Australians are still able to access the vehicles they want, and need, at reasonable prices.”

MG​

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MG Motor Australia declined to comment on the NVES.

Tesla​

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Tesla didn’t respond with a comment before publication.

Subaru​

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“Inchcape Australia [which also distributes Citroen and Peugeot] welcomes the Government’s consultation paper and looks forward to reviewing the proposed details further,” said a company spokesperson.

Isuzu​

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Isuzu Ute Australia didn’t respond with a comment before publication.

Volkswagen​

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“Volkswagen Group Australia is glad to have been among the voices calling for a strong, binding efficiency standard. Australia will be a better place for its auto market no longer being an international outlier,” said a company spokesperson.

They noted the Group plans to launch 11 electric vehicle variants this year, including the first electric models for the Volkswagen and Skoda brands.

Nissan​

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Nissan Australia didn’t respond with a comment before publication.

GWM​

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GWM Australia didn’t respond with a comment before publication.

Mercedes-Benz​

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Mercedes-Benz Cars Australia didn’t respond with a comment before publication.

BMW​

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“The BMW Group supports the implementation of the New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES),” said a BMW Australia spokesperson.

“The standard’s design should prioritise consumers’ needs, offer diverse choices and contribute to emissions-reduction targets. It should provide the platform for a range of emissions-reduction measures and that the technology be made available to the buying public without restricting choice. We also strongly recommend it remain specific to the local market, be based on technology openness and accommodate future fuel types such as hydrogen and e-fuels.

“In addition, we urge the government to consider revising the Luxury Car Tax (LCT) for all fuel-efficient vehicles, and not just those that sit under the $89,332 threshold (FY2023/24).

“This will enable a wider range of vehicles to benefit from other incentives such as the Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) exemption and encourage manufacturers to bring higher efficiency/technology vehicles to Australia to help shape and achieve the nation’s greenhouse emissions reduction target.

“BMW Australia continues to expand its fully electric vehicle offering. By Q3 this year, it will offer 16 fully electric variants across seven model series in its product portfolio, which is the most of any manufacturer in Australia.

“This line-up includes six fully electric variants priced below the fuel-efficient vehicle LCT threshold of $89,332.”

LDV​

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Ateco, LDV’s Australian distributor, didn’t respond with a comment before publication.

Audi​

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“I can’t speak for all car buyers as a collective, but what I can say is that at Audi, we are supportive of any change that positively impacts Australians,” said a company spokesperson.

“When it comes to our line-up here in Australia, we are taking a strong approach to our electrification strategy.

“We look forward to welcoming the newest addition to the e-tron family in the Q4 e-tron later this year. As our newest entry to the e-tron range, we are excited to provide additional choice for Audi customers and look forward to introducing more battery-electric models to the Australian market in the coming years.”

Suzuki​

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Suzuki Australia didn’t respond with a comment before publication.

Lexus​

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Lexus Australia declined to comment on the NVES.

Honda​

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“Honda Australia are committed to better understand the impact of the New Vehicle Efficiency Standard in Australia,” said a company spokesperson.

“We continue to work closely with Honda Motor global, as part of our overall global strategy towards achieving Carbon Neutrality.”
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