The tax man killed the Porsche 918 Spyder in Australia as effectively as a can of Mortein.
There were five serious shoppers who were considering the $1.5 million hybrid hypercar, but each of them balked at paying more than $300,000 in Luxury Car Tax.
Porsche had planned a special support package for any 918 sold in Australia, including spare parts and tyres, trackside maintenance and special driving tuition, to try and lock down at least one local delivery despite a left-hand drive layout which makes it illegal for road-car use.
But the deadline has now passed, with all 918 cars in the limited Spyder production run already committed to their owners.
“What successful businessman is going to give the tax man that much money, just in Luxury Car Tax?,” says Paul Ellis, spokesman for Porsche Cars Australia.
“It’s preposterous that a car that cannot be registered on Australian roads is still subject to this punitive tax.
It’s preposterous that a car that cannot be registered on Australian roads is still subject to this punitive tax.
“Potential buyers of the 918 work too hard to be handing over that much money to the tax man.”
The money numbers are as outrageous on the 918 as the car’s performance figures, but it’s a similar story on LCT across the whole Porsche family, from the starting-price Macan at $86,700 to the 911 Turbo S from $466,900.
“Every car we sell in Australia is subject to LCT. It applies to everything over $70,000,” says Ellis.
The Porsche experience is one reason why car importers are pushing strongly for an end to the LCT, which was originally excused by Canberra as a way to protect the flagships of the local carmakers, once Ford and Holden shut their factories.
The long-wheelbase Ford Fairlane and LTD are already long dead and Holden only has its $59,490 Caprice after killing its slow selling Statesman.
The LCT currently tips $476 million into the coffers in Canberra but, ironically, the biggest individual contributors are the four-wheel drive Toyota LandCruiser models.