Australians may soon get access to cheaper cars from England thanks to a pending new free trade deal (FTA).
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, reportedly agree in principle to a new trade arrangement this week during a meeting in the UK. Under the expected terms, cars built in Britain will no longer be hit by a five per cent import tariff.
While positive news for the car industry and the brands that manufacture in the UK, the deal needs to be finalised and implemented before details can be confirmed and any accurate savings calculated. It also depends if the car makers involved choose to pass that discount onto the consumer.
The news is significant politically as Australia is the first country to strike a new trade agreement with the UK since its departure from the European Union.
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While that’s good news for traditional British marques such as Rolls Royce, Bentley, Lotus and Aston Martin, the more mainstream models from the likes of Nissan, Mini, Land Rover and Jaguar are likely to attract more interest.
The Nissan Juke, Qashqai and Leaf are all built in the Japanese brand’s Sunderland plant. In theory, under this new FTA, an entry-level Nissan Juke ST could drop from $27,990 to $26,591 (excluding on-road costs), a $1399 saving if the tariff is calculated on the manufacturer’s list price.
However, Nissan Australia told CarsGuide that it’s too early to determine the exact savings this new arrangement will have, so don’t expect to see sticker prices slashed in the immediate future.
“We need to understand the finer details and dates when this free trade agreement will be implemented, to determine the impact on new vehicle prices for Australian consumers,” a company spokesperson said.
Land Rover builds the Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque in Halewood, with the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport built at its Solihull factory. In recent years Land Rover has begun expanding its production footprint amid Britain’s departure from the EU, with the Defender now built in Slovakia.
While owned by BMW, Mini still builds the majority of its range at its Oxford plant. That includes the Mini 3-door and 5-door as well as the Mini Clubman and Mini Countryman.
The import tariff on cars dates back to the days of local manufacturing, with the extra tax put in place to help Holden, Ford and Toyota. However, with the industry now gone the government has been slowly rolling back the tariffs from certain countries when it works politically and economically.
Australia already has FTAs with several key countries that make cars including Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the United States.