This story is just a load of rubbish in my opinion. Tony Tiehaus from Autohub could be accused of having a vested interest in it and given there was originally a link to his business (since removed) - well you figure it out for yourself.
We've traded and fixed a large number of imports in recent years and generally I'd say that they didn't do their owners any favours. Grey imports are those vehicles that have reached their use by date in their country of origin. The Japanese market where most if the imports come from impose high re-registration costs when the vehicle gets to a certain age - generally 5-7 years. The Japanese philosophy is to keep their national fleet in good condition, meeting current or recent environmental standards. Vehicles leaving this sector are either trashed, scrapped or shipped overseas to generally unsuspecting countries such as New Zealand and now Australia.
New Zealand has a small new car market, thanks in the main to imports from Japan. Last year our cousins across the ditch bought just 86,000 new vehicles compared to our 1,000,000. Imports are cheaper up front than an equivalent aged used car and certainly much cheaper than a new car. However the problems arise in a few areas - finding a reputable finance company to loan against it, finding someone who knows enough about the car, not to service it, but to repair it when things go wrong. The there's actually being able to source parts for the vehicle. And yes, they are generally available from where the car comes from, but dealers don't stock them, you'll have to pay upfront for the parts and it will take about 2-4 weeks to get them here - way too long to be without your vital transport
My advice is to compare what's available in Australia from a reputable used car dealer - check out our site www.usedcars.nsmg.com.au and you'll find workshop tested vehicles with a good statutory warranty and the option to take out a longer extended warranty
Visit our dealerships at 218 Anzac Avenue and 324 Anzac Avenue Kippa-Ring on the beautiful Redcliffe Peninsula before you buy an import. Besides the fact that imports devalue very quickly, you'll also find that most used car dealers won't trade your vehicle or if they do, you'll be getting cents in the dollar for what you paid.
The market for used import cars is growing in Australia – "but the public are still unaware just how good these cars are," says Tony Tiehuis of Autohub Vehicle Logistics, following the company's March road show highlighting the new shipping products on offer.
"It's certainly an increasing business, although there are still a lot of myths surrounding grey imports, which we also saw in New Zealand in the early days when import regulations were first relaxed. Since then a very healthy support industry has sprung up and employs many people.
"There has been no real push to combat negative feedback uttered by those in opposition to the import industry in Australia - particularly in relation to the things like service and availability of spare parts, etc. which are readily available ex-Japan. Autohub has excellent contacts for parts suppliers and export agents in Japan, if required," adds Tiehuis.
After Autohub's initial introduction to the market in 2011, the company's expansion also comes on the back of Kiwi Car Carrier's recent withdrawal, although Tiehuis says the exit of the rival company is just one aspect of the push.
"The decision to expand is not purely due to Kiwi pulling out; our services goes hand in hand with what we offer in New Zealand, and we knew our Japanese clients were keen to ship cars to Australia," says Tiehuis.
"We took the opportunity to meet with interested parties and the response was very positive - there is a good amount of enthusiasm for what we are offering.
"We had a number of people phone their export agents while we were visiting them and book cars with our service. A lot of people are paying upwards of $2200, so Autohub is an attractive alternative for them."
Autohub operates 'bronze', 'silver', and 'gold' services to Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney (Botany/Port Kembla), and in the future Perth. The bronze and Silver services are fixed price for vehicles up to 20cm3, and with no inclusions.
All three services are port-to-port and include the cost of international freight, port service charges, customs clearance in Australia and pre-DAF/AQIS clearance in Japan, to eliminate any delay once the vehicles arrive in port in Australia.
If further cleaning is required on audit inspection by DAF in Australia, Autohub picks up the tab.
Bronze service is a roll-on/roll-off vessel once a month and costs $1470. Silver service is by container vessel and is once a week with a 2-week sailing time and costs $1750. (Sydney/Botany pricing is $1850, due to higher port costs). Gold service is via roll-on/roll-off vessel once every two weeks, with pricing at tariff rates.
Non-commercial vehicles up to 20 cubic metres are catered for, but commercial vehicles are excluded as these cannot receive pre-DAF/AQIS clearance in Japan.
Tiehuis says current import volumes are around 500-800 units a month, and sees possible room for long term growth.
"The next step in our plans will be to pop over to Perth and develop the service for client's there, too. We know there are cars going in already, and pricing would likely be similar to current Australian ports".