Car industry hails ‘best possible result’ in Canberra
EXCLUSIVE: Scott Morrison's election win has been hailed as "the best result possible" by a struggling car industry reporting the strongest buyer interest in months.
Customer inquiries at Land Rover increased significantly following the election, while executives at BMW, Mazda and Nissan all say the Coalition win is good for business.
Rising confidence in the car industry comes on the back of record auction clearance rates last week, which CoreLogic reported as the highest since September 2018.
The S&P/ASX200 Index rose to a 11-year high following the election result and remains strong almost two weeks later.
Jaguar Land Rover Australia managing director Mark Cameron said "confidence may be returning" to a car market which has fallen by more than $1 billion this year, with his brands recording the "highest level of inquiries we've seen all year" in the week following the election.
"It was the best result that we could have hoped for - which is the current government remaining in power," Mr Cameron said.
"In the last seven days we had the highest level of inquiries we've seen all year, in one week. "So that's an immediate barometer of a little bit of confidence returning.
"People may have been holding off and seeing what government was going to be in power and what taxation effect that might have on their own personal income. I think it's a good indication of that."
Vikram Pawah, chief executive of BMW Australia, said his brand has seen "some uplift" going into June's traditionally strong sales period.
"Any kind of stability in Government and continuity of policy does help," Mr Pawah said.
"If the economy is strong, if people's confidence is strong, obviously they are buying more cars."
Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak agreed that the election represents good news for the motoring industry.
"Now that's behind us hopefully things will pick up and people will get back into the marketplace," he said.
"I think buyers may come back into the market more quickly because in theory there's no real change - there's no question mark over the future and whether things will be different.
"There's a familiarity with the government and that will potentially mean that people will come back into the market quicker."
Nissan boss Stephen Lester says clarity in Canberra means "we are hopeful that some confidence will return to consumers - including their purchase of a new vehicle".
Roy Morgan research shows the number of Australians who intend to buy a new car is "down by 435,000 or 19.1 per cent from the same time last year".
New car sales have dropped by 8.1 per cent for the year to date, with a shortfall of 30,380 sales representing more than $1 billion in lost revenue.
Land Rover is down by 16.8 per cent, joining luxury rivals Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus in a period of decline.
Mr Cameron said stricter standards following the Financial Services Royal Commission had a noticeable effect as lenders refuse funding to "countless" customers.
"I've talked to dealers about customers who have bought 10 Range Rovers, they've always had access to credit.
"Nothing's fundamentally changed in their set up and yet they've been either denied credit or the rate for risk is so prohibitive that they're walking away or holding off.
"I think those things together create a situation where people are just being cautious."
The car industry has hit out at a proposed luxury car tax in Victoria which builds on Federal tariffs.
The Andrews Government has budgeted for buyers of cars worth $100,000-$150,000 to pay an extra $14 per $200, while buyers of cars worth more than $150,000 will pay $18 per $200 on top of the Federal 33 per cent levy on cars priced above $66,331.
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber said the Victorian levy was "money grabbing at its worst".
"But what's more disturbing is that it is a tax on safety and technology. It targets vehicles that introduce innovative safety and technical features to the market," Mr Weber said.
"And the vehicle which attracts the most LCT is a Toyota LandCruiser - a popular vehicle for families and landholders. Hardly a luxury vehicle."