Clean Car Scheme woes: Suzuki and Isuzu thinking of leaving NZ
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The New Zealand government's Clean Car Scheme has been the topic of debate recently, with some fearing the potential indirect consequences of the legislation.
Both Isuzu Utes New Zealand and Suzuki New Zealand have expressed concerns about the Standard, with both brands saying they'll consider leaving the country if the Clean Car Standard and it's strict restrictions on emissions go unchanged in the coming years.
Suzuki New Zealand chief executive, Ian Peck, says “if the Clean Car Standard progresses (in its current form) it may become difficult for us to sustain our business in New Zealand and this has potential repercussions for both owners of our vehicles and our dealer networks.”
He continues “to comply with the requirements of the Bill in its current form would require our parent [company] to build new EV vehicle types just for the New Zealand Market by 2025 – that’s literally impossible, a word we hate to use.”
“Importing vehicles around the globe, to countries not intended in the original design, is a recipe for high risk, life risking recalls. That risk will not be permitted, so Suzuki is already assessing withdrawal from NZ car imports if CCS [Clean Car Standard] is enacted in current form.”
Isuzu shared similar sentiments in its submission to the government's Land Transport Amendment Bill, which includes the Clean Car Standard, saying “Isuzu Utes is a locally owned family business representing one of world’s leaders in utility vehicles. The implementation of the bill in its current format is likely to lead to the closure of Isuzu Utes New Zealand. The Bill requires a number of urgent changes in order to deliver the intended outcomes.”
The submission made by Isuzu urges the government to head the advice given by Motor Industry Association (MIA) regarding emission targets, rather than following it's own goals. Isuzu says it'll have issues with meeting the targets which are set for 2025, which aims for 155g/km for light commercial vehicles. MIA recommends the slightly higher emission rate of 194g/km instead.
“The targets are so tough that they are not achievable this side of 2030,” Isuzu says. “They reflect little or no understanding of how different the New Zealand market is from Europe. In Europe utes make up less than 3%. In New Zealand that share is currently 23-24%.”
“The impact of this on the emissions profile is massive. Add to this the incredible challenge that automakers have to improve the emissions profile of the utes. The implementation of the bill in its current format is likely to lead to the closure of Isuzu Utes New Zealand,” it adds.
“Isuzu Utes does not have the ability to offset the higher emissions utes with lower emissions variants – they do not exist and will not for the foreseeable future. This means the Clean Car Standard will simply mean a tax on the business, which is not affordable in this competitive market.
“We were very concerned even with revised MIA targets for the 2023 -2025 period, which are tough but much more realistic than those proposed in this bill. Delaying the reductions as per this plan is in line with the recommendations of the Climate Change Commission, and makes sense given the supply chain issues already outlined. The targets are overly ambitious – don’t turn them into a tax take, we may not survive.”
The issue for both automakers is that they don't have a broad enough range to offset the emission regulations set out in the Clean Car Standard. Larger brands like Toyota, who have best selling utes and hybrid vehicles (and will also soon offer pure electric vehicles) alike, aren't affected by the issue so much, as the high emitting utes are offset by the lower emitting hybrid vehicles.
Only time will tell what will happen with the upcoming regulations, and the impact it'll have on some of New Zealands most loved car brands.