Enthusiast Car Import Regulations

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IndianaJones
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Enthusiast Car Import Regulations

Post by IndianaJones » Mon 26 Dec 2016, 09:42

Hi folks

I would like to run a hypothetical by you guys, whom I consider to be the very definition of car enthusiasts. So please let go of your prejudices, angers toward the system, and remember that it is a hypothetical.

So let’s start the conversation with 3 questions, on an “open” platform.

If one could change the perspective of the government, ITAC, NRCS, SARS, etc concerning import regulations of classic and collector cars or enthusiast vehicles…

1.) Which regulations currently in place, are the most unreasonable?
2.) Which regulations would you want to see be in place?
3.) Which authority or consultant or organization/s would be best suited to determine whether in fact a particular model of vehicle, is an enthusiast vehicle?

Remember that one would have to be sensible, it would be unreasonable to expect that the government would just open the floodgates and let any and all new/used cars be imported.

Also remember the regulations will always be in place, it is in an effort to protect the local vehicle manufacturers/assemblers and supporting industries, as it employs a huge number of people. This is perfectly understandable, even some 1st world countries have such regulations. Myself, and I think most here, are not disputing it, but instead doubting the negative effect the importation of enthusiast vehicles, not freely available locally, are purported to have on the industry, and maintaining the idea that importation of such vehicles could be controlled in a manner that would be more compliant with car enthusiasts, which are also South African citizens, and holds cars of this category dear.

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zahistorics
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Re: Enthusiast Car Import Regulations

Post by zahistorics » Tue 27 Dec 2016, 21:41

Lots of thoughts on this, but one thing that springs to the front of my mind right from the start, is something not to do:

Don't involve the no left hand drive rules in this. They have a very different origin, namely road safety, from the general importation rules based on economics. They are very, very entrenched, and have been around for decades. The economic rules by contrast are in continuous evolution.

It is the wrong fight to be picking if you want to win the war.

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ZA Perana
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Re: Enthusiast Car Import Regulations

Post by ZA Perana » Wed 28 Dec 2016, 16:59

For the LHD debate is a large part of why classic car values in SA are what they are, what is here is here and there is nothing more being imported due to
1: cannot import LDH
2: import duties are far too high.

The argument of protecting local industry doesn't hold much water because lets face it, how much local motoring industry is there really. Would 10 Mustangs really kill that industry, I think not.

For me the issue is this. So long as cars like the Renault Kwid, Datsun GO are sold in SA then I see no reason why LHD cars cannot be imported. Someone using a LHD car one a month poses far less of a danger than someone commuting in either of the above, both of which don't have ABS.

I don't really see much point in high import tariffs on classic/exotic cars because they wont ever be volume imports and the fact one cannot sell within 3 years of importing should dissuade dealers from doing mass imports.

I would like to see far more stringent regulation in terms of exporting of classic cars, especially when I see people on gumtree lining up old Fords to export. Is tax being paid on those profits, is the money being brought back into SA. There are many things that need to be looked at here in my opinion.
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Re: Enthusiast Car Import Regulations

Post by zahistorics » Wed 28 Dec 2016, 23:36

The problem is engineering any new rules very, very carefully so that they cannot be used for other purposes.

Unless you make a very old age limit, you risk opening the doors to the world's scrap. There are plenty of very cheap (like scrap value), viable twenty year or even older cars that you could very easily sell as consumer cars in ZA.

You don't want to go there, all you will do is dramatically age the overall vehicle population with the associated declines in safety and air quality.

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ZA Perana
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Re: Enthusiast Car Import Regulations

Post by ZA Perana » Thu 29 Dec 2016, 17:16

zahistorics wrote:The problem is engineering any new rules very, very carefully so that they cannot be used for other purposes.

Unless you make a very old age limit, you risk opening the doors to the world's scrap. There are plenty of very cheap (like scrap value), viable twenty year or even older cars that you could very easily sell as consumer cars in ZA.

You don't want to go there, all you will do is dramatically age the overall vehicle population with the associated declines in safety and air quality.
The problem is the door is open to moderns as mentioned above which in some respects are little better than 20 year old cars. Agreed the rules would need to be carefully worded but I do think charging excessive duty on bona fide classic cars is senseless overall.
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Re: Enthusiast Car Import Regulations

Post by IndianaJones » Fri 30 Dec 2016, 10:56

I get where you’re coming from John, safety should be a big concern to anyone, and I thank you for joining the conversation and please share your other thoughts as well. But we are talking about a very small percentage of cars on the road. It is not like one would ask for any type of LHD car’s application to be granted. If it is so dangerous to have both types of steering, on the same stretch of road, how come it is possible to have the huge traffic flow between Britain and mainland Europe? I get though that this isn’t very open minded people one would have to deal with, but similar to Jacques, I think there has to be something done, in the way of the LHD issue. It will certainly not be easy, in fact one might have to shower the authorities with facts and statistics. So in due course one might have to obtain statistics on the percentage/number of accidents attributed to LHD vehicles in Britain, or RHD vehicles in mainland Europe. And yes, engineering the rules would be very difficult, keeping out the scrap is an issue, thus there probably still have to be a panel to decide on whether the car has value, and is in fact an enthusiast car, thus my original question 3.

Just from a practical viewpoint, if one were able to get really deep into this “fight”, I thinking/hoping it’s going to come down to a negotiation, whereby one would have to start with really big demands, and perhaps concede some as the negotiations progress. One could even make other types of concessions, for instance, having a special LHD drivers’ licence code, for motorists wishing to drive a LHD car. The accepted modus operandi is to take another test to ride a motorcycle, or drive a heavy truck, why not a LHD car.

From Jacques’ argument I notice that you are in favour of the “no sale for X period” regulation, and I think most enthusiast would agree to that, you are after all wanting to import, in most cases your dream car, and would want to hang on to it.

Unfortunately exports of classic cars isn’t hurting the country in any other way than historical value, which isn’t high on the scale of importance for the lawmakers, in my mind, it’s not an economic or safety issue. I’m not sure how exports can be regulated much differently, if SARS isn’t getting their due share of the sales, I think they can at any moment launch an investigation into any exporter.

Jacques also touch on too high import duties, my issue isn’t so much with this. I think, if I had the money I would pay for the privilege to have that special car, just at the moment you aren’t even getting that opportunity. But in any case, and I hope someone with import experience can chip in here, since understanding all costs involved are difficult to get a straight answer on. My understanding is that in cases where import approval was granted, you would pay a 25% import duty; 14% VAT calculated on the Value of the car, plus 10%, plus a non-rebated duty percentage; and an environmental levy. Not sure where Ad Valorem fits in? And I think these percentages are charged on all cars, not just classic cars. Is this correct, did I leave anything out?
You would probably always have to pay Ad Valorem tax, as classic cars are luxury items. So which do you consider excessive, and what would be fair?

On another note, it would really be great to get some support from local motoring magazines and journalists, but they run the risk of being blackballed by the manufacturers. How does one rally up some support, especially from people in positions that carry some weight? There has to be car enthusiasts among the company heads and politicians, which would support updating the regulations.

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Shaughn
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Re: Enthusiast Car Import Regulations

Post by Shaughn » Fri 30 Dec 2016, 12:27

What about these guys, http://ustrucks.co.za/

As i understand they are importing LHD and converting to RHD.
So it seems the LHD option is possible, could explain their 1 Bar price tags. Keen to know what they do to get around it or if the importing RHD from Oz ?

See here http://ustrucks.co.za/about-us-trucks-south-africa

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ZA Perana
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Re: Enthusiast Car Import Regulations

Post by ZA Perana » Fri 30 Dec 2016, 15:51

IndianaJones wrote:I get where you’re coming from John, safety should be a big concern to anyone, and I thank you for joining the conversation and please share your other thoughts as well. But we are talking about a very small percentage of cars on the road. It is not like one would ask for any type of LHD car’s application to be granted. If it is so dangerous to have both types of steering, on the same stretch of road, how come it is possible to have the huge traffic flow between Britain and mainland Europe? I get though that this isn’t very open minded people one would have to deal with, but similar to Jacques, I think there has to be something done, in the way of the LHD issue. It will certainly not be easy, in fact one might have to shower the authorities with facts and statistics. So in due course one might have to obtain statistics on the percentage/number of accidents attributed to LHD vehicles in Britain, or RHD vehicles in mainland Europe. And yes, engineering the rules would be very difficult, keeping out the scrap is an issue, thus there probably still have to be a panel to decide on whether the car has value, and is in fact an enthusiast car, thus my original question 3.

Just from a practical viewpoint, if one were able to get really deep into this “fight”, I thinking/hoping it’s going to come down to a negotiation, whereby one would have to start with really big demands, and perhaps concede some as the negotiations progress. One could even make other types of concessions, for instance, having a special LHD drivers’ licence code, for motorists wishing to drive a LHD car. The accepted modus operandi is to take another test to ride a motorcycle, or drive a heavy truck, why not a LHD car.

From Jacques’ argument I notice that you are in favour of the “no sale for X period” regulation, and I think most enthusiast would agree to that, you are after all wanting to import, in most cases your dream car, and would want to hang on to it.

Unfortunately exports of classic cars isn’t hurting the country in any other way than historical value, which isn’t high on the scale of importance for the lawmakers, in my mind, it’s not an economic or safety issue. I’m not sure how exports can be regulated much differently, if SARS isn’t getting their due share of the sales, I think they can at any moment launch an investigation into any exporter.

Jacques also touch on too high import duties, my issue isn’t so much with this. I think, if I had the money I would pay for the privilege to have that special car, just at the moment you aren’t even getting that opportunity. But in any case, and I hope someone with import experience can chip in here, since understanding all costs involved are difficult to get a straight answer on. My understanding is that in cases where import approval was granted, you would pay a 25% import duty; 14% VAT calculated on the Value of the car, plus 10%, plus a non-rebated duty percentage; and an environmental levy. Not sure where Ad Valorem fits in? And I think these percentages are charged on all cars, not just classic cars. Is this correct, did I leave anything out?
You would probably always have to pay Ad Valorem tax, as classic cars are luxury items. So which do you consider excessive, and what would be fair?

On another note, it would really be great to get some support from local motoring magazines and journalists, but they run the risk of being blackballed by the manufacturers. How does one rally up some support, especially from people in positions that carry some weight? There has to be car enthusiasts among the company heads and politicians, which would support updating the regulations.
A very well thought out post.

I did the sums on importing a Ferrari 308 from the UK and in reality you are looking at the cost of the car plus 60% to bring the car in once all duties and VAT has been accounted for and when you factor in the ZAR it just becomes unviable. Its this and this alone which has lead to huge prices for classic cars in SA, you want it you pay for it because you cant bring one in. Thus sellers can pretty much ask what they like.

Whether this is right or wrong is very much a matter of opinion but I do believe slackening the import rules would allow for a much more competitive market place.

On the last point, watch this space because I am hearing that there are people taking proposals to government...
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Re: Enthusiast Car Import Regulations

Post by zahistorics » Fri 30 Dec 2016, 19:25

My point about LHD and classic imports is:

LHD a sore point with the government, and hasn't been helped by the actions and language of many so called enthusiasts. Last time there was a huge hoo ha and it went to parliament, it was all a lot unnecessary fuss and bother about a simple harmonisation of the regulations, and failure to understand that, nothing more. Nevertheless the whole unseemly exercise generated a lot of ill will, which still lingers today.

So, rather (first) work on a reasonable regime for importing (RHD) classic cars. That takes all of the unnecessary heat about LHD completely out of the equation, and leads to easier negotiations.

Then after you have cracked open the doors and got a system running, have a look at getting special dispensations for LHD cars.

I would rather have some classic car imports, than having no classic car imports because things were stuffed up by an insistence on including LHD cars.

If it is so dangerous to have both types of steering, on the same stretch of road, how come it is possible to have the huge traffic flow between Britain and mainland Europe?
In terms of percentages there is no 'huge' traffic flow between the two. The numbers are tiny.

In terms of danger there are two issues:

1. It is unbelievably easy to get distracted and confused about which side of the road you should be on especially when pulling away and when leaving junctions, I see it a lot of the time. Does not apply to the import to ZA scenario.

2. Steering wheel on the wrong side for the road you are driving on. Huge visibility issues. You cannot see on coming traffic at skew junctions and on merge lanes. Difficult to see oncoming traffic on roundabouts. Massive overtaking risks. The all do apply to the ZA scenario. Especially the overtaking. ZA as a driving nation is pretty rubbish as a nation at having many overtaking accidents, even in RHD cars.

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Re: Enthusiast Car Import Regulations

Post by ZA Perana » Fri 30 Dec 2016, 19:54

zahistorics wrote:My point about LHD and classic imports is:

LHD a sore point with the government, and hasn't been helped by the actions and language of many so called enthusiasts. Last time there was a huge hoo ha and it went to parliament, it was all a lot unnecessary fuss and bother about a simple harmonisation of the regulations, and failure to understand that, nothing more. Nevertheless the whole unseemly exercise generated a lot of ill will, which still lingers today.

So, rather (first) work on a reasonable regime for importing (RHD) classic cars. That takes all of the unnecessary heat about LHD completely out of the equation, and leads to easier negotiations.

Then after you have cracked open the doors and got a system running, have a look at getting special dispensations for LHD cars.

I would rather have some classic car imports, than having no classic car imports because things were stuffed up by an insistence on including LHD cars.

If it is so dangerous to have both types of steering, on the same stretch of road, how come it is possible to have the huge traffic flow between Britain and mainland Europe?
In terms of percentages there is no 'huge' traffic flow between the two. The numbers are tiny.

In terms of danger there are two issues:

1. It is unbelievably easy to get distracted and confused about which side of the road you should be on especially when pulling away and when leaving junctions, I see it a lot of the time. Does not apply to the import to ZA scenario.

2. Steering wheel on the wrong side for the road you are driving on. Huge visibility issues. You cannot see on coming traffic at skew junctions and on merge lanes. Difficult to see oncoming traffic on roundabouts. Massive overtaking risks. The all do apply to the ZA scenario. Especially the overtaking. ZA as a driving nation is pretty rubbish as a nation at having many overtaking accidents, even in RHD cars.
Agreed on many points. Very well places sources have brought it to my attention that the stance on LHD is slackening to a point and a certain degree of common sense is now being used, be it cars allowed to be driven in SA temporarily for a period of time.

The risks with LHD are there, I have driven LHD cars in SA and honesty hated the experience for all the reasons you mention in point 2. As you rightly mention importing and LHD are separate issues.

Id like to see duties reduced on imports because in all honestly how many classic cars are imported anyway, its hardly in the thousands. Reduce duty to 15% , add VAT of 14% and that to me would be fair for RHD cars. The whole whoo ha about LHD dates back to 1998-99 when I believe certain sectors complained about what a flood of LHD cars might do to their local market.

I feel nothing for manufactures in SA, their right to be protected to me is moot seeing as they obtain massive government subsidies from the Motor Industry Development plan, thus this extra protection is to me overkill. Once again how many cars are actually manufactured in SA. The vast majority are imported.
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