ACCC launches market study into new car retailing industry

17 June 2016

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is commencing a market study into the new car retailing industry in Australia.

The study will focus on competition and consumer issues that may be present in the industry.

“A new car is a significant purchase for consumers and more than 1 million new cars are sold in Australia each year. Consumer issues arising in relation to new car retailing is a priority area for the ACCC,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

The market study will be informed by a range of enforcement, education and research projects focussing on four key areas:

  • Compliance with consumer guarantees obligations and the ability of consumers to enforce their rights
  • False, misleading and deceptive practices in performance, fuel efficiency, fuel consumption and emissions
  • The effect on competition and consumers of post-sale care arrangements (such as servicing)
  • Whether consumers and businesses could be affected by any restrictions on vehicle access to data

“The ACCC and other Australian Consumer Law agencies continue to receive a high volume of complaints from consumers about defects with vehicles, covering a broad spectrum of manufacturers. These complaints reveal that many consumers are having difficulty enforcing their consumer guarantee rights, which are in addition to the warranties provided by manufacturers,” Mr Sims said.

“Following the Fiat Chrysler Australia (Jeep) investigation, the ACCC is considering concerns about compliance with the consumer guarantee provisions in the motor vehicle industry more generally, and is looking at complaints and practices of specific brands,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC has investigations into the car retailing industry underway, including into the Volkswagen emission issues.

The market study will also review industry practices in the sector to assist in identifying risks to consumers and the competitive process.

“Market studies are an important complement to the ACCC’s compliance and enforcement activities. The ACCC published several studies in the past year and has new market studies underway, including into the cattle and beef sector and regional petrol markets,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC will be seeking information from the public to inform its study as well as through collecting data through surveys.

The ACCC will release an issues paper later this year which will provide detailed information on the scope of the study and invite written submissions from the public.

A draft report of findings will be released in the first quarter of 2017.

Parties can register interest in being contacted about the study at newcars@accc.gov.au.

Release number: 
MR 107/16
ACCC Infocentre: 

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Media enquiries: 
Media team - 1300 138 917

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