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Nissan GT-R ‘grey’ imports go ahead

Fast arrival: Delays with the factory imports has opened the door to low-volume compliance companies.

Nissan's awesome new GT-R will soon be here, six months ahead of the official launch

Nissan logo21 Aug 2008

CAR compliance workshops that normally deal with small volumes of used Japanese enthusiast cars have beaten Nissan Australia in getting the import and compliance approval for Nissan’s most exclusive car ever, the GT-R R35.

While Nissan’s official imports are not due to arrive (at selected local Nissan dealers) until March/April next year, the first of the low-volume compliance R35 GT-Rs will be on the roads within weeks.

Two independent used import workshops gained approval this week - GT Compliance Pty Ltd in NSW and RAWS Compliance Pty Ltd in Queensland - and a third is due to join them in a matter of days.

These workshops have applied for and gained approval from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, which allows each of them to comply 25 GT-Rs each under the low-volume import scheme.

RAWS Compliance director Bruce Gearing will not say how many of his 25 GT-R R35 compliance plates already have customers, but said “there has been quite a lot of interest”.

While unwilling to nominate how much the approval process has cost, Mr Gearing implied that the investment has not been cheap: “A lot of money has been expended in the last six months.”

 center imageMr Gearing’s compliance car, already in Australia, will be on the roads fully registered soon. “It shouldn’t be more than a couple of weeks”, he said.

Geoff Risbey, manager of Prestige Motorsport and a Japanese car import broker since 1999, advised customers by email this week that the new GT-R was available for importation.

“The workshops will … be limited to new vehicles manufactured before the date Nissan Australia was approved,” Mr Risbey wrote.

“Clearly, new GT-Rs meeting the build date criteria will only be available for a relatively short time and over time will cease to be available at all. So this should be seen as a very limited window of opportunity.”

Mr Risbey said that, through a contact in Nissan Japan, he could conceivably provide a customer with a cancelled-order GTR purchased in Japan, shipped and complied “in 12 weeks, perhaps sooner”.

He estimates an on-road price of $135,000 for a new GT-R, but Mr Gearing said he believes that “those costs are unrealistically low.” He estimates the final cost to be in the order of $165,000 to $185,000.

Nissan Australia marketing manager Ross Booth told GoAuto in March that, “under the SEVs scheme, we have already registered this car as being a full official import, so therefore it cannot be registered through this used import scheme”.

Clearly there have been unexpected changes in circumstances surrounding the GT-R in the intervening months.

This week, Nissan’s corporate communications manager, Jeff Fisher, told us that Nissan Australia is aware of the low-volume import situation and that “we are working with the authorities to minimise that activity”.

There has been an embarrassing hold-up for Nissan, as it works on getting the full-volume compliance for the GT-R. It has been held-up, according to Mr Fisher, by “detailed information we’re looking for from Japan” and that “these things are not unexpected in pre-production prior to launch”.

Mr Fisher admits “it is a less than perfect situation” but Nissan “is taking steps to minimise the impact in the medium-term”.

While it is not confirmed by either Nissan or the workshops involved, it has been suggested that Nissan Japan is experiencing delays meeting Australian/European emissions standards approval for the GT-R.

The low-volume import GT-Rs have been tested and passed the emissions requirements locally.

Mr Fisher says that Nissan is advising potential customers that these low-volume imports are “an inadvisable and unknown purchase and we advise against” buying them.

He said that some workshops “are finding new ways of interpreting the law, enterprising individuals who have ways and means of doing that”.

The GT-R official imports are due to arrive next March, according to Mr Fisher, “dependent on production slot”. One evaluation vehicle will arrive at Nissan Australia headquarters in the coming weeks.

Read more:

Nissan GT-R smashes own Nurburgring record

No grey Nissan GT-Rs

GT-R fever in Japan thwarts Aussie release

First drive: All hail the new Godzilla

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