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Toyota misses call to show carbon tax savings

Smoke signals: because it absorbed the $115 carbon tax price rise, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says Toyota did not need to show how it had passed on savings made from the carbon tax’s repeal.

Decision to absorb carbon tax removes Toyota from competition watchdog scrutiny

8 Aug 2014

Updated: 11/08/2014TOYOTA Australia says it will not need to show the competition watchdog how it will roll back the cost of the carbon tax because it never passed the extra cost onto buyers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) confirmed today that the car-making giant – the only one of Australia’s three remaining automotive manufacturers to feature in a list of more than 250 of the nation’s highest polluters, would not need to show that the tax – which added $115 to the cost of every car it made – had been returned to buyers.

The advice contradicts information supplied to GoAuto late last week that said the car-maker was in line to receive a notice from the ACCC asking it to show it had rolled back the tax.

“While Toyota is a supplier of regulated goods it will not be receiving a substantiation notice from the ACCC as it is does not fit within the categories required by the legislation – i.e. it is not a bulk importer of a synthetic greenhouse gas that sells synthetic greenhouse gasses to customers,” the ACCC said.

“However, the ACCC will continue to monitor prices in key sectors of the economy to ensure that after the repeal of the carbon tax all cost savings by businesses will be passed through to consumers as part of the normal competitive process.”

The consumer watchdog was asked to monitor prices of goods and services in the wake of last month’s repeal of the carbon tax, and sent out its first batch of substantiation notices asking companies to show they had removed the impost of the tax from prices.

Toyota Australia media and external affairs manager Beck Angel said the ACCC’s suggestion that the car-maker had to comply with a substantiation notice had caught it by surprise.

“We never charged our customers (for the carbon tax),” Ms Angel said. “The ACCC is not contacting us, because they know we didn’t pass it on.”

Toyota revealed shortly after the carbon tax was introduced that the scheme would add another $115 in cost to each four-cylinder Camry, Camry Hybrid and V6-engined Aurion rolling off its Altona production line.

The amount that the car-maker paid in carbon tax credits became a political football in the lead-up to last year’s federal election, which saw the party responsible for the scheme replaced by the Tony Abbott-led coalition – a harsh critic of the tax.

Toyota has been Australia’s largest vehicle exporter, sending up to 80,000 left-hand-drive Camrys a year to the Middle East, as well as casting four-cylinder engines to feed Toyota’s Asian factories.

It announced early this year that it would follow Ford and Holden in quitting Australian manufacturing, setting a late 2017 deadline, after a strong Australian dollar and rising costs made it too expensive to build cars here.

It had previously said it needed to cut about $3800 in costs from its locally made vehicles to remain viable.

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