Grey area with grey imports

The State’s peak motoring body has warned drivers in the market for a used car to be aware of the drawbacks of purchasing a grey import.

RACQ Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said the Club’s Motoring Advice Hotline had received a number of inquiries about grey import cars in recent weeks.

“Grey imports are typically cars that were originally sold into a different market, often Japan because like Australia it’s a right hand drive market, and they come to Australia as used cars,” Mr Spalding said.

“They’re generally familiar brands, but the model designations will often be different to what was sold here.

“Some buyers find the lower price attractive, while others are looking for something that’s a bit different, or is a higher performance model that was never sold here.

“While these cars are legally allowed to be sold in Australia, they can have some significant disadvantages and potential buyers need to go into these purchases with their eyes open.”

Mr Spalding said while some grey importers and even some new car dealers were able to source replacement parts, there could be lengthy delays in getting them to Australia.

“That can be costly and inconvenient if you’re relying on the vehicle for everyday transport, and you may even find that some repairers are reluctant to take on a grey import because of parts supply and service information issues,” he said.

Mr Spalding said if buyers were looking at purchasing one, it was important they did their research and investigated replacement part supply and access to service information.

“Because the car comes from overseas, there is no way of checking its service history, so it’s worth getting someone you trust to conduct a thorough inspection,” he said.

“Insurance coverage can be another issue as some insurers won’t accept models that were not sold here new.”

Concerned buyers could book an RACQ Vehicle Inspection or ask an experienced mechanic to check over any potential purchase.