Australian RAWS update
In May 2003 we first reported that a new set of regulations had been introduced in Australia which had effectively stopped Aussie enthusiasts importing RV8s. Gavin Brown, who runs the MG Car Centre in Launceston Tasmania, provides an update. (Sep 04)

In May 2003 we reported "that sadly Australian buyers have had to stop buying RV8s at auctions in Japan because of new import regulations introduced in Australia. Almost all RV8s at auction in Tokyo will either go back into the market in Japan or find their way back to the UK or possibly mainland Europe. It is likely to be good news for UK buyers as Australian buyers were paying good money for RV8s at auction, so over the coming months there could be some bargains to be had". It is clear the reduced demand for RV8s from Australian bidders at auction has had the effect of moderating RV8 prices at auction in Japan, although in recent months it seems prices are drifting up. So understanding how the RAWS requirements are progressing in Australia and when they might end is important in judging when Australian bidders might be back in the market at auctions in Japan.

In September 2004 Gavin Brown provided a report as a RAWS update. The Australian RAWS/SEVS scheme is not a temporary measure, but more a "raising of the bar" for private vehicle imports and an attempt by the Government to reduce the amount of grey vehicle imports coming in to the country. Effectively what this means is that the requirements are now much harder when importing a vehicle that is under 15 years old and vehicles have to meet the Australian Design Rules (ADRs). Just a side note on that point is I feel the Government is about to cease the "open slather 15 year import rule" which allowed cars 15 years or older to be freely imported.

only one person we know of is applying to receive accreditation to import the RV8 model, and we have been helping where possible

The current RAWS situation is that only one person we know of is applying to receive accreditation to import the RV8 model and we have been helping where possible. The cost and effort that has had to go into the new system is incredible, it is not only that you have to get the car to meet a certain standard (SEVS), but you also need to get your workshop carrying out the conformity work upgraded to meet a high level standard. The workshop must be quality assured with regular tests - every electrical lead and power tool must be tested for safety and much more.

As far as complying the car goes the things that need to be tested are also extraordinary - an
example of quite how extraordinary the tests are is that the spring in the glove box lock must be tested for strength and must exceed a certain standard. Apparently the idea is that if the car is involved in a head on collision, the inertia of the crash must not overcome the tension in the spring allowing the glove box lock to release thus opening the lid and causing potential injury to the passenger! The glove box lid also had to be tested for strength in case of impact.

All imported cars must, amongst other things, have new cats fitted (nothing new there for us) but even the charcoal canisters in the engine bay must be replaced for emission requirements with evidence that has been and kept for auditing procedures.

biggest hurdle to meet the compliance requirements that has been overcome was fitting intrusion bars in the doors

The biggest hurdle to meet the compliance requirements that has been overcome was fitting intrusion bars in the doors. The old set-up under the low volume import vehicle scheme required a single intrusion bar fitted with no physical testing ever being done, just a mathematical calculation. Now three intrusion bars have been fitted to the doors as well as the American MGB claw that is affixed inside the shut-face below the door catch. Once fitted, this new set-up had to be impact tested which meant that a previously written-off car was transported to Melbourne and subjected to a large weight being punched in to the side of the door. Of course the door had to be complete, so this meant that it had to have the window glass in it, regulator, handles, interior trim and fittings all of which were then destroyed in the test which might I add wasn't cheap. Effectively this has seen a large cost outlay to satisfy these requirements which will need to be recouped from whatever volume of cars will subsequently come into the country. There are still some minor tests to be carried out and a lot of paper work to be finalised and, once this has been done, the paperwork must be presented to the Federal Office of Road Safety to see whether they accept the application - there is still no guarantee!

earliest hope for RV8 approval is March 2005

At this stage the earliest hope for RV8 approval is March 2005 so the other parts of the World have relief from Australian buyers for at least another six months. Gavin ends with "I hope that this information has been of some use to fellow and prospective RV8 owners".

See the entry for the MG Car Centre in Launceston Tasmania in the RV8 specialists listing on the V8 Website and in the Contents and Index document available on the V8 Website and on the RV8 Workshop Notes CD.