New Zealand does not have a car manufacturing plant. The country depends on imports of new cars and used cars for their domestic market. New Zealand has a thriving used car market and one of the preferred cars is Suzuki Swift.
Reliability, durability and affordability are some of the key reasons why used Swift cars are preferred in New Zealand. However, these may soon be taken off the roads, as New Zealand government is planning to ban used cars that do not meet safety standards.
As per current safety norms in New Zealand, 2011 to 2016 model Swift cars have received one star safety rating. The government plans to stop imports of all cars (used and new) that have one or two star safety rating.
However, Suzuki does not seem to agree with the government’s proposal. The company said that it is wrong to apply existing safety norms to old cars. Suzuki said that all Swift models including 2011 models had the highest possible safety rating when they were launched.
Also, all new Swift cars imported in New Zealand have ANCAP safety rating of 4 and above. Safety ratings for used cars are based on real life crash data, whereas new cars are rated based on globally accepted ANCAP system.
Meanwhile, Motor Industry Association of New Zealand has welcomed the government’s proposal. They even said that these used cars are Japan’s scraps that are being dumped in New Zealand, as a means of waste disposal. The New Zealand government is expected to follow a two-pronged approach to prevent use of cars with low safety rating.
Firstly, imports of such cars will be curbed and secondly, the process of removing existing unsafe cars will be expedited. New Zealand government will also have to ensure availability of other affordable alternatives, as a large number of people depend on such cars.
As per new safety norms, three of the top five used cars could be banned by the government. Swift is the second most popular used car, whereas Toyota Corolla and Mazda Demio rank fourth and fifth. Pre-2016 Swift models, pre-2008 Toyota Corolla, and all Mazda Demio models will no longer be imported in New Zealand.