Tesla Australia quits FCAI over claims that group is misleading consumers

(Credit: Esther Kokkelman)

Tesla Australia has announced its intentions to quit the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the principal organization representing car companies in the country, over claims that the group was misleading consumers. Tesla is an active member of FCAI and is represented on its board, but as per a letter to the group, the EV maker noted that it would cease to become a member at the end of the 23/24 financial year.

In a letter to the FCAI, Tesla cited concerns about “false and misleading” claims that were made by the lobby group. The letter elaborated on Tesla’s belief that the FCAI had misled consumers about potential price increases associated with the New Vehicle Efficiency Scheme (NVES).

“Over the past three weeks, Tesla considers that the FCAI has repeatedly made claims that are demonstrably false. Tesla is concerned that the FCAI has engaged in behaviors that are likely to mislead or deceive Australian consumers. Tesla is also concerned that it is inappropriate for the FCAI to foreshadow or coordinate whether and how competitor brands implement price changes in response to environmental regulations such as the NVES,” Tesla wrote in its letter. 

The FCAI has claimed that the NVES could lead to price hikes for some models, a sentiment that has been reflected in media reports. At the same time, graphics from media reports claimed that popular electric cars like the Tesla Model Y crossover and Tesla Model 3 sedan would see adjusted prices. Tesla noted in its letter that this was simply untrue. 

Apart from its criticism regarding the FCAI’s alleged false claims on vehicle prices, Tesla also noted that the group had been cherry-picking data to paint a narrative and that it was misrepresenting how standards work. Overall, Tesla noted that it is uncomfortable with the FCAI’s recent initiatives and thus will depart from the group. 

“As an industry association, the FCAI should be careful to not facilitate coordination among competitor companies about how they change prices or supply in response to regulations. Any impacts of NVES on vehicle prices – both up and down – are subject to complex competition and trade between competitors in both the vehicle market and the regulatory credit market. 

“Companies have several options in responding to the NVES, including adjusting product mix, adjusting volume, carrying debits and credits over several years, and negotiating trade of regulatory credits. When the FCAI makes blanket claims about how its members will change product prices, it risks facilitating or creating the impression of anti-competitive behavior. It is up to individual companies to set prices, and it is inappropriate for the FCAI to tell companies in private meetings or public commentary what any price changes will or should be or to suggest that these price changes are fixed and uniform,” Tesla wrote. 

Tesla’s letter to the FCAI can be viewed below. 

Tesla to FCAI 7 March by Simon Alvarez on Scribd

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Tesla Australia quits FCAI over claims that group is misleading consumers
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