Toyota New Zealand CEO Neeraj Lala has backed the government’s decision to delay the rollout of the Clean Car Discount’s second round by three months, noting that the added time could provide more opportunities for discussions on how to meet targets.
“At a high level we seek to understand the purpose of the Bill and to achieve a realistic transition to low and zero emitting transport against a timeline that is commensurate with global production and supply plans,” says Lala.
“Equally we must ensure a just transition that provides equitable access to mobility for all. It’s critical everyday New Zealanders can access reliable, affordable, and safe vehicles for the betterment of society.
“Our long-term goal is the decarbonisation of the transport sector. The Clean Vehicle Bill, in its current state, does set some steep hurdles for the industry.”
Toyota’s global position on reducing emissions has always, controversially to some, included hybrid technology and hydrogen technology; a contrast to most car-makers who are positioning to only offer battery electric vehicles in future.
Lala reiterated this point in the release, saying: “It is going to take a combination of highly-efficient petrol, diesel, hybrids, battery electric and even hydrogen engines for New Zealand’s fleet to achieve our low carbon targets.”
These comments come after a scathing press release was issued by the Motor Industry Association last week, detailing a host of issues the group (which represents the country’s distributor list) had with the final form of the Land Transport Amendment Bill. Lala’s words indicate that the delay might be used to negotiate more achievable emissions regulations.
The Clean Car Discount’s second round is set to introduce discounts for low-emission pure internal combustion vehicles and hybrids, while simultaneously introducing levies for high-emission vehicles. This will see Toyota’s hybrid offerings, and efficient pure petrol platforms like the Yaris and Corolla get a discount, while also pinging the likes of the Toyota Hilux.
The chief executive also touched on his marque’s supply issues prompted by ongoing overseas Covid-19 lockdowns. “We are experiencing significant delivery delays due to COVID’s impact on production, so this delay gives us a chance to catch up,” he said.
“As ever, our customer relations are incredibly important to us so we will be contacting customers who are waiting for a new vehicle and will work with them on the implications of the change to the rebate and fee start date.
“We empathise with the Government and its decision to delay the Bill. There is a fine balance between encouraging low carbon-emitting vehicle purchases and accepting the realities of the current global supply chain issues. However, allowing more time for a transition to rebalance our portfolios is critical and it creates a level playing field for all vehicle importers.”