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“Tesla Motors Australia, Pty Ltd (Tesla) writes to raise serious concerns about false and misleading public comments by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries regarding claimed price impacts on Tesla and other vehicles of New Vehicle Efficiency Standards (NVES) proposed by the Australian Government,” the letter states.

“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 behaviours that are likely to mislead or deceive Australian consumers.”

Tesla, built into a global powerhouse by founder Elon Musk, said it would ask the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to consider the issues.

The FCAI was not immediately available for comment.

Tesla has asked the FCAI to “issue timely public corrections to these false claims, including a clear acknowledgement that several of the claims the FCAI has made about vehicle price changes do not accurately reflect what car companies intend to do”.

The letter from Tesla said it will end its membership of the FCAI at June 30. Until then, it will continue to report sales numbers through the chamber’s VFACTs monthly sales figures “to ensure continuity of public reporting of vehicle trends including electric vehicle uptake”.

Tesla in early 2022 agreed for the first time to supply its monthly sales figures to the FCAI for its monthly overall snapshot of the market.

Mr Drew’s letter said an Australian consumer would reasonably conclude
the FCAI has knowledge and authority in claiming that Tesla vehicles will be discounted under the emissions scheme proposal.

But the figures were “falsehoods”, produced without Tesla’s knowledge or approval.

“These misleading claims are likely to have commercial implications,” it says. “If consumers believe the FCAI’s false claims that electric vehicles are about to reduce in price by as much as 25 per cent next year, many will conclude they should avoid purchasing one now.”

The letter states that “such impending price changes would also have immediate commercial implications for current EV owners including fleet operators for whom residual vehicle values are very material”.

“Similarly, if consumers believe that the FCAI truly speaks for car companies when claiming that more polluting vehicles will increase by as much as $13,000 next year, they may rush to purchase the most inefficient vehicles in anticipation of soaring resale values.”

Tesla also accused the FCAI of misrepresenting the financial penalties car companies might be facing.

“Individual vehicles do not accrue penalties, but rather accrue debits or credits. Car companies only face penalties if they have more debits than credits across all vehicle sales for a year.”

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber on Wednesday said overseas carmakers made decisions at a global level, and could choose to withdraw from Australia because the make-up of their product range would be penalised too harshly.

“We have a history here of brands leaving the marketplace,” Mr Weber said.

He pointed to Holden disappearing as a new vehicle brand after US parent General Motors initially shut down car manufacturing in 2017 at Elizabeth in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, and then in 2020 decided to scrap the Holden brand entirely.

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