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After caving-in to reporting its data two years ago – following years of secrecy – Tesla will stop submitting its sales figures to the car industry’s monthly reports.


Tesla will cease monthly reporting of its new-car sales data to scorekeepers from the middle of this year after it left the peak body for car companies in Australia over its “demonstrably false” claims about emissions targets.

It will make it more difficult for consumers – as well as policymakers in Canberra currently drafting legislation to boost uptake for zero-emissions vehicles – to determine the true demand for electric cars in Australia.

Tesla today announced it would cease to be a member of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) due to “false” claims made by the organisation about the impact of new-car emissions targets on vehicle prices.

It will bring to an end the reporting of Tesla’s new-vehicle deliveries to VFACTS, monthly reports collated by the FCAI which are used in the auto industry as the official source of new-car sales data.

Tesla said it will continue to report its data until the end of the financial year – 30 June 2024 – to “ensure continuity of public reporting of vehicle trends including electric vehicle uptake.”

It is unclear if Tesla will voluntarily publish its sales data through other means. Drive has attempted to contact the company for comment.

Only members of the FCAI are able to submit their sales data to VFACTS reports – which are based primarily on information shared by car companies, rather than registration figures.

Tesla has long been a member of the FCAI but only began reporting its sales data to VFACTS in March 2022 after a long-running feud between the US car giant and the peak motoring body.

The Canberra Times reported in 2022 – as covered by Drive at the time – that Tesla could avoid paying higher FCAI membership fees based on how many vehicles it sells, if it simply did not report its sales data.

“(Tesla) has to pay the lobbyists’ fees on the basis of vehicles declared as sold, and this would potentially cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars for effectively very little in return,” wrote The Canberra Times journalist Peter Brewer, who held a senior position at the FCAI before returning to journalism.

Prior to reporting to VFACTS, Tesla sales data had to be sourced through registration figures held by state and territory authorities, but it would often take weeks or months to obtain.

At the start of 2022 Tesla was found to have reported inflated sales data via the Electric Vehicle Council of Australia, days after Drive published more accurate data collated from government registration figures.

It comes as the Federal Government prepares to introduce emissions targets for new cars – known as the New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES) – intended to boost the uptake of electric vehicles.

Tesla claims the FCAI “has engaged in behaviours that are likely to mislead or deceive Australian consumers,” and that it is “inappropriate for the FCAI to foreshadow or coordinate whether and how competitor brands implement price changes in response” to emissions rules.

Among the claims made by the FCAI is the implication that prices of Tesla electric cars would decrease in price by up to $15,940 under the rules, figures the car giant calls “falsehoods, produced without Tesla’s knowledge or approval.”

“The FCAI purports to represent the automotive industry. Tesla is an FCAI member and is represented on the Board of Directors,” the Tesla letter to the FCAI reads.

“An Australian consumer would reasonably conclude that the FCAI has knowledge and authority in claiming that Tesla vehicles will be discounted
under NVES as claimed. Yet these figures are falsehoods, produced without Tesla’s knowledge or approval.

“These misleading claims are likely to have commercial implications. A reasonable consumer would conclude that the FCAI is reflecting its members’ plans to make significant changes to vehicle prices next year under NVES; or that the NVES will directly fine or incentivise consumers by the claimed amounts.”

Tesla has also accused the FCAI of cherry-picking the least efficient variants of top-selling models when making claims about potential price rises due to fines for not meeting the emissions targets – as well as not understanding how the standards will work.

“FCAI’s claims appear to be based on a simplistic and false calculation: where a vehicle (or a selectively chosen variant of the vehicle) is over or under its mass-adjusted CO2 target under proposed standards, the FCAI multiply this difference by $100 per gram of CO2, which is the proposed penalty price,” it said.

“The FCAI then claims this will be the price increase or decrease for consumers. This is not how the NVES works.”

The car maker’s full letter to the FCAI – shared on social media by Tesla Australia Senior Manager, Business Development and Policy Sam McLean – is available here.

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Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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