Consumer Protection Provisions of the ACL
Holden is one of Australia’s trusted companies, manufacturing and producing automotive. Founded in 1856, Motors-Holden’s Ltd, officially became a subsidiary of General Motors taking up the name Motors-Holden’s Ltd commonly known as Holden Ltd, and officially adopted the name in 2005. It has its headquarters in Port Melbourne (Arrowsmith & Zangalis 1965). The company designs, builds and produces automobiles for both Australia and the rest of the world with a representation of over 230 dealers nationally. In total, the company produces 44 different models for the local Australian market and exports. For the local market, the company produces the Sports Wagon, Caprice luxury cars, and the popular Commodore sedans. The company began the production of the Cruze, a fuel-efficient car that has seen the company grow its production, design, and sales in small vehicle manufacturing. The production of the SS, a powerful V8 high-performance sedan saw it return its strong marketing campaigns to the United States. The SS V6 has much of its market target in South Korea, Europe, Mexico, and China. The company’s design expression hinges on centering on the customer’s needs, particulars, taste, and designs much to helping the customer express themselves through and by the car of their choice.
Most of the companies 3.6, 3.0, and 2.8-liter variants are produced in Port Melbourne, Victoria, a serious state of the art production unit that focuses on the top of the range automobiles such as the Chevrolet Camaro and Holden Commodore. According to Arrowsmith & Zangalis, the facility is renowned for its sleek, high-tech designs and for its global concept automobiles (1965). The company is one of General Motors subsidiary centers with the ability to build, design, and come up with automobiles from scratch to high-tech fabrication. The Buick Avenir is one of the latest design concept cars produced by the company. Other design concept cars produced by the company also involve Coupe 60, Torana GTR-X, and the Hurricane. Many other concept automobiles produced by the company are intended for international markets.
Comprising of a countrywide distribution center, global blueprint studio, and a countrywide sales corporation, the company continues to bear a significant presence in the country. With its strong grip on Lang Lang based group, in addition to the strong engineering network of professionals, the company has ensured that its automobiles perform well in both the local market and the global arena. According to Dawson, the company is committed to influencing General Motors worldwide portfolio as it endeavors to offer the best automobiles in the Australian market and the global market (2014). In its 2017 marketing focus, the company has its bearings set on retaining their design facility, increase selling and importing vehicles and improving on its presence in the country as the best automotive designer, seller, and customer oriented company. Dawson argues that despite the company’s poor financial performance in 2013, 2014, and 2015, due to the strong Australian currency, it decided to outline a raft of measures to keep its operations afloat with strong strategic plans in maintaining its presence in the automotive industry in Australia (2014).
Holden’s sales and market performance has been impressive considering its strong presence and unique local tastes of the locals. In 2007, the company posted impressive sales for passenger vehicles, utility cars, and light commercial cars. The total sales of these units totaled over 140,000. Their engine production remained almost constant at 136,000 during the period, a significant improvement as compared to previous years. Additionally, exports majorly to European nations for both engines and vehicles totaled 209,000 for the given period (Dawson 2014). However, the Middle East remains the country’s top most export market leading in sales of the Commodores and Chevrolet Caprice. The United States received mostly the Morano, although production of the vehicle was stopped in the same year due to unclear circumstances. The Chevrolet Caprice PPV was mainly sold to Noth America and meant for use by the police only. The company’s moves to global markets have seen improved revenue collection, improved profits, and expanded market base all over the European nations. The company has dealers all over the globe with its vehicles present in every continent apart from Antarctica. Although rumors and news surrounding the company, quitting production in 2017 is still unclear, the company’s consumer ratings and reviews continue to show impressive and positive feedback with a strong liking from customers of different social backgrounds. For example, Caprice received an overall average rating of 9.1, with comfort, build quality, and performance, receiving over 9.2 rating out of a possible top mark of 10.00. According to Dawson, the company confirmed quitting the Australian market, citing the strong Australian dollar, high production cost, high level of competition, negative impacts affecting the automotive industry, and the small domestic market (2014).
Consumer Protection Provisions of ACL
Simply referred to as the ACL, the Australian Consumer Laws are uniform laws that guide consumer protection, and apply as a law of the Commonwealth of Australia. The legislation is incorporated within the countries, territories, and states. According to Coroner, the legislation extends to goods and services acquired for private or business purpose, for instance, for commercial purpose (2013). It offers protection related to product safety, quality in regards to the area covered, and general business conduct. Additionally, Thampapillai et al., state that the legislation has its jurisdiction covering conducts outside the country by corporations undertaking businesses within Australia and with Australian citizens and or with individuals residing within Australia (2015). The legislation is enforced and administered by the State and Territory protection bodies and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Among other provisions as outlined in the state legislation, the protection agencies regulate the conduct of companies, supplies of services and goods by an individual to a company, and finally, the acquisition of services and goods from an individual of a company (Corones 2013).
The consumer law sets out the parameters that protect consumers often called consumer guarantees. They include refunds, repairs, and replacements. Additionally, the legislation covers compensation for any loss or damage or the cancellation of a faulty product or service (Vickery & Flood 2012).
- Information Sharing between the Management and the Staff
Information sharing is critical to ensure that the management and staff work on the same principles. As the center of information and custodian to the company’s rules and regulations, the management has the mandate to ensure that all staff members have access to information about the regulation as stipulated by the Australian Protection Law. The management has the mandate to interpret, share, and ensure adherence to the regulation by issuing decrees and strategies for compliance with the consumer protection regulation. Due to the complicated processes involved in automotive design and construction, the management has the sole mandate to ensure that the regulation forms part of the manufacturing process, marketing strategy, and sales. For example, the management needs to ensure that consumers are made aware of the warranties that come along with the purchase of any of their vehicles, including aspects such as after sales service, repairs, and any form of attention the company will engage in with the customer after closing a given sale. Information sharing will not only help employees keep tab with the regulation, but will also ensure that the regulation forms a tool within the company’s manufacturing strategies and plans. As a process, the management and the staff need to create an open forum with the ACCC to ensure that the company has all the facts about the law at hand such as the role of the customer about compliance with the law. The process becomes a self-regulation scheme in which the management and the staff join hands to ensure that the consumer understands how a given product or service is guaranteed. The staff, therefore, takes the role of an ambassador for the entire company in ensuring that the law and the company’s strategies are adhered to as per the laid down processes.
- Information sharing between the Consumer and the management
Under the regulation, product or service bought by a customer automatically gets a guarantee. It becomes very critical that this information is relayed to the consumer appropriately and efficiently at the time of purchase by the management. For example, Bhattacharya argues that upon the purchase of a given brand of car, the customer needs to be given information as to some of the aspects of the car that is covered by the regulation(2016). This information is critical in helping the consumer understand how, where, and the duration of the guarantee. Since the customer has the right to such information, the management (together with the staff) has the moral obligation to take the customer through a series of measures under which the regulation is operational. For instance, the consumer needs to be informed of areas that may need repair, replacement, refund, or total overhaul in the case of covering for a particular malady in the purchased vehicle. As an example, in most cases, vehicle manufacturers specify how often or the frequency upon which a particular part of the car can be replaced for example, replacement of the brake pads after a specific distance covered. Sharing such information with the customer is critical in ensuring that the company complies with the ACCC recommendation on adhering to the law.
- Manufacturer of safe and environmentally friendly products
As part of the manufacturing team, the staff is mandated with the duty of designing, assembling, and testing the need to ensure that any automotive-ready for the market complies with all the regulations covering safety and quality. The staff, therefore, forms a critical aspect of ensuring that the entire manufacturing process takes into account the production of products or services that are long lasting, safe, and match with the customer’s needs (Tang 2016). Safety mechanisms and measures will, therefore, form part of the manufacturing process, a measure that will be carried out by the staff at all levels of production.
- Staff Training
To ensure that the staff remains up to date with all acts as stipulated in the provision of the regulation, the management needs to provide up to date training sessions and processes to help maintain and promote compliance with the Act. The staff needs to have all information and procedures of the Act in case any issue comes up about enforcement of the regulation (Raja et al. 2013). Training the staff members on aspects such as the ACCC concerns and interests helps make compliance with the Act easy and flexible in the face of giving the regulatory enforcement priority, for example in the case of replacements of vehicle body parts covered by the guarantee. For example, some body parts of a car such as an engine may need occasional checkups. According to Raja et al., if covered by the guarantee, the staff members need to be made aware of the logistics of carrying out the exercise about how the customer uses the vehicle (2013).
- Keeping in touch with the Customer
After sales services such as minor repairs, oiling, minor replacements, and training clients on critical aspects of a given purchased car, forms a crucial aspect of ensuring that the company makes follow up on any given purchase. This will come in the form of occasional check up with the customer on how well the customer uses the car, which should be on the company’s recommendations and requirements. For instance, according to Ali et al., some of the latest models of vehicles come with complicated manuals on usage that may prove challenging for the customer (2014). In such a case, it is prudent that the staff offer training on how to use the facility while using the car on the road.
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Bhattacharya, S. (2016). Section 16 of the Sale of Goods Act Does Not Protect the Rights of the Consumers.
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