Lobbies promote specific interests; they are not plain dealers. Sometimes they advocate interests counter to the common good. The tobacco lobby was an example. There are others.
The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) yesterday released a statement that suggests the organisation may have fallen into that category. It pointed out that over the last three years we imported 150,000 cars that do not meet the latest EU emission standards, which “means Ireland has become the dumping ground for older cars”.
The SIMI did not explain how cars of the same vintage sold by its members are different. Revealingly, it put the impact this might have on their industry before the one it might have on the environment — a reminder that the SIMI was the conduit for the emissions scandal which showed utter disdain for environment or customers and led to fines of billions of euros.
The statement argued tax changes should encourage new car sales and “increases on older used imports”. This ignores one of the four principles of the EU: free movement of goods. Irish car prices are, irrespective of taxation, well out of line with EU prices — a reality reflected in myriad dealership cathedrals built to sell cars. It is also the driving force behind the save-money private importation cars.
Like many businesses our motor industry is trying to cope with internet options which inform customers in a new way and disrupt comfortable convention. Physician, cure thyself.