Who make all the money CCOPER ST MAXX

Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 09:29
ThreadID: 88239 Views:12895 Replies:19 FollowUps:31
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Been looking at the new Cooper ST Maxx tyres as a replacement for every day use.

I phoned a range of dealers and got quoted $570 fitted for 275x70x18's and I thought it was a bit steep.

So jumped on the net and started to do some looking in the good old USA and found the going price is around the $240 Aust Dollar mark.

Now I don't mind companies making a good profit as we own a business and rely on the same to survive but I disagree with ripping people off and not being competitive.

It seems Coopers have set a price of there tyres to all dealers as all prices was within 5 dollars of each other.

I can import these tyres direct out of the USA and still save nearly $250 a tyre.... yes $1000 savings over a set.

So why the big differance.
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Reply By: wicket - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 10:08

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 10:08
you find this situation time and time again in oz, hardly surprising then that oz retailers are 'doing it tough'.
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Follow Up By: Doomadgee Roadhouse - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 12:13

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 12:13
but we need to ask why is America BROKE..... maybe you can get stuff cheaper over there but please dont send all of your money over seas and ask why our kids cant get work here is Aust ...
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Follow Up By: Honky - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 15:29

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 15:29
Why not,, Gillard and Rudd are doing it.

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Follow Up By: fisho64 - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 01:30

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 01:30
Do they make Cooper tyres here? If not the only job lost would be the guy selling the tyre-and maybe the guy who counts his money.
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Follow Up By: Steve63 - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 17:14

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 17:14
US is broke because they need to fund the USA Imperial fighting forces. It is very expensive to run an empire ($1m per man per year now). Which is why empires either self destruct or go broke. Try to find a long lasting successful empire in history. If you take off the excesive military spend the US would have a balanced budget. Now they are in the brown stuff. They have almost a trillion dollars in bonds etc due this month alone. If the market thinks the US is a risk now after the near default the cost of refinancing these loans will increase and the markets will tumble.

Coopers will be charging what they think the market will pay. We are just dumb enough to pay the inflated prices. Buy a different tyre. In reality I believe the spread in performance is quite small between any of the better brands. We are just victims of marketing. We get sucked in by the hype and forget to read the fine print.

Retailers returns have been falling in real terms for 30 years or so. The debt contraction globally will add to the squeeze. The 2% of overseas spent money will not save them. Basically as people save (reduce debt) and cost of living increases then discretional spend will decrease. Growth will slow. Basically what we are seeing now. The GFC is not done yet.

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Follow Up By: Jarse - Friday, Aug 05, 2011 at 20:37

Friday, Aug 05, 2011 at 20:37
Suggest you ring Terry Smith (the importer) directly.

I used to work for him in a previous life. He'll give you the gen :-)
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Reply By: The Landy - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 10:36

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 10:36
You need to compare apples with apples, and I don’t think you are doing it here.

There is no doubting that we could all import many goods far cheaper than we would need to pay locally from a retail outlet. But you aren’t taking into account the fact that the retailer has a shop front to pay for, overheads including staff wages, the cost of freight to import the goods, government charges...the list goes on. I don’t think it is a fare representation to simply take the price you can do it for, deduct the price you pay locally, and suggest the difference is ‘profit’ to someone.

But if you are willing to go through the hassle to do it yourself there is no doubt it may pay-off, especially on smaller goods. I’m not sure what it would cost in freight to import the tyres yourself, but you’ve got four tyres at 15-20 kilos a piece, plus the size, doubt it would be cheap.

Worth noting, the retailer also provides a service by carrying stock that you can take delivery of at quick notice, if not same day, and that you can also view before purchasing. You pay for that convenience...

In terms of similar pricing from all dealers, many product distributors specify the retail price on goods and that is a condition of having access to the product...
AnswerID: 461684

Follow Up By: Member Al (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 10:55

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 10:55
Hi Landy,
In Australia it is illegal for a supplier to require a reseller to offer at a specified price. That constitutes "Retail Price Maintenance". It is also illegal for a supplier to refuse to supply a reseller on this basis.
The detail is spelled out on the ACCC site here.
There is of course the possibility of the supplier "suggesting" a retail price (RRP) and the reseller adopting that price.


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Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 12:29

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 12:29
And you are quite right to point that out... And I stand corrected.

What I should have said was that suppliers will often stipulate a ‘recommended retail price’ and retailers, with little incentive to do otherwise, will sell at that price.
Suppliers can withhold supply if the intention is to sell at loss leading prices though. I guess there is more than one way to ‘skin that cat’.
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 12:47

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 12:47
Actually, just further to this; in a day and age when tyres (many products) are frequently supplied overnight from the distributor you may find they are supplied on a consignment basis, in which case the supplier can stipulate a ‘minimum price’. Or the goods may actually sit in the tyre retailers shop for sale on consignment, but ownership rests with the supplier until sold to the consumer.

I’m thinking out aloud, but this is one way people can get around ‘retail price maintainence’ issues as the supplier actually retains ownership. In effect, the supplier gets to maintain a 'minimum price' because they get to stipulate what price it is sold for, after all it is still theres, not the retail outlet effecting the sale.

Perhaps that is what happens in this case...
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Follow Up By: Member - Matt M - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 14:30

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 14:30
All fair points Landy and can't disagree with most. I also agree with the sentiment about supporting Australian businesses, same applies to small local stores vs. larger chain ones. If you want them there when you really need them tomorrow, then you should try to support them today. If it is a few dollars here and a few dollars there then no problems. The difficulty nowadays is (as in the tyres example above) you can be talking about many thousands of dollars. Jobs for our kids? Yep, sure, but also happy to save money which I can use for their studies, buy a house or whatever.

I also understand the fact that you can see, touch, feel products from local suppliers before you buy. Problem is that more and more you can't even do that. Very rarely (if ever) have I been in to buy something like tyres and find that they actually have them in stock. In most cases they will still have to order from a central warehouse (efficiency?) and you are looking at 2-3 days anyhow; not much longer than lead time from the US in most cases.

Of course if you buy from overseas you have to be prepared to fit the item yourself (if it requires fitting) or pay someone locally to do it. Also issues around warranty, etc and not having the supplier's shop to talk to if you sourced from overseas and there are post sale problems. So always some risk there.

What I find pretty low (and see it happen a bit) is when someone is happy to take up a local suppliers time, use their expertise for advice, etc in deciding on a product then go and buy it online from someone else. Nothing illegal there I know, just pretty low. Part of the advantage of buying from a local supplier is that you can get advice and talk to people first before deciding what to buy. That has to worth a few dollars in my opinion.

Not an easy choice sometimes.


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Reply By: wicket - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 12:22

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 12:22
In a rare moment of clarity I have just remembered I asked myself this exact same question of Coopers some time ago when the AUS$ was approaching parity with the US$ so I rang them on their 1300 number to ask, the answer went something like this;

The retail price in oz has no relationship to the retail US price.
The reason being that in order for the oz 'exclusive distributor/importer' to be in fact that he has to do a deal with the manufacturer. That deal involves them coming to some price that they both feel is mutually beneficial.
It's a no brainer for the manufacturer as the deal is risk free for them. The 'exclusve importer' takes on all the risk which includes all regulatory aspects, tax ,distribution, wharehousing etc etc. The manufacturer simply has to ship the product.
At the end of the day that deal centres around what the distributor feels the consumer will pay for the product. The only way we are going to get a better price is conversly by not buying the item.

If you manage to buy the product from a retail outlet in the US then that retailer has probably unknowingly infringed on the importer/manufacturer contract and will possibly leave themselves open to legal action.
AnswerID: 461691

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 20:17

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 20:17
Yet when you source goods manufactured in Asia (China etc.) online from the US (so they're imported just like Australia) which is as regulated as Australia (trust me I work for a US company) and they're still less than 40 % of the retail price here - even after being shipped twice, then you really have to ask questions about how much markup the local importer/wholesaler is putting on these goods.

One of the reason a lot of customers are deserting Harvey Norman and their type.
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Reply By: Mick O - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 12:47

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 12:47
WHAT!!!!!! - straying from the Toyo's!!! No good will come of that my friend. As an aside, were you able to source a price on the Open Country MT in the US, say a 285/75-16? Now that would be interesting to know.

Cheers Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 17:43

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 17:43
Don't worry Mick, I want to make sure you don't loose your tyre repairing skill seeing you have gone to Toyo's.

Thought by me traveling with you and using Coopers your tyre repair skills will stay alive....

No we want a set of Coopers for everyday use and yes we will still use Toyo's for remote traveling.

For Toyo 295/70 x 17 the last price we got was around the A$320 mark plus freight.
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Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 12:49

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 12:49
This exact scenario took place on this forum in relation to Bilstein Shocks a day or two ago..available from the US at less than half the local retail..delivered. No doubt
importers direct from the manufacturer do a price deal , particularly if they want
exclusive importer status. I seriously doubt that, as suggested, US retailers are
breaking the law by selling to Oz, as they do with the shocks. Litigation is a part of
life over there & such actions would soon be in the courts. What I question is why are
local importers constantly increasing their prices when their terms of trade re the Oz $
have improved about 15% in the last year ?. I suspect it is due to falling sales, maybe
due to cost conscious buyers being prepared to import directly. And so the vicious
circle goes on. I, for one, will look at importing shocks when required, maybe tyres.
Has anyone noticed that for every increase in rim size.. a monster increase in costs
per tyre...bugger all increase in materials..a one off tooling cost sure, but surely
doesnt equate to $100 a tyre. All beyond me......:)))).....oldbaz.
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Reply By: Dazmit - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 13:11

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 13:11
Don't forget that someone has to pay for all the advertising in the 4WD mags, newspapers etc telling how wonderful Coopers are !!!


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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 17:44

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 17:44
And the personal endorsement six figure sum.
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Reply By: Ruffy-Dan - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 13:24

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 13:24
I don't have an issue with people who privately import goods for their own use as long as that person doesn't ever complain about the commercial situation of this country.
Freight, import duties, taxes, storage and distribution costs are all contributing factors to these costs as with all imported products.
You can buy groceries cheaper from wholesale warehouses yet you're more than happy to go to a supermarket. From personal experience i can assure you that the major supermarkets in this country operate on a 100% markup.

Major electrical retailers operate on a 15-25% margin yet there products are marked up almost 100% from the manufacturer until the reach your lounge room.

No-ones being "ripped off" you're simply paying the price for have commercial enterprise in this country and hopefully keeping a work force available for your children.... Or maybe you can bring your children up to import goods from china and sell them on ebay... Now there's a good idea!...

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Aug 06, 2011 at 07:00

Saturday, Aug 06, 2011 at 07:00
Not so, it's just a blind rip off in Australia.

Take this example.

If you buy an ARB locking diff from the manufacturer in Bayswater, Vic, approxximately 100 meters from where it was made, you pay AUD $1290.

However if you buy exactly the same ARB diff lock from a reseller shop in the US, you only pay $850 USD, or about AUD$800. That includes retail margin, shipping taxes, storage etc etc You can get it shipped back for $60.

So it has been half way around the world, sittiing in stock and it is still 40% less expensive.

You can name any category of product and get similar or worse examples of Rip offs.

How about Energizer batteries. Try to find then for less that $1.00 each in bulk packs of 10, 12, 18 or 28. Yet overseas exactly the same batteries are about 25 cents each.

We are ripped off out of isolated ignorange and incompetant regulaters like the ACCC
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Follow Up By: Member Al (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Aug 06, 2011 at 08:34

Saturday, Aug 06, 2011 at 08:34
That's fascinating Boobook.

I wouldn't mind putting lockers in the Troopy so I searched Google for a supplier in USA. After 12 pages of references the only one I found was ARB themselves in Renton, Washington. They list 82 models all at US$1100, give or take the price of a beer.

Where do I find a US seller at $850, and can I be sure it is a genuine ARB product?


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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Aug 06, 2011 at 09:50

Saturday, Aug 06, 2011 at 09:50
Here is one I did after a very quick search.

ARB diff lock $835 USD

Go go www.google.com not www.google.com.au and search for "ARB locker".

They are genuine all right, well most are , I can't vouch for any individual retailers but there are so many at the $830 to $900 price that are full on 4wd retailers it can't be a few rogues. I have purchased other stuff like winch rope, surepower isolators which are $70 in the US, and $320 at ARB here etc etc. Never a problem.

Also I am not sure if the retailer above will post to Australia, some will, some won't and most will want a wire transfer first as they don't trust international credit cards in the US much. There are tons of retailers to pick from if this one wont sell to you.

The only issue is you may not be able to get them for Nissan Patrols which aren't sold in the US.

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Follow Up By: Member Al (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Aug 06, 2011 at 11:36

Saturday, Aug 06, 2011 at 11:36
Boobook, Thanks for that. Now I'm excited. It seems that ARB-US is maintaing high retail prices too. It's just crazy that they are made in Aus, shipped to US, then can be sold and shipped back at a much lower price than retail here.

And I can see that I have an issue with Google (Using Safari on a Mac). An update must have changed my default settings. It always went to the "The Web" and I then had to select "Pages from Australia" but now the reverse applies. And if I type "www.google.com" into the address bar is automatically changes it to "au"! Most confusing but now I know to click on "The Web" all is well. Thanks.


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Reply By: kidsandall - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 14:05

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 14:05
People are complaining that shops are shutting down,shoe shops, book stores, clothing stores all shutting down and jobs going with them. They are only closing down cause people are buying online/overseas. I often wonder when a store (myers, Big W, Kmart, woolies, coles) have massive sales and discount everything, they aren't loosing money so does that mean they are over charging the rest of the time. I worked in a hardware store years ago and we could easy knock 50% off the price and still make money. I was talking to a mangaer in a supermarket one day who told the mocassians they sell for $10 cost less than $2. That's a huge mark up.
Some companies work on the theory of A/ high profit low sales, others on B/ low profit high sales. Problem with A is when times are tough sales drop first because price is high. B can usually survive better cause the price is better. Maybe some retailers need to re avaluate their sales ideas to match todays economy and society.

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Reply By: Muntoo - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 15:11

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 15:11
I also wonder the same thing, but i know the answer.

We have around 20 million people here .

They have around 200 million or something.

They sell 10x times the amount of everything compared to Oz.

They would have 20 million 4wds to sell those tyres to, Oz might have 2 million.

HUGE difference. They also get paid peanuts. Yet in Oz, everyone demands more money for the work they do, and everything goes up. In the end we pay more for everyday living anyway so we are no better off.

I take advantage of some things from the US. Aussies arent put out of a job. I need customs to inspect it, couriers to deliver it, etc etc.
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 23:21

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 23:21
All valid points Muntoo.

This topic (which has similarities to buying at least occasionally from the bush shop instead of the cheaper city supermarkets) was discussed at length previously and most of the issues were canvassed - costs of setting up the business here (including the compliance etc mentioned above), having a physical presence, cost of providing warranty, getting a decent ROI etc.

The notion that internet purchases are primarily responsible for the current downturn in retail (or manufacturing that matter) is little more than speculation. Evidence suggests that direct online importation by consumers is having only a very small effect while the $A is high, but as a percentage of business it is very small overall.

My guess is that Gerry Harvey and co can afford it - the high $A has more pros than cons for them. Their real issue is making sure that the trickle doesn't become a flood. While it's only a small % it should be manageable - and competition/savvy consumers does help keep the bigger retailers on their toes. Different for small businesses though. Difficult issue because most of us can't resist a bargain from time to time.
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Reply By: ob - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 15:14

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 15:14
If we could look a bit further into the future when just about everything we buy is available on line and cheaper whether from USA, China, India or wherever what all our kids who we gave a great education to by saving all that money are going to do for a job??
Before the fleabay era countries like America found that they could be much more competitive in their own country by exporting technology and jobs to countries where the costs to set up factories and employ/exploit local labour were much lower. Worked great for a while until so many Americans found that they did not have a job to buy these lovely cheap goods because exporting work has a finite lifespan, even for a country as rich and powerful as the good 'ol US of A. Oh, and buying everything on credit usually ends in pain if left unchecked even for the US government. You gotta ask yourself how monstrous conglomerates such as Ford or GM can find themselves applying for bankruptcy protection?

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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 17:52

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 17:52
Ford never applied for a Chapter 11 and GM only got them selves in the red mainly for there retirement and health care funding scheme they set up with the Auto Union.

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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 16:51

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 16:51
Whether we like it or not we now live in a global economy , the adage of 'buy your kids a job by buying local / Australian made' has been a spectacular failure in that we as a nation want and demand top $ wages and bottom $ prices , a very large mitigating factor is the age group many of which are on this forum , just getting ready to retire /have retired /self funded superanuation /pension , we demand high returns from our investing that someone has to pay for , in the end the one that pays is the consumer. And we all consume.
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Reply By: Off-track - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 16:57

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 16:57
I hear all the time the argument that Aussie retailers have to pay for overheads such as rent, advertising, importing etc but hang on;

most of the places I have bought from the US/UK are actual retail shops that would also have to pay for same overheads.

So if Aussie retailers can buy direct from the manufacturer there should be only a relatively minor difference in the price between Aus and US/UK; taking into account sales volumes mostly.

I will buy stuff from here if the prices are reasonable in comparison, but not when it is marked-up to the buggery.
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Reply By: CraigB - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 17:19

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 17:19
Hi there,

I totally agree prices here in Aus are way over the top BUT if you do go down the line of a "Grey Import" just be mindful of 2 things;

1... tyre load rating - a lot of the tyres or should I say tires being imported privately from the US have a lower load rating making them illegal for your vehicle here is Aus. Hence you probably will not be covered in the event of an insurance claim. Yes you will get the exact same size tyre but as a word of warning check and stipulate the load ratings before you pay.

2... No warranty with Grey Imports. The local distributor is not liable.

AnswerID: 461729

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 18:01

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 18:01
Tyres the same brand and model are the same overseas as they are hear so load rating doesn't alter.

As for warranty, I got quoted from the USA A$1230 for 5 x Cooper tyres and and here I got quoted nearly A$2900... sure you can add A$100 per tyre for freight and that brings it to A$1730 delivered.

Even if 1 tyre fails and I have to buy local I'm still $600 in front and the way Coopers warrant tyres I think I'm safe.

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Follow Up By: CraigB - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 19:13

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 19:13
Yeah I know they are the same brand & size ect. and totally I agree that the prices here are really unjustified (IMO) but I personally know of people who have ordered Coopers from the US and have been caught out on the load ratings.

You can get for example a 285/70x17 for a Cruiser here which has a load rating of 121Q but in the US they sell the exact same brand & size with a load rating of just 114Q which makes it illegal on a Cruiser here.

I'm not trying to pick an argument - just pointing out a couple of pifalls.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 12:44

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 12:44
I would say that maybe the fault of the buyer not checking to see if they are light truck construction.

Most of the Coopers come in passenger construction or light truck construction, passenger has the lowest rating.

Most people who have problems when buying O/S don't do there homework very well leading to problems.

Ebay is a good place as it offers protection when paying by PayPal if the description is wrong, it pays to email the seller asking detailed questions as evidence.
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Reply By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 18:13

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 18:13
I can get a container shipped from the USA to an Australian port of my choice for about A$2400.

Tyres made in the USA have no duties when landed here in Australia.

As an example:-
If I got 10 people who wanted 5 tyres each I could land them here all up for around A$288 each including freight and even if I have to pay GST and brokerage fees they will still be landed here for A$328 each... a savings of $246 per tyre or $1230 a set.

For me I lucky as I have a good customer who imports from the USA and he will ship them for free.

If I was only going to save $100 per tyre I would by local but $246 is a bit much to ignore.

Food for thought!
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 11:46

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 11:46

Importing for yourself is one thing, and not without its pitfalls. However, importing on behalf of others, whatever the arrangement, may in fact expose you to a whole range of unacceptable risks that you may not even be aware of.

You need to take advice on whether by becoming the ‘importer’ that you in fact become responsible to comply with Australian Consumer Laws. This could include, amongst other things, ensuring the tyres meet all Australian safety and compliance regulations. In the event of an accident where the tyres are deemed to have been a contributing factor (remember Firestone in the US?) you may actually face liability issues as the importer.

And whilst your mates my say they’ll never take action against you, in the event of an insurance claim the insurance company will be looking to someone for recourse!

This would be worth investigating before you start going down this path...
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 12:50

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 12:50
I wouldn't buy something for anyone, they would have to make there own arrangements and all thats getting done is the freight side.

No laws to follow as all your doing is acting as a freight forwarder and not a reseller.

This type of stuff has been going on for years with the HotRod guys all chipping in for freight, clubs even run buyers trips O/S doing this.

To many worry about laws and the legals and they are the ones who will never do it, so even think of laws and the outcome even when the so called law is not a law.
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 13:26

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 13:26
That's fine your post wasn't clear on how it would be done... But worth noting for others who might actually act as the 'importer'.

As for worrying about laws and legals, I guerss that is a risk/reward decision..again. As you say, all food for thought, and I wish you well in your endeavours...

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Reply By: den57 - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 20:13

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011 at 20:13
Must admit that i am not very knowledgable regarding taxes , but has this all come about due to free trade and the abolution of import duties.
I believe the system used to be if it was made overseas then it was taxed and this was the attraction to manufacture local.
Get rid of taxes and the manufacturers all go overseas to take advantage of the low wages, and so our jobs go off shore.
Guess if we keep seeing manufacturers go overseas then we can look forward to being in the same position as good old USA. I was once told that what the americans do, we will have the same 5 years later
Now that would be a game goverment to bring back import duties above the 10% GST.
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Reply By: awill4x4 - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 00:02

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 00:02
I have just gone through importing a set of tyres from the USA just in the last 2 weeks.
The real price gougers in Aus are the importers and are holding the general public to ransom with inflated prices.
I bought a set of 5 Goodyear Wrangler DuraTracs 245/70R17 LT with a load rating of 119 for US$192 per tyre and they were delivered to my door for just under AUS$279 and that included US$449 for air freight with FedEx and a wire transfer fee of $30.
I didn't get charged for GST but I was prepared to pay if it was required.
We only see a fraction of the available tyre sizes that are available and even if they are available the importers screw the consumers to the floor.
I used Tire Rack tyres and the tyres were in the country in 7-8 days. They were held up in customs for 4-5 days but when cleared were delivered to my door and I'm very happy with the whole transaction.
With the free trade agreement with the USA there are no duties payable only GST if it's levied and even with air freight I still got them much cheaper than available here.
My next transaction will be to buy a set of 4 Bilsteins and a pair of air bags from truckspring.com for 1/2 the price I can buy them for here.
Regards Andrew.

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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 13:07

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 13:07
I'll have to give them a call, if I can buy Coopers for A$240 each in the USA as compared with A$570 each in Australia I'm sure mister Coopers Australia would be buying them for a lot less then the A$240 I can buy them for over there.

Sure they have overheads here but everyone you deal with in the USA has overheads at the same value as us here in Australia.

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Follow Up By: Fatso - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 13:48

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 13:48
This is off topic Andrew. But those Duratracs jump a long way in price for a relatively small size increase.
I got quoted under $300 for 225?R16LT duratracs fitted including GST here in Cairns & $225 for Bridgestones the same size.
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Reply By: The Landy - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 10:38

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 10:38
An interesting discussion on a topic that is going to come up more frequently, given the higher level of the Australian dollar, and ease of access to product in other countries.

On the topic of tyres, it is clearly evident that you can import tyres from the US at prices that are below what you would expect to pay locally, although I don’t necessarily accept that the difference is profit to the local suppliers or retailers as they have a totally different cost base to take into account compared to the occasional Mum and Dad importer.

Often these discussions focus (almost entirely) on the benefits derived from the exercise, the money saved, but there seems little discussion on the potential pitfalls. After all isn’t it like investing? The safer the investment, the lower the return, the more risk you are willing to take with your money, the greater the return – well that is how it usually works.

When you go to a local tyre distributor or retailer, and if you shop around there are some good deals to be had, you will find most of the risk of your purchase has been eliminated before you hand any cash over.

For starters, you’ve got the opportunity to view the outlet you are purchasing from, in many cases this will be a major distribution channel or retailer that is well known locally, so reputation and reliability can be readily assessed. You can view the product, and obtain advice (yes – sometimes this lacks!) and you have access to a workshop that will fit, balance, and align your purchase, as well as take care of the old tyres, after all they need to be disposed of, you’ll get a cup of coffee and a read of a four-wheel drive magazine and be gone within an hour or so of turning up.

This all happens before you hand over the cash, which is usually the last part of the transaction. And if you drive out and have a problem you’ll most likely be covered by a warranty and Australian consumer protection laws. The risk / reward pay-off is similar to a safe investment, low return (you pay more money for your purchase), but the risk to you is relatively low, almost non-existent if you are diligent enough.

For those going down the route of the offshore purchase the risk / reward equation has just changed dramatically, sure the pricing looks attractive, in fact far cheaper as highlighted in earlier posts, but what about the risk you now assume that someone else did previously?

For starters it is most unlikely the seller is known to you like say a Bob Jane, or Jax tyres might be (I’m not endorsing them, just case of point), so assessing reliability and reputation is more difficult, sure you can review what other people have said, but they are unlikely to be a household name in Australia. Can you be sure that you will actually get the exact product you order, sounds simple, but many disputes with importers and overseas suppliers’ centres around this very issue.

And of course they won’t ship anything to you until you have paid over your money, so the situation could arise that your tyres arrive on the doorstep and when you open the package they aren’t what you expected, maybe they are seconds passed off as new, whatever the issue, you now have the problem that they have your money, and you have the wrong product. Perhaps this can be corrected, but it is sure to involve more expense to you in the least, or a protracted argument that might see you lose some or all of your financial outlay at worst. It is unlikely Australian Consumer Protection Laws will assist and credit card companies don’t get involved in ‘commercial’ disputes so don’t rely on that for recourse.

And there is also the potential for the ‘hidden costs’ the things that maybe you didn’t factor in, or were not aware of.

So like a ‘riskier’ investment the reward is now much greater (tyres are cheaper), but so is the risk you’ve assumed.

Are you happy with this risk? If you apply the same criteria you do to investing, that is you assess all the risks and balance it off against the reward, and you are happy with the pay-off, then importing your own tyres could be the way to go...

But as always, Caveat Emptor!
AnswerID: 461780

Follow Up By: Member Al (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 13:13

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 13:13
Landy, I agree with everything you have said. You clearly have an insight that is lacking in many of the posts before this.

In particular, there is displayed a belief that an importer/distributor/vendor or anyone in business pockets the so-called "markup" (gross profit). Anyone who has actually conducted a real business would know that is not so. There are many more costs than most purchasers realise which results in a Net Profit and even then there are costs such as loss of productivity due to illness, annual leave, and the need for many out-of-hours work just to "Do The Books" and attend to bureaucratic demands (Statistics, taxation, audits).

If you have not been there, you have no idea of what's involved.
It really is not possible to make direct comparison between an overseas/imported item cost and the local retail price.

As you say, go ahead and transact the import bargain, but at a risk. And don't criticise the Australian retailer if he seeks to earn a similar wage to yours.


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FollowupID: 735507

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 16:18

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 16:18
And you don't think these people who sell them overseas don't also have....

"loss of productivity due to illness, annual leave, and the need for many out-of-hours work just to "Do The Books" and attend to bureaucratic demands (Statistics, taxation, audits)"

We run a business so we know to well the costs associated with day to day operations.

If USA retail tyre companies can sell a tyre for A$240 and still make profit and support their staff and out going expenses.

You can not tell me there is $330 more in expenses associated in the sale of the same produce in Australia then in the USA.

Based on A$240 USA retail price the Australian wholesaler might buy the tyres for around A$150, pay freight of around A$6 and brokerage fees of another A$2 a tyre to land them here.... remember we are talking 400+ tyres in a single order

One last question is why are Cooper tyres in the USA much the same price and in most cases cheaper then there competitors but in Australia they are dearer and remember there is no duties paid for Cooper tyres whereby there are duties paid on other brands that are not made in the USA.... so in other words Coopers should be cheaper.

FollowupID: 735525

Follow Up By: The Landy - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 17:17

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 17:17
Hi Olcoolone...

Can't answer your questions....

But your point about tyres being more expensive in Australia is not lost on me, after all I’ve got two Landy’s to keep in rubber!

But it doesn’t mean the local tyre retailer is living the ‘life of Riley’ at the expense of us four-wheel drivers, or that the supplier is doing the same just because they are more expensive, and to be fair it doesn’t mean that someone isn’t either...

What I have raised in response to your original post is firstly, that you cannot compare the costs associated with a supplier in Australia with the occasional Mum and Dad importer that decides to take advantage of overseas prices. The business models are completely different and comparisons are tenuous at best. But to be clear I’m not arguing that it isn’t cheaper to import your own...

Secondly, for those willing to import their own tyres, it is reasonable to highlight there is a downside.

Not many posts discuss this, ignored in favour of the savings to be made. Sure, the financial reward is cheaper prices, the downside is that it is far riskier than going to your local retailer for the tyres. And there hasn’t been any ‘real’ discussion on the whether the product you buy from the States is identical in all (all) respects, such as compound, suitability for Australian conditions, age of the tyres, maybe they are blemished, looking the same, and being the same are two completely different things. Besides we trust the Yanks’ to do the right thing, don’t we? But I’m digressing...

The pitfalls are there, offset by the initial outlay being cheaper... and I suspect for those who venture down this path there will be a mixed outcome. Some will swear by it, others will swear they’ll never do it again...

I’ve got at least another 60,000 kilometres in ‘rubber on both vehicles before I’ll need to ponder the question, keep us posted on your experience! Cheers...
FollowupID: 735534

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Friday, Aug 05, 2011 at 10:13

Friday, Aug 05, 2011 at 10:13
I don't think the tyre retailer and making the Hugh profits but I do believe the importers are.

Everyone seems to blame the retailer for ripping people off but I know what price we can buy some products for hear and overseas based on wholesale pricing.

On one of the other forums a guy imported a Warn 9500 pound winch with an all up price of under $1500, the best he could get here was $2700... same product.

I think here in Australia we are paying to much for 4x4 associated products and someone is make the big profits and i doubt if it's the retailer.

And remember no import duties on USA made items.
FollowupID: 735598

Reply By: olcoolone - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 13:02

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 13:02
The sad thing is 4x4er's are getting ripped off here in Australia.

Why can I buy passenger car tyres here in Australia for not much more then out of the USA but when it's 4x4 tyres there is all of a sudden a hugh price difference.

And please don't use the excise of "then sell more in the USA".

Freight and duties are the same if the tyre is for a car or a 4x4 and most companies bring over a range of different tyres in a container at the same time.
AnswerID: 461792

Reply By: awill4x4 - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 19:03

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 19:03
If all you naysayers want to bury your heads in the sand, so be it.
My transaction was well researched with many a satisfied customer doing exactly the same thing I have done from various forums.
If all you need are 15" and 16" tyres then you are well represented here but as soon as your talking 17" and upwards then take a deep breath because you're screwed.
Many modern cars now need 17"+ rims to clear brake calipers as was my case and I had a set size in mind as I do not like wide tyres. So I downsized in width but increased the aspect ratio to give exactly the same diameter as standard to keep everything legal.
In Aus I had a choice of about 3 or 4 tyres in total and a few of those were basically highway tyres and a load rating lower than standard tyres so were illegal.
On Tire Racks homepage I searched using my required tyre size and it came up with 67 results with lots of all terrain/mud terrain options and load ratings over and above what I needed.
Prior to getting on Tire Racks website I was seriously considering General Grabbers AT2 after being quoted AUS$330 per tyre here in Aus but taking a look at the Tire Rack site I saw the same tyre listed at US$144 but the load rating was only 110 and I needed a minimum 112.
It was this realisation that someone was making a very tidy profit on what essentially is a tyre at the cheaper end of the market that made me determined to source quality rubber in the specs I wanted.
Initially I was drawn to the new Goodyear MTR's as I've had a very good run with them on my GQ but they are now an assymetric directional tyre so I decided on the Goodyear DuraTracs and on seeing them delivered I was more than happy with my choice.
I would do exactly the same thing again without hesitation but as always I research well before committing my money to overseas companies.
Regards Andrew.
AnswerID: 461827

Follow Up By: The Landy - Friday, Aug 05, 2011 at 22:17

Friday, Aug 05, 2011 at 22:17
Naysayer...yeah perhaps I could be thrown into that category. But I guess savings come in many guises. And the one I found that works best is the old adage, that if it looks too good to be true, than it might just be that, throw your money at it and you might lose the lot. So before doing that, surely it is reasonable to question the rationale for going this way, and importantly, look at the pitfalls, not just the ‘rewards’.

So, naysayer, well, let’s just say a healthy dose of scepticism is not a bad thing, especially when you (or someone else) has got a hand on your wallet. Ask a lot of questions and weight up the risks. And as I acknowledged in all the posts I made, it might be cheaper, no denying that, but it comes with far greater risk than buying from an authorised distributor...

FollowupID: 735659

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