“Labor is giving with one hand and taking back with the other – and not just through knee-jerk measures such as the new Tarago Tax on cars,” raged Brendan Nelson in his budget reply.

The idea of calling the luxury car tax increase a “Tarago Tax” sounds like a clever bit of politicking, projecting the image of some poor working family getting slugged for simply having the audacity to need a people mover. With five rugrats, the choice becomes limited in the car market. But the problem with these cute little clichés is that they invariably turn out to be bollocks.

Toyota has five Tarago models available in Australia, with only one model – the top of the range Ultima model (described by Toyota as “Business class travel”) qualifying for the new proposed tax increase with a price of $72, 490. The cheaper models start from $49,750, well under the luxury car tax threshold.

Brendan Nelson might be a little surprised to learn that of all Tarago’s sold in the country, the Ultima edition makes up 20 units, on average, a month.

Once fleet and commercial buyers are removed such as taxis, rentals and whatnot, that number reduces to 10 units, on average, a month.

It’s not quite the suffering army of Tarago buying families that Nelson would have us believe.

So when the leader of the Opposition next says “For Gods sake, think of the Tarago drivers” – it really is pretty easy to think about them, in fact you could almost remember their individual faces – all 2 and a half of them a week.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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