It is one of the unfair elements of the rules auto retailers are being forced to swallow under the Covid-19 lockdowns gripping the state, with the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) saying the struggling automotive industry is being sidelined at the expense of a multinational supermarket chain which is operating with an unfair advantage.
The chamber has called on the Victorian government for a fair playing field during the lockdown.
VACC CEO Geoff Gwilym said in a statement: “VACC acknowledges the need for Victorians to purchase food and other essential items from supermarkets and other stores. But when supermarkets are allowed to sell motorcycle helmets and gloves, while the automotive industry is not, the obvious question to ask is: ‘why’?
“If motorcycle helmets and gloves have been deemed to be not essential – and there is a good argument that they are essential – while motorcycle dealers are currently unable to sell them through their physical stores, then supermarkets surely should not be able to do so at the same time.”
A recent Aldi Special Buys catalogue was distributed to customers advertising a motorcycle helmet for $79.99 and pairs of gloves for $39.99, while at the same time advertising basic food and beverage items.
The VACC says that currently customers are able to purchase other additional motorbike essentials in-store including denim jeans for $89.99, a tank or tail-bag at $39.99, along with base layer top and pants, socks, disc alarm lock and even a vehicle cover.
“VACC calls on the appropriate regulatory bodies to ensure this does not happen again. Motorcycle dealerships have seen their businesses decimated with widespread temporary closures of physical showrooms meaning many businesses sit on a knife’s edge, with an uncertain future ahead of them.
Surely, for Aldi to hold off on selling automotive equipment during the current lockdown situation is not too much to ask,” said Mr Gwilym.
By John Mellor