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Tesla gains seat on Australia’s primary car lobby board

A little over a year after joining Australia’s primary car lobby group, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), Tesla has secured a seat on the group’s board. The announcement was posted by the FCAI on the group’s official website.

In a press release, the FCAI noted that it had replaced Matthew Callachor, the President and CEO of Toyota Australia, with Vinesh Bhindi, the Managing Director of Mazda Australia. This is quite interesting, as both Toyota and Mazda are lagging somewhat in the electric vehicle transition. Interestingly enough, the Australia car industry has been seeing a rapid shift to EVs, with electric cars making up 8% of new vehicle sales last month.

The FCAI noted that Thom Drew, the Country Manager of Tesla Australia and New Zealand, as well as Andrew Birkic, the President and CEO of Ford Australia and New Zealand, were newly appointed to the board, as per the press release. FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber posted a warm welcome to the group’s new directors and officers.

“I would like to offer my warm welcome to our 2023 Directors and Chairperson. The FCAI’s membership encompasses over 63 brands and sub-brands. Having a Board made up of a diverse range of Directors from different areas of the marketplace is critical in ensuring the FCAI continues to offer the best representation of Australia’s motoring industry.

“With more change occurring across emissions, intelligent transport, business models and customer experience than ever before, I am confident our Board will provide the critical insight and guidance our industry needs as we move forward,” Weber said.

Tesla’s entry to the FCAI board could be seen as a sign of the company’s growing influence in the Australian market. Tesla has been the top-selling EV brand in Australia for the past two years, and its sales are expected to continue to grow even more. The Tesla Model Y is expected to become the country’s top-selling SUV of any type, and the Model 3 is also the second-best-selling sedan, as noted in a report from The Driven.

Tesla’s addition to the FCAI’s board may benefit the organization as well. The FCAI is a powerful lobby group that represents the interests of the Australian car industry, but the group has received criticism over its apparent opposition to EV policies. Tesla’s entry to the FCAI board could help change such perceptions.

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