News: Apathy Dooms Petition, For Now...

Apathy Dooms Petition, For Now…

By Benjamin Shahrabani
September 8, 2014
12 comments

If you tried to sign our White House petition (from this story) to overturn the twenty-five-year law governing the importation of non-US market vehicles, this is the message you will see:

“The petition you are trying to access has expired, because it failed to meet the signature threshold…”

The initiative that Petrolicious spearheaded for the past thirty-one days has expired. The twenty-five-year rule is clearly intended to protect automakers rather than create a free marketplace and negatively affects enthusiasts who want to import cars never sold in the US. Sadly, we didn’t make it. In order to get the Executive Branch to consider our request, the petition needed to gather 100,000 signatures in one month. That isn’t to say the regulations would have been overturned, or even modified, but now it surely won’t even receive a response.

So, for the moment, you may wipe away your drool and cancel your plans for importing the forbidden car of your dreams until it turns twenty-five years old. If you didn’t sign, you have no one to blame but yourself. We failed.

We did however get 60,401 signatures before the petition closed and that effort is to be applauded. This petition did far and away multiples better than any previous petition to overturn the absurd, protectionist law. So thank you readers, and also Jalopnik, Autoweek, Fast Lane Daily, Etc., Etc., for helping to spread the word.

It was an amazing effort, but one that ran out of gas a bit too soon. We enjoyed all your comments, debate on this issue, and we’ll surely support the next effort to overturn this unjust law wherever it may spring up.

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Ian Miles
Ian Miles
8 years ago

Seems to be a lot of rhetoric about the failure of this petition – big car makers bloking this, the law etc. The fact is that not enough people signed the petition. If the threshold was met and its progress was specifically blocked by GM then that would be a stament of fact. In reality why would GM and Ford be bothered by this. How many cars are likely to be imported? Hardly a blip compared to the number of modern cars being imported and foreign manufactuers producing cars in the US. This sort of issue suffers from needing to overcome a significant amount of inertia. Surely in theory it is more likely to be blocked by those that would need to administer it because they would need to invent more forms and be more knowledgeable than they currently are. If you want an RS2, you will not buy an Escalade instead. VW, Audi, BMW, Nissan and many other comapnies dealer might be very interested in overturning this legislation. More service and spare parts business for them. You will prevail.

Chris
Chris
8 years ago

I enjoy Petrolicious, but perhaps it doesn’t have the reach required to get the signatures. Perhaps a future attempt could partner with other sites like Autoblog, Hemmings, Car & Driver and even Wired to get the word out. I think a few convincing article are all that it would take.

Sam C
Sam C
8 years ago

I’m always confused when people blame the current automakers for the passage of a law from the 80s. There is nothing to say MB USA or any other automaker, if approached the right way, would not fully support a change to a 15 year ban in line with Canada. They went from no law to 25 years. That made sense back then and having some law makes sense now. But, what you are really fighting is inertia, not actual protectionism or self-interest.

JB21
JB21
8 years ago
Reply to  Sam C

I cannot think of a single sensible reason for this law, other than market economy controlled by certain interest group (used car dealers, maybe?). I think it’s a stupid law, just like the one that says Tesla can’t sell the cars direct to the customer, or the one that Massachusetts tried to pass a couple of years ago, to restrict sales of auto parts to the public so that the dealers are the only one allowed to service the cars.
But this whole thing begs a question. I met a couple about 8 years ago in San Diego, they owned Ford SportKa since it was new, with CA plate on it, and they had it for 10 years. And the guy I met in Beverly Hills, he had Renault 406 Coupe, with a plate, too. And how many R34s are in the States with proper (or improper) registrations – I’ve known at least 2 of them, how’d they do that?

Sam C
Sam C
8 years ago
Reply to  JB21

If we are to have enforceable safety regulations, some version of this law needs to be on the books. Emissions and safety regulations exist for a reason and serve a valid purpose. You might, and probably would, argue that 25 years is arbitrary and needlessly long, but arguing that we should be able to import any car, of any vintage, and of any level of safety cannot seriously be defended in today’s political climate.

Also, you can get cars in for show and display purposes. You can get cars that are ex-diplomat cars. You can any number of cars registered in any number of states that weren’t imported correctly. Plated does not equal legal. Just ask all the D90 owners who allegedly had their cars crushed a while back.

Jully Pham
Jully Pham
7 years ago

Me too, My dream is Audi RS2 🙂 [url=”http://vbet79.net/”]kết quả bóng đá nhanh[/url]

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
8 years ago

JT & JB21

Good points from both . To JT … you hit that one right on the head . Courtrooms are where battles are won these days in the US … with only the big corporations having the money to fund the long term battles needed in order to win . As to the WhiteHouse … it no longer matters who sits in power …. the fact is We The People no longer matter … in the slightest anymore

As to JB21 … its sad but true … with the majority of youth not even bothering to get their drivers licenses never mind become automotive enthusiasts … the price of entry to the hobby rapidly becoming out of reach of the average individual … the dreaded ‘ Collectable ‘ syndrome driving the cost of older enthusiasts cars into the stratosphere [ when i bought my 365GTC/4 in the 70’s the price tag was less than the cost of a new Corvette ] … we Gear/Petrol [ in honor of our Brit site mates ] Heads are rapidly becoming a dying breed .

Which is to say despite brilliant sites such as this …. we already are … becoming a very small group that is .. sigh …

JB21
JB21
8 years ago

Has it ever crossed anybody’s mind that there just may not be enough interest to bother changing the status quo? Is it possible that just simply there isn’t enough interested party? I did sign, but I did it more out of principle than anything (this is a stupid law that is becoming irrelevant with every new model of cars comes out). Is it possible, that simply the number of automotive enthusiasts are dwindling?
We may very well be a very small group.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
8 years ago

It wasn’t ‘ apathy ‘ per say that killed this one off … but rather the unfortunate , total and complete understanding/comprehension on behalf of those of us with the wherewithal to be able to take advantage of the change had it come about … that due to excess corporate interest and influence … it never stood a bats chance in Hades of ever passing .. regardless of how many might of signed the petition .

Did I sign it ? Yes .. but more out of curiosity ( and a moment of futile yet satisfying rebellion ) than any real hope that anything might of changed in the slightest

Sadly though [ and a very sad comment indeed this is about to be ]

Here … In the good ole US of A …. ( Big Corporate ) Money talks …. and the rest of us can bloody well take a long hike off a very short pier into the endless abyss .. and be expected to smile while we’re doing so …

Ten points and an attaboy [ or 20 ] Petrolicious for giving it the good ole collage try though

Jon Tabor
Jon Tabor
8 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

Not only that, TJ, but it never would have even made it to the point of being killed off by big corporate. The White House, ever since they’ve started this, hasn’t taken seriously many of the items that [b]do[/b] reach their signature requirement. Their commitment is to “respond” when it hits a threshold, and more often than not, that response is “thanks for the interest, but we’re not going to do anything about this.”

In other words, what helped kill this off is the fact that many saw it as futile before it even started. You want to get something done in this country? You need to win a court battle and set a legal precedent. And that takes money.