How to import your foreign car

Being a car fanatic doesn’t come cheap. Set aside the cost of running your own vehicle for a minute and you’re factoring in the price of traveling to and getting into car shows, your monthly subscriptions and the amount of time you spend finding articles and conducting research online.

If you have a penchant for foreign cars, this habit is made all the more expensive. If you’re looking at importing a car from overseas, either to work on as a do-er upper or to add to your collection, then we’re going to take a look at some of the do’s and don’ts around this purchase and how you can protect your wallet.


Let’s start by taking a look at how you might start the process of importing a car from Japan, for instance. First, when it comes to finding a vehicle, one of the best places to look is one of the many auction sites. Make sure you pick one that’s reputable.

When it comes to shipping your vehicle, you’re looking at a series of costs that start with the purchase and Freight on Board fees, which are simply the costs of transporting the car from the auction house to the docks for transportation. After that you’ll need to factor in the shipping costs. Often this is determined by the size of your vehicle and whether or not you take out any shipping insurance, something we highly recommend though again make sure it’s from a reputable and experienced broker.

Finally, you need to think about the import tax and you’ll figure that out with a little research into the current rates.

When it comes to things to avoid, the biggest problem you’ll encounter is dealing with brokers and auction houses that are less than honest and don’t reveal the full costs of the transaction in a transparent way. It’s vital that you go through a site and a broker who is experienced and has a great reputation that you can delve into and check before you commit to anything. 


You might also look at alternative ways of transporting your purchase, particularly if it’s new or in kit form through automotive kitting for example. Don’t get caught out paying more for shipping than you need but at the same time you’ll need to strike a balance between getting a great deal and protecting your investment.

Being a car fanatic is a full time job in itself and when you have a passion for foreign vehicles taking the step to import one, seems like the logical next move.

Be vigilant about who it is you’re dealing with and take on a reputable middleman to drive the deal through if it makes the process more straightforward, though bear in mind that this will increase the cost.

When you’re pouring over the features of your new machine, all the headache of paperwork and import tax will be a distant memory and you’ll have your eyes firmly set on the next investment on four wheels.

Photo Credit: Nissan

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