You may find that the car of your dreams is not available in your own country, and you need to have it imported.
However, this is not something that you should enter into lightly as there are all sorts of logistical and financial concerns that need addressing. To avoid too many headaches, we have put together this guide, which outlines some things to know before importing a car.
Do the Maths
One of the main concerns when importing a car is the financial implications of your decision. There are bound to be some significant costs involved in the import, so take the time to compare and contrast the costs. You also need to decide whether you are going to be able to take care of the job yourself or whether you need a third-party involved. Depending on where you live, the prices are obviously going to be different. You should consider the cost to ship a car to Australia versus somewhere in Europe from the UK as well as whether the type of car you have will affect this. Remember, costs might even vary in each country. If you were moving your car to Australia, have you considered that this might not be the same cost everywhere in the country? As well as factoring in the import cost, you also need to look at the conversion rate. Waiting until the opportune moment can end up saving you a significant chunk of cash in the long run.
Follow the Regulations
Once you are happy with the numbers, you then need to think about whether your vehicle is going to match up with the rules and regulations of the new country. Vehicles manufactured in other places may have a different set of standards. For example, some cars may not comply with emission laws. If you aren't sure that your vehicle will pass the test, you need to start making some other arrangements. You don't want to go through all the effort of importing a car only to find that you can't actually drive it!
Drive the Car First
Buying a car blind is always going to be somewhat of a risk, but if you are importing a brand new car and you have never driven it before, the risks are increased. How can you ever be entirely sure that you want to drive a car in the long run if you have never got behind the wheel before? If you are unable to travel to the country for a test drive, you could try getting in contact with a local dealer to drive something similar. The next best thing is to get in touch with friends, family, or even people you discover online to find out their experiences with the vehicle in that particular country. Sometimes cars are suited to better countries than others. Ultimately, you want to get a good idea of the pros as well as the cons.
Leave a Paper Trail
When you are importing a new vehicle, there will be all sorts of paperwork involved that you need to ensure that you keep on top of. As well as the import and export documents, there will be various fees and taxes involved. If possible, you will want to get an expert involved unless you are completely sure of what you are doing. You don't want to risk falling foul of the law, risking any fines, or potentially not being able to drive your new vehicle.
Protect Your Investment
After spending so much time and money importing your new vehicle, you need to ensure that you keep your investment protected. Remember, if you have an older or classic car, it is likely that you are going to be facing higher premiums, so you need to take these into account when you are doing your initial financial projections. Not only is proper insurance a legal requirement, but it also protects your investment in the best way possible.
Check the Resale Value
No matter how much you love your car, there may come a time when you feel like you should sell. The good news is that imported vehicles often retain their value for longer than domestic cars - particularly if you have invested in a classic or vintage model. Also, car enthusiasts are a dedicated network, so if you have a particularly appealing imported vehicle, people are more likely to buy it directly as they don't have to go through the process of importing it themselves.
Importing a vehicle can be a time-consuming process, but it is one that many people believe is worthwhile. Ultimately, this is not the kind of decision that you should make on a whim. Instead, you should take the time to plan properly, take care of the financial side, arrange the logistics, and properly protect your vehicle when it arrives. Follow these steps, and you are much more likely to have an overall positive experience.