Sometimes, the domestic market is just not enough. For true sports car enthusiasts, often the only option is to peruse retailers abroad. But where does one begin?
Narrow the search
Is the desired car an average go-about-town vehicle, or something intended to be thrown around a race track? Each category has a different set of regulations to consider when arranging an import, and pricing can vary wildly. Often more information is better than less, for both the buyer and others involved in the process. Be prepared to collect detail regarding the manufacturer of the car and any and all features to satisfy customs officials.
Increasingly, car buyers are choosing imports because they are billed as a cheaper than using local vendors. With the right research and planning, this can be true, but not always. For example, paying tax and VAT on a vehicle upon entry to a county can add significantly to the price, and further expensive tests may be needed to prove the car is road worthy for its destination. Indeed, older cars in particular may be heavily penalised on emissions. Insurance can also be a problem, as many companies refuse to insure imported cars or add hefty premiums to their prices. Nonetheless, shop around and find the companies who specialise in imported vehicles; they may be able to offer a fairer price.
Is it worth the hassle?
In most countries, large companies specialising in imported cars already exist. Reputable companies will already have done all the leg work: the car will be fit for the destination country, the paperwork will all be in order, and the consumer can simply purchase it like any other car. Of course, it is important not to be lulled into a false sense of security. Be aware of what boxes need to be ticked because once the car is bought, it is the owner’s responsibility to make sure it is fully legal.
But ultimately, for total independence and control, importing a car yourself is doable and rewarding… provided you do your homework!