View Full Version : Anyone imported a car to the UK?
Biggles Flies Undone
21st May 2002, 15:10
I’m looking to change my car and it seems like the dealer’s commission on the model I want is pretty tight – the best discount I’ve been able to squeeze is 3%. A quick look on the internet suggests that discounts of between 10 and 15% should be achievable by importing from Europe.
Downsides that I know of are a worse warranty (2 years instead of 3), possible UK dealer apathy in dealing with snags, need to return to overseas dealer in the case of major/terminal fault and possible affect on resale value.
At the end of the day, are the risks worth the saving? I would very much appreciate some input!
21st May 2002, 15:33
On the used front, I have an imported MX5 all the way from Tokyo. I have had a pretty positive experience and I think that the -ve opinions and warnings from the likes of Quentin Wilson have proved (for me) to be unfounded.
On the new front, my father has a BMW that he ordered as UK spec from Germany. The only issue he has suffered when having to make a warranty claim was that BMW didn't have his details automatically in front of them when he called as the car was from outside UK. This meant he had to give them the details from the V5 and then all was exactly as it would have been if he had paid 20% and waited 12 months for the same vehicle from here in London.
I have been looking into ordering a new car through a company whose web address I seem to have mislayed (i'll edit this post later and add it in)... I reckon I can save about £3k on a £26k car and cut the wait down to one month from 6!
My advice - most manufacturers have had to go with the flow and introduce Europe-wide warranties now. Therefore, as long as you order a UK spec car, there seems to me to be little/no risk behind buying abroad. You will just have your car delivered to you pre-registered. Go for it!
21st May 2002, 15:43
WxJx drives an imported car (MR2 Roadster), but the import was actually done for me by my main dealer when they realised that they could not compete with my quote from their own stock. The vehicle (RHD) was subsequently first registered in the UK after being shipped from Belgium, which solved all sorts of potential problems with the leasing co., warranty, insurance etc. I also saved a fortune!
All in all a completely painless experience. I would suggest if this option is available to you with your intended purchase that you go for it...
21st May 2002, 15:55
Funnily enough BFU, Mrs F-SXTY is looking at the moment:
VW Bora 1.9 Tdi 130 with a few extras, UK list price: £17,580
Identical model in Belgium: £13,799 :eek:
For nearly £4k saving, we’d put up with quite a lot of hassle. Have a look at www.carimporting.co.uk - A goldmine of unbiased information.
21st May 2002, 16:08
Daily Telegraph's 'Honest John' has some good advice.......
21st May 2002, 16:31
Just re-read your post BFU, and a couple of other points:
Any car purchased in the EU will come with the manufacturer’s 1 year warranty as standard. Extended 2 or 3 year warranties are really just insurance policies, and there are various companies you can buy these from independently.
Whatever you buy should be exactly UK specification, down to the last nut and bolt. For example, not just a steering wheel on the right, but RHD wipers & headlights, speedo in mph, owner’s manual in English, etc etc. If you can locate a foreign dealer with experience of selling cars for UK export, arranging this should be a lot easier. Subject to all that, you have a full UK spec, UK registered car, and there should be no problems with servicing / repairs by a British dealer.
Regarding resale, see above – as long as its full UK spec, there should be no effect on resale value.
Is it worth it? Only you can decide that, it depends on the model, the savings, language (hardly a problem in Belgium / Holland), whether you're trying to shift your old car, and whether you regard the experience as an ordeal or a bit of an adventure. I strongly suspect though that the ‘difficulties’ of personal imports are greatly talked up by people with a vested interest in getting you to buy locally.
21st May 2002, 17:13
My mum imported a car from here in Holland, and saved a heap of cash. Drop me a line if you want any more info. (flypuppy@<hidden>)
21st May 2002, 20:26
This is not an advert before anyone tells me otherwise:
they do it all for you.........painless.
I bought my wife a car for the 02 registration in March. We bought an Astra from Trade Sales at Slough (no relationship) and we got an Opel-badged Astra built in the UK for £3,500 less than a Vauxhall badged one. Some small differences in spec, and the car was apparently shipped to Cyprus and back before we got it, but with one mile on the clock we were not too bothered. The warranty comes from the dealer, not GM (although in Europe it is still valid). At £8150 new and on the road we thought it was a superb deal.
21st May 2002, 21:58
Thinking about buying a new European car in the US since that's where I live right now. Will move back to somewhere in the EU in the next couple of years. So... what would be involved in bringing a US-spec European car back?
I understand that the actual transportation cost is pretty low (relatively speaking). Obvious things: the car would be LHD - a negative if I relocate back to the UK, and the speedometer would be in MPH - a negateive if I relocate to continental Europe.
What concerns me more are the legalities of driving a US model within the EU.
22nd May 2002, 08:07
As promised, here are a couple of links that I've looked at:
Auto By Tel (http://autobytel.co.uk) European Imports (http://european-imports.net) Micronet Showroom (http://mircronetshowroom.com)
I can't vouch for them, mind, as I've not bought anything yet!
Biggles Flies Undone
22nd May 2002, 08:43
Many thanks for all your input, everybody :)
I haven't had a chance to check all the sites yet, but carimporting is excellent - thanks G SXTY!
It looks like importing will save around 3K over and above what I can get from the UK dealer, so a very worthwhile exercise.
22nd May 2002, 09:32
On a similar topic, I'm looking to buy a motorbike while I am living out of UK for next couple of years. I will take my test here and get a full International Driving licence but, when I bring the bike home in a couple of years, will I be able to add the bike to my UK licence because of the International Driving licence or will I have to do the test again in the UK?
22nd May 2002, 12:37
I imported a Honda CR-V from Belgium last year. Total saving, after all costs including flight to Brussels, ferry back etc, was 25% of UK price. Well worth the effort. Hondas come with a 3 year warranty, although if the make you are after has only a 1 year warranty you can buy top-ups fairly reasonably. The warranty is pan-European and UK dealers must repair any faults. Servicing and repairs is where dealers make most of their money anyway so it is in their interest to do so.
Just make sure that the car is full UK spec. My car was actually built in Swindon and then shipped to Brussels so I could then bring it back, bit crazy but there you go. Don't think there will be any resale problem as the car will be identical to one bought in the UK.
It might be worth your time to get the details of the European dealers for the make you require and then e-mail them direct for a quote. This is what I did and I got a good response.
22nd May 2002, 17:10
I'm just looking into this and my opinion for what it's worth is as follows:
I'm probably going to import an Impreza from Holland either directly or using one of the online traders such as http://www.personalimport.co.uk/default.asp and save some money - around £5k.
The only problem that I can foresee is when the time comes for you to sell it and I'd recommend that you sell it privately rather than trade it in as the dealer will try to stiff by claiming that it is not a "British" car. Thus, a lower price will be offered!
The advantage of doing it directly is that you will save a bit more money but I reckon that the hassle factor will outweigh the saving so I'll probably use the online dealers.
Hope this helps.
22nd May 2002, 23:01
BFU, not done it but have looked at imports as a second hand purchase. Check with your insurance Co for a quote, just to make sure, even if its a uk spec model, the insurance peeps still have reservations about imports. There was a £500 difference in my quote uk vs import!.
You might find that your V5? DVLA docs show it as an import too, this may have an impact on its residual value, particularly if you px it later on at a uk dealer.
23rd May 2002, 09:29
The registration document does not make any mention of the car being imported. It names you as first registered owner from new, just the same as for UK bought cars. There is no documentation or distinguishing features on the car that marks it as an import as long as it is fully UK spec.
There are some insurers who can make you pay a premium for an import, but there are plenty who don't. My insurer wanted to charge extra but I got a great quote from another which was lower than the first wanted to charge for a UK model.