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Thread: Importing a car

  1. #1
    Simon is offline Junior Member
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    Default Importing a car

    Hi all,

    Most people seem to be against importing a car but ours may make sense, we have a 2004 Mercedes ML270CDI which we have owned for well over 2 years here in the UK. It has been up for sale and the only response I have had are attempted scams. The value of the car here now is well under 10,000 as all 4x4s have now been taxed to death by our wonderfull government.
    Looking on the NZ Autotrader web site 2000 models are up for sale at around 10,000 and 2004 to 2005 models are in excess of 14,000 to 18,000.
    There only seems to be a few in NZ with the diesel engine and if we did bring it we would keep it for a while as I believe we would not be allowed to sell it for 12 months or so.
    I am a mechanic and can make sure the car is 100% before travel, I can also steam clean the underside at work, on arrival I understand it will need to be registered, inspected and a warrant of fitness issued. Has anyone done this and know of the rough costs and timescales involved?
    If I sold here for 8500 which seems to be a realistic selling price, or it costs me 3000 to ship it to NZ, I run it for a year and sell it for 11,500 then it has cost me nothing to own it for another year and I have a car that I know I am happy with. I know the advertised prices are asking prices but there is still a huge difference between the UK and NZ for the same vehicle.

    Thanks in advance

    Simon.

  2. #2
    Taffy's Avatar
    Taffy is offline He who shall be ignored
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    Hi Simon,

    Importing cars can be tricky, especially diesels. Different vehicles require different processes, some require a certificate of complience from the manufacturer/dealership in the UK, you will need to have a new speedo cluster fitted (not an overlay, need to change the whole cluster) to a diesel as it becomes subject to Road User Charges (RUC's) which are measured by KM's, and then have it complied for use on NZ roads. There's also the time delay, you may have to hire a car for several weeks until you can get your vehicle complied and legaly roadworthy, as you just never know what the inspectors will want to see to pass your vehicle.

    Usually, I would only say to import your car if you absolutely love it or if it's of great value, else it can be just a big headache.
    Taffy

    The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.

  3. #3
    spid5 is offline Junior Member
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    Oh No!!
    I was seriously thinking of bringing my 97 Land Rover Discovery over from South Africa. It's a diesel and it drips a bit of oil. This is the first I have heard of this RUC thing. Please tell me more about how it works and how much it costs. I wonder if it is even possible to get a new instrument cluster for the LR?

    Everyone tells me cars are cheap in NZ (compared to SA) but looking on Trade Me, LR's seem the same to a bit more expensive. Since I got mine cheap over here, I have about NZ$5000 of buffer to spend on bringing it over. I've done a lot of work on it as well (except for the oil leaks that is). So I know what I have got vs buying an unknown one in NZ. I'm in the process of getting quotes to ship it from SA.

    Got me worried now.
    Steve

  4. #4
    Flimbert the 3rd is offline Junior Member
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    Hi chaps, just joined the site (bear with me, new to this lark) as am looking to make the transition to NZ and like yourselves, would like to drag the car with me. Does anyone know of an actual contact or advisory dept that we could contact for specific details on how the import of cars should be done. I would be looking at bringing two with me, a pug 306 (D-turbo) which would really be one of those better the devil you know things as I looked at some of the forecourts in NZ on a recent trip and found that some real donkeys could be had for quite a lot of money. The second would be a ford Cosworth which I have had for 13 years, this is more of an attachment and a must have and if I'm right, is mainly subject to frontal impact regs.

    Any pointers would be good.

    I spoke to one of the big movers at last years expo who just said "Don't worry, we'll take care of that for you" which didn't inspire confidence because native NZer's have told me that it could be turned away on arrival and I would be left with the agro of getting it back to the UK etc.

  5. #5
    Dawn's Avatar
    Dawn is offline All Knowing Deity
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    I'm loving your name Flimbert the third
    Passionate about the unfathomableness opportunities of kiwi-a-gogo-land

  6. #6
    Flimbert the 3rd is offline Junior Member
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    Default User name..

    ...first thing that came to mind. Not sure what that says about things but hey, not hurting anybody.

    Any body got views on importing vehicles, how did we get on with importing the M series Merc..?

  7. #7
    MotherBear's Avatar
    MotherBear is offline The missing link
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    I don't know if the info you're looking for can be found here. It's a moving company but they have a few links on their site that might be useful.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

  8. #8
    Flimbert the 3rd is offline Junior Member
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    Default Import a mota

    Thanks Motherbear, you have just pointed me to a weeks worth of reading might have to abuse the company printer, very interesting as my noble steed seems to fall under the vehicle of interest category.

    Keep ya posted, thanks again.

    Flim

  9. #9
    kokopeli is offline God like figure
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    I brought my campervan to NZ from the UK about three years ago. Despite loads of people telling me it was imposssibly difficult, I did it all myself. It is actually quite straight forward IF you do your research and plan ahead.

    I'm sure I've described the process in another thread, but in a nutshell it goes like this:

    1. Check with Land Transport New Zealand that your make/model of car is allowed on the road in NZ. Not all vehicles are allowed on the road here and the authorities will not let the vehicle land if it isn't on the list. I was told by LTNZ that quite a few people have learnt that lesson the hard way on the wharf in Auckland......


    2. Obtain a Statement of Compliance (SOC) from the vehicle manufacturer to state that the car meets NZ standards for construction and use. The manufacturer will have a nominated person who is authorised to issue the SOC. Contact the manufacturer by email, tell them what you want and ask for your enquiry to be forwarded to the right person. Do not mess about asking your local dealer for this because:

    (i) they probably won't have the faintest idea what you are talking about;
    (ii) they won't be authorised to issue the SOC; and
    (iii) they will probably try to charge you money for doing something you can do yourself.

    Once you get hold of the right person, ask them what modifications they make to cars shipped to NZ compared to cars shipped to your home country. If the manufacturer makes hundreds of changes, forget it. If no changes are made, ask for a Statement of Compliance. You might have to pay a small fee, but some manufacturer's will issue this without charge. When you get the SOC, make half a dozen copies and whatever else you do, keep the original with you!

    3. Arrange shipping through your transport company of choice. Cars will usually fit inside a container. Our campervan came on a Roll On/Roll Off ferry. The cost for that was calculated by the cubic metre and we weren't allowed to put anything else inside the van. If you go by container, you can fill the car and the container with as much stuff as you like, but remember that you will have to empty it all out for inspection before the car will be released from the wharf. When you hand over the car, make sure you get an original copy of the Bill of Lading. Make copies and keep the original with you!

    4. When it's nearly time to go to the dock or put your car in the container, get it cleaned. Properly. Inside and out. That means a good steam clean underneath. Don't do it on the morning of departure, especially if going by container because everything will go mouldy during transit.

    5. Speak to a vehicle testing station in NZ before the vehicle arrives in NZ. Tell them that you are importing a car and want to arrange an inspection, Warrant of Fitness and registration. Get the person's name and direct dial number and a price for the work! Tell them you will sort the importation process and documents yourself.

    6. Obtain a written valuation for the car in your home country. Keep this with the receipt for transporting the vehicle because you will need it before NZ Customs will release the car from the wharf. More about that later.

    7. Be in NZ when you're ship arrives in NZ. Sounds silly, but you need to be here because the port company will only let you park the car on their wharf for two days after it has been unloaded from the ship. After that, they will charge you wharfage, which is ridiculously expensive.

    8. Go to NZ Customs and fill out the import clearance forms. If you have Permanent Residence and have owned the vehicle for at least twelve months before it (or you, whichever came first) left your home country to travel to NZ, you will not have to pay any Import Duty or GST. BUT, you will have to sign a declaration of undertaking to say that you will pay Import Duty and GST if you sell the vehicle within two years of its importation. Remember that the duty is calculated on the value of the vehicle AND the cost of the shipping. GST is payable on all that AND the import duty. If you do not have PR, you will have to pay the duty. Tough huh.

    Show NZ Customs your original ownership document (V5 if you come from the UK), Bill of Lading and Valuation. Once you have filled out the paperwork, Customs will issue the importation approval needed to get the car off the wharf.

    9. Now go to MAFF, show them the Customs papers and ask them to arrange an inspectiuon at the wharf. You will have to pay for this. I think we paid $60. You will not be able to take the car from the wharf until it has been inspected by MAFF. They will probably say the car needs to be steam cleaned, even if it is spotlessly clean. There is a steam cleaning company on the wharf at the Port of Auckland. I phoned them. They charged me $100 and did the job before I got to the wharf.

    Phew, hold on, we're nearly there......

    10. Go to the office of the shipping company, show them your Bill of Lading, Customs papers and all the rest and pay the fee to cover handling at the port. Yes, I know you have already paid for door-to-door delivery, but there is always a handling fee at this end.

    11. Now you can go to the wharf and pick up your car. You will have to show all the papers, get another stamp and away you go. Think about how you are going to get the car from the wharf to the testing station. I borrowed some 'Trade Plates' from a car hire place and drove the van myself. Taffy might be able to help here.....

    12. Get the car to the testing station and get a WOF and rego. Pay the fee, fit your plates and off you go! Remember that campervans and other 'altered vehicles' will need a Low Volume Vehicle Inspection by a registered engineer. You will find a list of these on the LTNZ website. I think we paid about $500 for our van, but normal, run-of-the-mill standard cars won't need this.

    There. Simple.

    If you think that's all too much hassle, PM me and I'll do it for you for a modest fee......

    Last edited by kokopeli; 26-02-2009 at 06:20 PM.

  10. #10
    Simon is offline Junior Member
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    Hi kokopeli,
    Thank you very much for taking the time to post such an excellent and informative reply, the main thing that puts me off is that I have to keep the car two years, I have owned it nearly three already and I only wanted to bring it as it is worth more in NZ, I only had a 4x4 in the UK as we had a large twin axle caravan to tow, that was sold in October and we have no need for the car now, we manage OK with one car now and I bought an old X reg Golf as a run around until we go.
    The Merc is up for sale at the moment and I think it is time to cut our losses and let it go for as much as we can get for it, when we arrive in NZ we will be looking at another Golf or something similar, I would rather put the money into a house than keep a big car that we dont need and that will drop in value over the next two years to about what we can sell it for now.
    Once again Thanks
    Simon.

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