Importing your own car into NZ


Wondering if anyone had any experience in importing your own car into NZ?

How much do you think you can save?
What agents did you use?
How long did the whole process take?

Anyone know how the normal process goes?

Thanks :)


  • +2 votes

    Have done so a few times with variable results in terms of savings.
    Unless there is something specific that you are after, that is not easily found locally then it may be better to buy local.

    Essentailly for Japan -
    Cost of car at auction
    +Auction Fee
    +agent fee
    +Port, MPI fees etc
    +repairs required for compliance
    = Final Price

    The problem you have is dealers whom import (note alot of dealers buy / borrow cars from a larger importer for a small markup) get everying that i have put in italics cheaper than you can get.
    Mostly from bulk buying, and strong relationships with agents etc.
    Likewise some get away with less repairs when going for compliance, or they repair for complaince and then remove the repair for sale.
    An example of this is brake rotors may have life left, but compliance requires a change. Dealer buys 1 set for the million Tiidas that are imported and uses the same set on each car at compliance, putting the orginal ones back on for sale.

    Also you take all the risk with an import, if it comes in and has a major issue (damage, rust etc) then tough cookies, whereas local dealer means you are covered by the CGA.

    Where it is worth importing is buying higher end cars ex UK, or sepcific models or trim levels that you are wanting.

    Is there a particular car you are looking for?


      I’ve had quite a good experience with service on an imported car. I have a relatively old Japanese import Volvo, and my car was covered by their three most recent global recalls. I just drove to the dealer, and had quite substantial work done for free.

      In saying that, I’d be hesitant to buy a Japanese model - a lot of cars intended for their market have no underbody coating, and are designed to last the more limited time locals hold onto their cars. Lots of examples here don’t have underbody coatings, so end up with premature undercarriage rust. There’s also a surprising lack of safety features like side airbags even in recent models.


    Thanks for all the info. rkl.
    I am not looking for anything that cannot be easily found locally, just thought might be able to something better/newer with my budget.
    But sounds like there are a lot of risk involved, so might be better to stick with Local Stock.

  • +1 vote

    I've looked at importing my car in the past, there's a website for a importer in AKL that you can use to view the Japanese car auctions itself. The cost breakdown can be seen there as well:


    Yeah I think there are companies around now who do "half the job" for you. So you can still select a car in Japan yourself and they do some of the background work and you arrange compliance at this end. There have been some horror stories. People import a cool looking car to find it can never be made road legal in New Zealand without spending BIG money. There was a really nice looking RX8 for sale in my town. Didn't know the full story but it was nearly impossible to comply. Dude had to resell it for $1 reserve as a parts only or track car. Only ended up with $1500 for it……… Anyway here is another website you can look at for semi-self importing


    I've imported 4 cars in the past, but it's only worth it for certain models. I used in Japan/autoterminal. I had to actually become a car dealer (~$450 fee) to use them at the time. Saved about 20k on the first car and then others saved much smaller amounts.


    I've done it once from the Uk. Used European Car imports as my agent. It was in the wake of the berexit vote, numbers don't work as good now. As a rule of thumb UK imports only stack up if you want 1. A car that is Vat Qualified (i.e. under two years old, owned by a business), and 2. Unavailable in NZ, or very valuable, or a plug in.

    I have never done it from japan, but you can sign up to carwebs and view the auctions if you want. Apparently there is very little stock at the auctions at the moment and prices are high.

    Note that you carry quite a bit of risk in the process. If your car fails compliance (I know of one that did due to flood damage indicated by silt behind wheel arches) you are going to carry a big loss.


    A few friends have used this website before the have NZ section aswell, but lately they prices are really close to what you can pickup a car for on trademe.