The cost of importing a car into Australia

Written by 
Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
Our authors
, updated on November 25th, 2021       

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You wouldn’t want to miss out on a good deal on a car that you have been eyeing for months, but what if the best deal is overseas? Importing a car may be the next best thing to buy new, used, or luxury cars that have custom finishes. There are a few expenses and things that you need to consider before opting to import your new wheels.

There are some detailed regulations you need to be aware of

Importing a car into the country takes a series of processes. It comes with complex paperwork and details that you need to flesh out before proceeding to import the car. Firstly, you need to decide on what type of import you will be doing. Secondly, there are rules and costs that come with the type of car you decide to import. There are various options that will depend on luxury and vintage cars that will differ for cars that are going to be used for everyday use. You can find an eight-step process that can help ease you into importing your car here.

Can an Australian car loan finance an imported car?

The short of it is that you can finance an imported car with a loan. The long of it is that you will have to carefully consider your loan feature options and scrutinize the overall costs that importing will have when it comes to importing your car. Choose features that will be flexible and easy to pay over a period of time.

Tax and duties costs

The amount you fork out for a luxury car differs from an everyday car. If the car exceeds the value greater than $60,316 you will have to pay what is known as luxury car tax of 33%. The type of car you have along with its age will also determine what type of duty and GST you pay. If your car is older than 30 years you will pay 5% of duty fees and a 10% GST fee. However, it is good to note that classic cars, also known as collector’s items, do not pay duty fees due to the fact that they appreciate in value rather than depreciate. Motorcycles are also exempt from duty but still pay the 10% GST.

Shipping and custom costs

There are no set costs for shipping costs, but these will be determined by what type of car you will be importing. The amount of time it takes to ship your car to reach Australian shores will also play a part in how much you will end up paying. Shipping costs usually consist of:

  • Customs for both countries you are exporting to and from
  • Quarantine inspection fees
  • Port service charges
  • Freight charges that will include the currency conversion rate
  • Cleaning

Compliance costs

Your car might be required to adapt to Australian regulations of a roadworthy vehicle, meaning that your car will need to be adapted to meet the standard. This could be in the form of, but not limited to:

  • Re-gassing the air conditioner
  • Testing for roadworthiness
  • Replacing brake pads
  • Removing gas headlights and having it replaced with halogen
  • Replacing seatbelts
  • Changing your car from a left-handed to right-handed driver

Covering registration and insurance costs

Once you have completed most of the paperwork you will have to get the car insured and also pay for stamp duty. The cost of insurance will be determined on which provider you choose to go with, but it is important that you always compare deals to come out with the best value for your money. Stamp duty is also determined by which state or territory you choose to import your car into.

You need to prepare yourself for the amount of time and costs that it will take you to get your wheels into the country. The first start is to research the process adequately along with its costs to make an informed decision.

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