Rowan Benn
By Rowan Benn

The shipping journey from the UK to New Zealand usually takes 40 days*. But obviously importing your new car from the UK requires a number of important steps both in the UK and in New Zealand. It is reasonable to expect your car’s import to take 65 days from the moment you deposit on it to the moment you are driving it home. This story breaks down the steps required from end to end to help you clearly understand what happens when and how long it will be before you can enjoy your first drive home in your new car.

Handsome Man Driving a Car

Buying your car in the UK

Once you have chosen your car it’s vital for your importer to place a deposit for you as soon as possible. Cars sell very fast here and can easily be sold from under you. Expect to place a deposit of £500 to £2,000 depending on the total price of your car. The balance for your car needs to arrive within 7 days. The supplier should then hold it on account and make the journey to inspect and test drive your car. Only if the car meets our standards we will complete the purchase. If not, we will always walk away and keep your money for the right car.

A common NZ compliance oversight

Other than the spec, the key watchouts are the tyre tread, brake pads and rotors. These are a common area for the NZTA to flag issues at compliance in New Zealand. It is vital your pads and rotors are measured and noted before your supplier buys. The UK law has less stringent legal requirements than NZ. So you’ll be smart to avoid an expensive oversight before your supplier hands your money over.

Preparing it for export from the UK

You should then expect about 10 days for all arrangements to be made and your car to be ready at the port for loading. These timings will largely depend on the shipping schedules and whether you would like any alterations made to your car before it leaves the UK. 10 days may seem like a while, but in the time your car needs to be inspected, collected and returned to the UK office. Any alterations such as a tow bar, roof rack, tuning or alloys are frequently made before departure. Whilst this is being completed the shipping booking is made. So whilst 10 days seems generous, it is very quick considering the number of steps required to prepare your car for export.

Shipping your car from the UK to NZ

We prefer to deliver our cars several days in advance of the ship closing. This helps to ensure each car travels on the vessel it was booked for. Just like a plane, a late arrival can bump a car onto the next available ship. You can export your car on the roll on roll off services, but this risks scratches and damage in transit. Considering your car is travelling across the world, we insist on single or shared containers for a safer journey for your car. Whilst your car is on the water, we DHL all the key documents and loose items to your clearing agent for safe keeping.

Importing your car into in New Zealand

The shipping journey take 45 days to New Zealand and 47-49 to Christchurch. About 2 weeks before your car arrives, our shipping agent will contact you to share the import process in detail and help you with the GST payment. On arrival, you should expect to be driving your car home within 10 days. Your car is transported (still in its container) to a private yard to be unpacked safely. MPI and IVS inspections are handled and the compliance inspection and NZ registration needs to take place. Almost all our clients prefer us to take care of this too, but you are very welcome to comply and register your car if you wish.

Would you compromise care for speed

We are confident that you should be able to drive your car home 65 to 70 days from the moment you placed your deposit. This doesn’t include any additional work you might like to have done such as converting the speedo and odometer to KMs. It is possible to import a car to NZ faster than this, but this risks cutting corners and making mistakes. Given you are making such a big purchase, wouldn’t you rather have the confidence that every detail has been taken care of and your car is imported with the greatest care?

*(Currently 60 days owing to the pandemic. So for the time being add 20 to the above timeline for a pandemic timeline)

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