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Importing private car to Aus (Probably Vic, but could be NSW or QLD)


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Our plans of moving back to Aus are gathering pace, and we are putting the finishing touches on what we would take v. leave behind/sell. I am dumping the old 'XC 90 and will look to get a3 year old Hyundai Santa Fe or similar.. I should get around AUD $20K for the XC 90 (although 1/2 of that will be importing the doggo). My partner loves her mini, which is a 2017 Countryman. It is low mileage and well looked after, so we will probably get Aussie equivalent of $30K. However, in Aus, a like for like model is about $41K - $45K with similar mileage and options.


As we have had it from virtually new (had 1,000km on it when we bought it) and has no foibles, I thought maybe importing it would be the better shot. We have owned it well over 12 months, so import taxes should not be applicable. The quote (including throwing whatever we can in the car as well), is about $7K, which is inclusive of all port fees and cleaning fees required. It does not include RWC registration fees.


I know the clocks will have to be changed and I think there will be a requirement to fit side intrusion protection bars in the doors to meet Aussie standards. The car is right hand drive.


Does anyone know how much this is likely to cost? I searched the internet and couldn't get anything that looked like a reasonable indication of what else is needed and the cost. An additional $3 - $5K is OK, as it would mean about the same like for like as buying in Aus, but we get a car we know rather than take the used car risk.


Thanks in advance for any ideas...



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Jerry, it used to be that any imported vehicle had to be examined, and an Australian Compliance plate was needed to be fitted. However, this system has now changed under new legislation commencing July 1, 2021.


Some makes of vehicles, even though they are similar in the U.K. and Australia, have different levels of construction as regards emission controls, seatbelt types, lighting, etc, etc - and these need to either meet or be able to be modified to meet ADR regulations.

It can be quite costly to do modifications to imported vehicles, and side intrusion bars in doors will mean complete new doors - which will need to be painted to match the vehicle. It's unlikely the authorities here will allow side intrusion bars simply to be installed in your doors. And if by chance they do, the cost of intrusion bar installation, will possibly be more than new doors, anyway.


The change in vehicle legislation is that the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 (RVSA) now replaces the former Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (MVSA). There are now "approved types" on a Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV) which can be imported without the need for an Australian compliance plate. You can find out if your vehicle complies in the link below.




Every State has slightly different requirements for imported vehicle to meet their particular States Traffic Regulations for road registration. You can find more helpful information in the link below.




Remember you must apply for permission to import, before you actually ship the vehicle. And even though there have been many reductions in tarfifs, some import duties may still apply to your wifes car.


Plus, you need to pay GST (10%) on top of the vehicle valuation - PLUS, GST on ALL the costs associated with shipping the vehicle. The Govt views this as the total cost or value of the vehicle. These costs also includes the cost of transporting the vehicle from your home to the British port it is leaving from.


You need to keep all receipts for the whole exercise, and produce them when requested - as they surely will be. You will possibly also be hit with a number of additional "miscellaneous" port, handling, and bond store charges.


Make sure your shipping agent is including them in their shipping quote, as they can add up, if not included. These charges are for things such as Customs recording fees and charges, bond store daily holding fees (the vehicle must go into a bond store upon arrival for customs inspection before it is released), container hire fees (if a container is used - and this is highly advisable), container unloading fees, demurrage caused by you, port security charges, etc, etc, ad infinitum.


You get charged bond store holding fees once the item is inspected and released by Customs if you don't pick it up rapidly. They allow a short time for you to pick up the vehicle. You will more than likely not be able to drive the vehicle out of the bond store, it may have to be trucked. Check your States laws and shipping regulations for this. You MAY be able to acquire a permit to drive it from the bond store to the place where it will be examined and registered, but no guarantee there.


Importations are costly, there are many traps and pitfalls and hidden extra charges. Ensure you are fully informed and educated.




Edited by onetrack
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Here's some good information on importations into Australia, on a shipping agency website.




I would also be wary about filling an imported vehicle with personal possessions. Pilfering still goes on in port and maritime areas, and in shipping and storage - despite so-called "tight security".

In addition, it's highly likely that Customs will want to inspect items in a vehicle for contraband or that they meet importation regulations. If they do this, you could be charged additional Customs inspection fees.

They operate on a hourly cost basis, and they aren't cheap! And don't ever ask for an out-of-working-hours inspection, because you're in a hurry! They charge a massive call-out fee, plus an increased hourly charge rate!

Edited by onetrack
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Thanks, OT for the detailed summary..


Seems like the mini will have to go... Too much faffing about.. The quote I got stated it was landed in Aus ready for registration, but ex. taxes.. By the time GST is added, it is not going to be worth the expense, I am guessing. I was also wondering about the cost of the doors as well.. I was thinking if it was going to cost me AUD $10K all up, it would be worth it; but I fear it will be a lot more.

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The Countryman is now in a plug in hybrid and the batteries last a whole 20 miles (25 is you drive frugally). For that, you lose 1/3 of the boot and the reality is once the novelty wears off, you get the kids, dog and shopping in while it is raining and cold, you're not going to bother going back outside to charge it when you know you have petrol in the tank. With a much larger price tag, we opted for the last of the all petrol model at low mileage - £18K (about $34K) difference in price... Note, the list price for new difference was about £12K/$22K.


Once we finally get to Aus (flights now have a 3 month waiting list thanks to the reduced cap, and are averaging $12K each for guaranteed seat; $8K each for taking your chances - so we are going to wait), we won't actually need a car for normal living, but partner has decided she wants one for the convenience; so we expect to use it for around 5,000km/year max around town + holidaying/touring (which we would have rented a car for). 


So, maybe I can wean her off the mini and find a decent EV instead...

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In some cities the ' public transport ' is very good.

The same city outer suburbs Are not the same, 

Would you be staying city ou the outer suburb? . Your car can cost a couple of $ thousand just to stand in your driveway.

I know of one who flies Tamworth to Bankstown !,

Only by their call sign & radar 24. 


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The future of personal transport will be far less individual ownership and a lot more short-term hire for trips that involve some distance. Already, sites such as "DriveMyCar" are becoming quite successful.

I did think about joining DMC, but as with all internet-based operations, I regard their fee grab as excessive.

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Yes, I agree OT - the model of ownership will change - but early days are full of profiteers - with no doubt promises of brown paper bag exchanges in the future.


Under BoJo's mayorship of London (IIRC - may have been Ken Linvingtstone's), two startups were licensed to run short term renting of their cars. The idea being, rather than buy a car, these companies' cars were allowed to park in designated and convenient areas that no other cars were allowed to part througout the burbs and when you needed a car to say, do a big shop or go somewhere public transport couldn't take you, you simply rented one. When I lived in London, there was one of these car's around the corner.


I thought this sounds OK... So I called.. It was £150 to join, £50 year, some money for a key, and from memory, the per hour day rate was something like £20; I think the 8pm - 8am rate was £10 or £15.


I thought about it for a few seconds and worked out to hire the car for 24 hours was about £300! So I thought about it and 9 times out of 10 I would want a car for a good part of the day, which meant I could hire a car from a rental firm at full price + insurance, without the need to pay extra for a key, a joining fee, or annual fee... So I politely declined.


As far as I am aware, they are still around, but haven't taken off in the way they would have liked. When I left London, the car was parked in its spot much more often than not.

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