Should You Buy A Used Import Car?

If you’ve found yourself in the market for a unique car, your first search may likely be an import.

An imported car is a vehicle that has been brought over to the UK from another country, and buying an imported car is becoming more popular, for a good reason. They’re great cars and they’re often in near-new condition. With that said, as with any car purchase, you should still be careful when you purchase an import and keep an eye open for a couple of things.

Why Import a Car?

There are a few reasons why someone would import a car.

Often, imported cars can be cheaper than when buying in the UK, thanks to favourable exchange rates and the differences in depreciation.

Importation can also remove long waiting lists that UK models can have. An imported car can arrive to you in a matter of weeks, whereas when you are on a factory-build waiting list, it can be as long as 6 months.

Imported cars also often come with special trim levels and add-ons, including features that are not yet available on the UK market. In fact, some models aren’t even available in the UK at all.

Grey Imports Vs Parallel Imports: What’s The Difference?

Grey Imports

Grey imports are cars imported into the UK from Japan. This type of import is very popular in the UK, and there are many grey imports or Japanese imports out there in the UK used car market. 

Typically grey imports will closely resemble the UK model of a car, yet with additional extras that came only on the Japanese model.

If you are considering purchasing a grey import, it’s important to keep several factors in mind. You’ll likely need to make several changes to your vehicle in order for it to be roadworthy including adjustments to the lights and some other aspects of the car. This must be done before you drive the car.

Parallel Import

Parallel imports are cars built and bought within the UK and imported over to the UK. Parallel imports are typically less complicated as they are built to European specifications, therefore meaning no additional tests.

What Should You Consider When Importing a Car?

Of course, the potential savings from importing a car are great, however, there are a few things you should consider and make sure that you are prepared for beforehand.


  • Shipping costs,
  • Import duty and VAT,
  • Safety testing for grey imports,
  • Registration and licensing,
  • Modifications to make it roadworthy on UK roads,
  • Insurance costs.

Getting The Right Insurance Policy For Your Import Car

If you are looking to insure an import vehicle, the best way to ensure that you are fully covered and that you are getting a good price is by working with an import car insurance specialist. With expert knowledge and tailored policies for import vehicles, you can ensure a seamless process.