What You Need to Know About Buying an Imported Car

Finding your ideal vehicle isn’t always easy. Indeed, there’s a lot to keep in mind to help inform this decision. In this blog, we are on hand to help you understand more about buying an imported car, including how the process works and the two main types of imported vehicles.

Rows of imported cars

Importing a Vehicle From Another Country: Always Inform HMRC

You’ll need to let HMRC know when importing a vehicle. You should aim to inform them of the vehicle’s arrival in the UK within two weeks (14 days). This is usually achieved by completing a Notification of Vehicle Arrival form, although HMRC will complete this on behalf of private, non-VAT registered individuals. However, even if you’re a private buyer, you’ll still need to notify HMRC with an import declaration.

Once you have done so, HMRC will inform you of the status of VAT and import duties for the vehicle. Thereafter, you can register the car on its UK plates.

Parallel vs Grey: Two Key Types of Vehicle Imports

Vehicle imports typically come in two types: grey and parallel. But how do these work?

What Were Parallel Imports?

When looking at imported vehicles, one of the first things you’ll need to understand is what parallel imports are. At their simplest, parallel imported vehicles were cars that were privately imported from mainland Europe as a cheaper alternative to purchasing the same vehicle for a higher price at home.

This type of import has largely fallen in popularity nowadays since the cost to buy the car in the UK is much more akin to the mainland price, making the rigmarole of importing less worthwhile; nevertheless, imported vehicles are still seen on UK roads, and if you’re buying second-hand, there’s also every chance you could end up purchasing an import.

With this in mind, it’s worth considering here that, if you’re purchasing a second-hand imported vehicle, checking the car’s history is vital. For one thing, imported vehicles may have had different safety specifications to UK cars, which could make them more likely to need work done or repairs. Moreover, many of these imported vehicles are now getting on a bit, making them much more prone to age-related complications still. Fortunately, viewing a vehicle’s history is simple through a car history check, making this a vital step to consider in any purchase.

What About Grey Import Vehicles?

Another type of vehicle import you should know about is a grey import. Grey imports refer to cars that have come from non-EU countries and often, these won’t meet UK approval laws. Following this thought, these cars need to pass an Individual Vehicle Approval test before they can be driven on UK roads.

Make Sure Your Imported Vehicle Purchase is Safe First

It’s not always easy to decide whether a vehicle might be a worthwhile investment or not — however, there are plenty of things you can keep in mind to help inform this decision. In line with this thought, we strongly recommend considering whether an imported car might be right for your needs, and before you do so, always run a number plate check first to make sure it’s the right car for you.

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