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How much does it cost to ship a car to New Zealand?

Find out the fees, shipping costs and taxes associating with shipping your vehicle.
By · July 28, 2023
How much does it cost to ship a car to New Zealand?

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If you are immigrating to New Zealand, it makes sense to pack up as many belongings as possible to bring over. New Zealand is known as a relatively expensive country, and there’s no point in selling your items only to have to replace them again after your move. But what about your beloved car?

Why import a car to New Zealand?

There are a few reasons you might want to import a car to New Zealand. The first is if you live overseas and want to bring your car. Cars are expensive in New Zealand, and if you’ve recently bought the perfect vehicle, there’s no reason you can’t ship it over.

The second reason is there isn’t a lot of choice in New Zealand compared to other markets. Most cars are imported from Japan, with a smaller selection of European cars available. You might want a particular model that isn’t sold here or is very expensive.

The third common reason for importing a car is if you own or want to buy a classic car. These cars often become your pride and joy, and it’s understandable not to want to part with them.

Is it affordable to import a car to New Zealand?

The cost is always relative depending on your experience, but importing a car to New Zealand is much more affordable than many think.

If your car is worth less than $10,000NZD (and is a Japanese or standard European model), it’s probably not worth the cost. You’ll pay more in fees to get the car here and can purchase the same or similar model for the same price.

New cars are cheaper overseas, and it can often be worth buying a new model and shipping it to New Zealand.

What costs are associated with shipping a car to New Zealand?

There are quite a few costs associated with shipping a car to New Zealand. These include:

  • Shipping. The most significant cost will always be the shipping freight to get your car from Australia, Europe, Asia or America to New Zealand. The further away you’re shipping from, the more expensive it will be. Roll on roll off is generally the cheapest freight method over container shipping.

  • Insurance charges. You must take out insurance so that you are covered for damage or loss of your vehicle during transit. While shipping a vehicle isn’t necessarily high risk, there are still lots of things that can go from. Accidents can still happen even if you ship with a highly reputable company.

  • Storage. If you can’t pick up your vehicle when it first gets to New Zealand, you’ll need to pay for storage at the port or a port-affiliated partner. Most shipping companies can only ship to selected ports around New Zealand. This might include Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, Lyttleton and Dunedin. If you’re located elsewhere, you must arrange pickup or storage until you can reclaim your vehicle.

  • Delivery charges. If you can’t pick up your vehicle, you can always pay a reputable company to deliver it. This can be a cheaper option than taking time off work, flying to another city and driving your vehicle home.

  • GST. You have to pay GST on the landed value of your vehicle (this is 15% of the cost of the vehicle plus insurance and freight. However, there are lots of concessions available to new immigrants or New Zealanders returning after 21 months or more overseas.

  • Tariffs. Boats, campervans and motorhomes also have to pay tariff duties.

  • Biosecurity fees. New Zealand customs has very strict biosecurity policies to prevent foreign soil or plants from entering the country. Your vehicle will need to be thoroughly cleaned before it gets here. If foreign soil is found in or on your vehicle, you must pay a cleaning fee.

Is it worth importing a car to New Zealand?

The best way to tell whether it’s worth importing your vehicle to New Zealand is to crunch the numbers. Research whether the car you want is available in New Zealand and how much it would cost.

It can take six to twelve weeks to ship a car from the UK to New Zealand and a week to ship a car from Australia to New Zealand. If you are shipping a car from far away, consider what you’ll do while waiting for your vehicle to arrive. It may be cheaper to buy a car in New Zealand.

If you are shipping a car from the United States or Europe, remember that New Zealand drives on the left-hand side. There are restrictions on importing left-hand drive vehicles to New Zealand as they are designed for driving on the right. Most must be converted before they can be imported and legally driven on the road here.

You can also save money on shipping by sending your contents and car together. This allows you to use your car as storage and pack and store items safely inside.

So, how much can I expect to pay?

The average cost of shipping a vehicle from the UK is £3,800 (a little under $7,800NZD), $2,500AUD from Australia ($2,700NZD) and $3,250USD from the United States ($5,250NZD).

You’ll also have to pay an extra 15% of the cost of your vehicle plus shipping and insurance. However, there’s a good chance you won’t have to pay this fee.

Insurance will vary, but some providers offer full coverage for 1.75% of the value you wish to insure for.

Want to save money on delivery?

Once your vehicle arrives safely in New Zealand, you’ll need to come pick it up. This can be costly if you travel from another location to the port where your vehicle is. Instead, consider hiring a trusted vehicle mover through Wise Move. They can transport your vehicle from the port to your door at a fraction of the cost it would take you to get there. Book a transport mover today.

Car transport services within New Zealand

Expert car shipping service, trusted by thousands of car owners across NZ.
Car type
Newshub Stuff SCOOP Yahoo!

What do our customers say?

Read reviews of Wise Move to learn stories from our customers.
Palmerston North
Reviewed 1 day ago
Quick, organised, friendly service. Excellent
Suzuki Swift SR
Reviewed 2 days ago
Outstanding customer service...Mark was very reassuring with me being first timer using car transport Would highly recommend... grateful thanks for care taken
Dodge DU12
Reviewed 2 days ago
The team at YHT were great to deal with, looked after the car and delivered it on time. They kept us in the loop the whole time.
Massey, Auckland
Mahora, Hastings
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Massey, Auckland
Reviewed 3 days ago
Excellent service from start to finish. Highly recommended
Henderson, Auckland
Johnsonville, Wellington
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Brilliant service on short notice. Communicated throughout the process and was punctual on delivery. Would definitely recommend his services!
Hamilton East, Hamilton
Islington, Blenheim
Reviewed 3 days ago
Excellent service, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend or use again.
Reviewed 3 days ago
Couldn't have been easier and professional to deal with. I would definitely use them again and recommend them to anyone else without hesitation. Very happy😁.

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