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Will Buying an Imported Vehicle Save me Money?

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Motroing Budget Car Buying A Car

Given the current cost of buying a car, many consumers are turning to imported cars for a cheaper alternative, especially if they have a motoring budget that they need to stick to. On the one hand, you can often buy a car cheaper abroad, but the process is not without its pitfalls. Many imported cars come from Japan, as they are one of the major car producers for cars that are driven on the same side of the road as in the UK. This article discusses whether imported cars are really a better option when it comes to motoring on a budget.

Types of Imported Car

There are two types of imported car: grey and parallel. The former refers to cars that are imported from abroad without a UK spec and are not EU approved, while the latter refers to cars that are imported with a UK spec and are EU approved. Grey imports tend to result in increased insurance premiums, and you may need to spend extra money converting certain features (such as indicator lights) to comply with UK regulations.

This obviously negates the money that you saved when you bought it, so this is not always a cost-effective option. In addition, you may find that the parts needed for complying with UK legislation are not readily available in the UK, which can further increase the cost. Parallel imports are often a lot cheaper to buy than a UK model, but you may find that it will not sell for as much as a UK model would. In either case, you need to factor in the exchange rate, which is constantly changing. Due to fluctuations with this, you could be quids in or out of pocket when you come to sell an imported car on.

Insuring an Imported Car

Insurance is available for imported cars, as they are quite common on UK roads. Insurance premiums are mostly higher than would be the case for UK models. Depending on the amount that you have to pay, this may be more than the amount that you have saved in importing a car, particularly if the car is a grey import that needs new parts to fit in with UK legislation.

Buying a car can be an expensive business these days, especially for those on a motoring budget. To get around this, many drivers have opted for imported cars in the belief that this is cheaper than buying a car in the UK. If you are going to buy an imported car, you need to do some homework beforehand to make sure that your buy is actually going to be cost-effective.

Grey imports can often have hidden costs attached to them in terms of making sure that they comply with UK legislation (which often means buying new parts), and both grey and parallel imports will almost always cost you more in insurance premiums. Because of this, you will not always be getting a better deal by buying from abroad – if you're not careful, you can end up paying a lot more than you would do if you bought a UK model.

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