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Grey Import Explained: UK Guide To Buying Imported Vehicles

Imported cars are a rare sight on the roads. Getting such a car is always an exciting experience. Brand new luxury imported cars are way more expensive. Hence people tend to move towards used import cars which are pretty affordable and give the satisfaction of buying an imported vehicle. However, buying a used car is not the same as buying it from a showroom or a used car market. Let us get in detail about the following to get a better idea about import of vehicles and how to buy grey import cars legally.

  • Types of imported vehicle
  • How to buy an imported vehicle into the UK?
  • Is it safe to buy a grey imported car?
  • Is importing vehicles into the UK illegal?

What are the types of imported vehicles?

In simple imported cars are the ones that reach the Britain shores from some other countries. You can understand them by two-three categories

  • Parallel import cars
  • Grey import cars
  • Personal import cars

Parallel import cars:

These are cars that are imported within the country (within Europe). This type of vehicle import is more common and safe as it deals with everything within the country. You can also finalize the deal very quickly. Nevertheless, it is mandatory to check all the paper works are legit enough to buy the imported vehicle. Also, check if a car is imported really and everything about the warranty and conditions.

Grey import cars:

Grey imported cars are nothing but vehicles imported from Japan or any other part of the country. According to the statistics of SMMT nearly 135, 775 cars are imported from Japan. Getting a used imported vehicle from Japan are very popular and available for purchase. If you have made your mind to buy a grey imported vehicle, there are so many factors you have to consider. You have to make specific changes in the car to meet the legal requirements to drive peacefully inside the UK.

For example, Vehicles from countries like India will have odometer readings in Kilometers, whereas in the UK, it is denoted in miles. Hence it has to be changed to meet the legal requirements of the UK. You should take all these considerations so serious that you will not be penalized by the DVLA.

UK car imports by destination in 2018:

Country In numbers
EU27 1,618,444
Japan 135,775
South Korea 107,680
Turkey 79,937
South Africa 48,432

The above table represents the imported vehicles classified based on the top first five destinations in 2018. The records are collected from the smmt.co.uk report. During 2018, the EU leads car imports in the UK, representing 77.8% of the total. Japan and Korea covered 6.5% and 5.2% of imports.

Personal import cars:

As the name implies, it will not involve any third-party or dealer or importers. Direct purchase of any foreign vehicles without the help of any importers is known as a personal import. However, it needs a lot of time, patience and groundwork single-handedly. If you opt for this kind of import, you should gather a lot of information about the vehicle, such as the accident history and other crucial information.

How to buy an imported vehicle in the UK professionally?

If you are permanently bringing a vehicle into the UK, then you should undergo the following procedures to do it legally. After getting the car via personal or grey import, it is mandatory to perform the steps.

  • Once the vehicle reaches the UK, it is mandatory to inform the HMRC, including all the essential vehicle details. It will help the HMRC to use this information for VAT processing. If you have delayed the process within 14 days, HMRC will notify this as a late notification penalty. As a result, DVLA will also delay the process of registering the vehicle.
  • If the vehicle has any payment like VAT left unpaid, make sure you pay them before the registration process.
  • To register the used imported vehicle within the DVLA, you have to send a filled-in V55/4 form either online or by post, along with the registration fee and the vehicle tax. (Tax for vehicle differs depending upon the type of fuel or other classes).
  • If you have not provided all the needed documents, then your application will be declined.
  • After all the documents are submitted, the address and name will be verified. It might be your driving license, passport or birth certificate.
  • Once you follow all these steps in the hierarchy, you will successfully register the vehicle and can drive the car legally in the UK.
  • After all, don’t forget to ensure the vehicle if you are taking the car out.

Grey import cars

Is it safe to buy grey import cars?

It totally depends on how well you research and take the process seriously. Buying a car within the country’s showroom or used car market is like eating a piece of cake. On the contrary, imported vehicles are not that easy to buy. If you follow all the safety precautions and make a car import check in the UK, then you are all good to buy an imported vehicle without any hesitation.

Through the import check from car analytics, you will know if the vehicle has been imported or not. For other crucial things like the car’s accident history, stolen status, etc., you should contact the importer or the dealer from whom you have got the vehicle.

Is importing vehicles into the UK illegal?

No, it is not an illegal activity to import a vehicle from any other part of the country into the UK until and unless you follow all the rules and regulations of the UK government. Getting foreign cars illegally into the UK is incredibly offensive, and you will be caught easily by the police. Some fraudsters will buy illegal foreign vehicles and sell them in the used car market. You should be aware of such activities.

Though you cannot get a free car import check from car analytics, you can still get it for less than two pounds( basic review £ 1.99), saving you from thousand pounds.

It is always a good idea to speak with experts and professional importers to get a happy purchase. Remember, you should research and find the best importers to get the finest imported vehicle.