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How Much Does It Cost to Import Cars, Motorbikes, & Caravans?

Posted on January 31, 2023

How Much Does It Cost to Import Cars, Motorbikes, & Caravans?

A car, motorbike, or caravan is a significant investment in and of itself. Automotive shipping costs may become a cause of concern when trying to move these vehicles to where you are. If you’re feeling frustrated, don’t fret—we’re here to make this easier for you.


So, just how much does it cost to import cars, motorbikes, or caravans to NZ? We explore this here, covering the various costs for each vehicle, so you know what to expect.


Importing a car

When importing cars to New Zealand, costs will vary depending on your vehicle’s make, model, size, and more. For instance, you’re paying for the shipping but must also pay the total landed cost or any expense when your car arrives. In general, you may need to set aside a budget for the following:


  • Shipping fee
  • Marine insurance
  • Storage charges
  • Duties, taxes, GST, and government charges
  • On-road costs (vehicle compliance or registration),
  • Delivery costs
  • Cleaning foreign soil
  • Import processing, customs brokerage, and logistics service


Importing a motorbike

Regarding motorbike shipping, most models are transported in containers or cases through a RORO or Roll-On-Roll-Off sailing service. For example, we can arrange a MAF-approved wooden crate for your motorbike, ship it loose in a container, or transport it via a pallet RORO.


When your motorbike arrives at the port, shipping lines will charge you for handling your vehicle. But there are also clearance costs to take care of in New Zealand customs. Here are the services you may be required to pay for when your motorbike arrives in New Zealand:


  • Port and shipping line charges
  • Transport to warehouse and container unloading
  • Customs clearance
  • NZTA Inspection
  • Quarantine cleaning
  • Fumigation


Importing a caravan

One of the most affordable ways to import a caravan is through container shipment. Caravan transportation via container shipment will vary depending on your caravan’s length, width, height, make, and model.


Take note that in some cases, the A/C needs to be removed from the top, ensuring it fits in a container. A caravan must also have less than a quarter of fuel in the tank to be shipped. Check out our caravan shipping key tips for more specifics.


Taxes & Duties in NZ

When importing vehicles to NZ, expect to pay GST or Goods and Services Tax unless you meet all the GST-exempt criteria. GST is payable at 15% on the landed value. You can calculate this by adding the cost of the vehicle plus insurance and freight. The only time that you don’t have to pay duties and GST on vehicles is if you have the necessary documents and the following:


  • NZ Passport
  • Current NZ residence visa or permit
  • Current permanent residence visa, including resident return visa issued by the NZ government
  • Current work visa valid for a year or more
  • Current work visa or permit issued under the Skilled Migrant Category of Long-Term Business Visa or Permit category
  • Current visitors’ visa or permit valid for three years or more
  • Have been living outside of NZ for more than 21 months and is a returning NZ Citizen
  • Owned and used all the goods before importing them here with you.


Shipping vehicles to NZ has never been more convenient!

Importing a car, caravan, or motorbike can be daunting on the pocket, especially with so many costs to consider. A vehicle’s make and model, your current location, shipping method of choice, and your intended destination all affect this. 


As a reliable vehicle importer with over 20 years in the industry, McCullough is here for all your shipping needs. Our team can help you through the vehicle shipping process step-by-step so that you know exactly what you’re paying for.


McCullough offers professional vehicle shipping services to destinations worldwide. We can ship your vehicles to New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and the USA. Whether you’re relocating or temporarily moving your vehicle, we can help you. Best of all, we offer free quotes so you can determine the most affordable and practical vendor for you. Ready to start? Request a free quote today!

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