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How to Import Left Hand Drive Vehicles

Posted on May 1, 2015

How to Import Left Hand Drive Vehicles

There’s a world of great left-hand drive cars out there just waiting to be unleashed on New Zealand’s wonderful roads and McCullough is the perfect company to help you import them.

Converting these cars to right-hand drive is extremely expensive and often ruins the whole point of their design so that’s often not an option. But if you’re keen to import a left-hand drive, there’s a raft of legislation you have to get your head around first.

Some specialist vehicles such as hearses, agricultural or industrial vehicles and motorsport vehicles are exempt, but if you want to import a regular passenger vehicle there are strict criteria. The full list of rules and exemptions can be found here.

  1. Before going to the expense of importing a LHD vehicle, you should check very carefully that your vehicle is either belongs to one of the permitted categories or is capable of being converted to RHD. Otherwise, you may find it impossible to use the vehicle on New Zealand roads. Restrictions on a LHD vehicle are enforced when you go to register it for use on the road, not when it's imported into New Zealand.
  2. Light vehicles which are more than 20 years old can be imported providing the vehicle is Class MA, MB or MC with a gross vehicle mass not exceeding 3.5 tonnes, or a Class NA vehicle, that was manufactured in a country other than New Zealand 20 years or more before the vehicle is certified. The vehicle must not be operated in a transport service.
  3. Light vehicles which are less than 20 years old can qualify for a Category A left-hand drive vehicle permit providing:

The Transport Agency must either deem it to have historic value, or it must be a vehicle that was not manufactured in right-hand drive form that meets three of the following four requirements:

  • The vehicle (or its make, model and submodel) is identified as being a collector’s item in a commercially produced motoring publication.
  • The vehicle’s make and model and submodel has been (or was) manufactured in annual volumes of 20,000 units or less.
  • The vehicle is, and was manufactured as, a two-door coupe or a convertible.
  • The vehicle is, and was manufactured as, a high-performance vehicle.

You must also comply with the following requirements:

  • You must be a New Zealand citizen or resident.
  • You must not have received a Category A LHD vehicle permit during the two years before your application.
  • The vehicle must be registered in your name.
  • You must prove the other necessary standards for the vehicle year.

The Transport Agency issues only 500 Cat A LHD permits each calendar year.

The permit ceases to be valid if the vehicle isn’t inspected at the border or certified for entry within six months of the date of issue.

A Category A left-hand drive vehicle cannot be sold or leased within four years of its registration in New Zealand.

A Category A left-hand drive vehicle cannot be used for hire or reward or in a transport service.

For more information on how McCullough can help you import your dream left-hand car into New Zealand contact us here or call +64 9 303 0075.


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