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Ship a Car Internationally or Overseas

Are you relocating from the USA to another country? There are many advantages to shipping your car overseas to most countries. When does it make sense to send and when is it better to buy one in your new home?

Ship a Car Internationally or Overseas

One of the first questions that people ask when they are preparing to move overseas is: “is it worth it to ship a car overseas?” Many of our clients also ship automobiles to Canada and Mexico, and though these aren’t overseas they are still different countries, and permanently shipping your car there must be done properly.

For most of our clients, an international relocation is a great opportunity to save lots of money by sending a car to your destination country. Depending of course on your destination, there are many countries in the world that impose severe tariffs on the purchase of new automobiles. In particular European countries have very high purchase taxes on new cars. They also have a high VAT, or value added tax, which is very similar to the sales tax charged in the USA. However, the typical USA sales tax is 6%, and the typical European tax is 21%. Do the math and you will quickly find that 15% difference itself is a bigger savings than the cost of shipping.

The Real Savings when Shipping Car Internationally

Compare the price of a brand new RAV4 Hybrid from Toyota. This is one of the most popular models that we are asked to send overseas.

A new one costs $28,000 in the USA. In France, the same model goes for € 35,800, which works out to about $11,000 more than the cost of the car in the USA. Depending on the exact combination of your point of origin and destination, the cost of sending this car overseas is around $3000, with a few additional costs in the destination country for making your car appropriately road worthy in Europe. Please note that you will probably want to purchase insurance against damage to your vehicle during shipment, and this is an additional cost. It is optional, but even if you purchase it, you are still saving more in shipping a car than your entire shipment might cost!

Regulations in most countries require that cars be between six months and five years old in order to import them. For you, this means that you will achieve the greatest savings if you purchase a new car six months before your travel date. Regulations usually also state that the car should have been in your possession for at least six months. Note that you can send a used car, but it still should have been in your possession for six months before shipping.

Which Cars should not Be Sent Internationally?

If you are moving to Europe, please take note that European countries have recently enacted laws adding additional taxes to vehicles with high CO2 emissions. These taxes can be very high. If you are moving with a SUV to Europe, make sure that you are sending a hybrid model. Otherwise you are very likely to be met with a high tax bill when your car arrives.

If you are sending a car to most African and Asian nations, this will not be a concern and you can send whatever you currently own.

If you are moving to a country where they drive on the left hand side of the road, you aren’t usually permitted to import a car (but you usually are allowed to import a motorcycle). In these countries they usually do make an allowance for the import of cars older than 30 years old that have been classified as antiques. We have had many tourists who purchase these special cars at auction or at shows while vacationing in the USA who send them back to their home countries.

Ship a Car Internationally or Overseas

There are a few countries that will require a special or specific permit for your vehicle. No matter which country you are shipping to, it is always good to contact the consulate to double check before starting procedures, as rules can change at any time, as they are now rapidly changing in Europe for CO2 emmissions.

What is the Best Way to Send a Car Overseas?

For the vast majority of our clients, the most effective way to ship your car from your current address to your new home will be as a part of the private container that SDC International Shipping will use to send your family’s belongings to your new home. This is both cost effective and requires the least amount of headache for you. The width of the shipping containers is 80 inches wide. It is quite easy to check the width of your vehicle on line. All sedans will fit into a container, as well the vast majority of SUV’s. If you are sending an automobile along with an entire household, in most cases you will opt for sending a 40’ container. If you are not sending a large quantity of household goods, a 20’ container might be enough for you.

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By Kfir Cohen

Kfir Cohen is handling global operations, cargo shipping, negotiation, and management of different suppliers around the world. He has more than 15 years of experience in the avant-garde of relocation and the sea/air freight business.
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