Importing your Car

Importing your car into Australia

Quite frankly, returning expatriates and migrants will find luxury new car prices in Australia both astounding, and depressing.

The table below, based on data collected in May 2011, and there has been no perceptible change 5 years later, gives some indication of just how much more expensive Australia is, than the UK, US and even Japan. And there are no signs of improvement - one example; BMW is to shortly launch its 650i convertible in Australia and it's July pricing was $248,300. Compare that to it's current UK pricing of GBP72,625 (AUD108,490) and you will see why BMW pricing in Australia, and that of other European manufacturers, is simply outrageous.

The official reasons given for the price differences are various, and are hard to distil with any clarity, but Australia is a relatively small market which has become used to paying premium prices for imported cars. I think it's fair to say that the luxury brands sit on extremely high margins - much like other parts of the Australian luxury market. Only in very recent times has the Internet allowed an easy comparison of pricing, and happily many retailers are coming under pressure - particularly with a very strong Australian dollar that has not been reflected in prices (yet).

Australian Flag
UK Flag
Japan Flag
US Flag
Range Rover Sport V8 SC
BMW M3 Coupe
Audi TTS
Jaguar XFR
Lexus RX 450L


Cutting to the chase though, importing a car will only normally be worth the time and effort and expense, if it is an expensive car or you are sentimentally (very) attached. You also need to meet certain criteria and go through a few hoops. We recommend you don't do this yourself, if you want to remain sane, but get someone to run the figures on whether it is worthwhile and employ a specialist importation agent. Please find some summary information below and contact us if you want the details of an Australian  import agent..


When importing a vehicle, motorhome or motorcycle into Australia, the first requirement is that you are an Australian permanent resident, or plan to be. For example, if you are a UK migrant moving to Australia, you will not get your final import approval until you're in Australia and have the immigration stamp in your passport.

Only one car per person is allowed which must have been owned and used by the person for 12 months, and not have been out of that country for more than 42 days in the year that you have owned it. Anyone can import a vehicle built before 1989.

You need to apply for an import permit before the car leaves the country at a cost of $50 AUD.


The rates payable to the Australian Customs Service are:

  • Vehicles up to 30 years old:: 5% Duty + 10% GST
  • Vehicles over 30 years old: 0% Duty + 10% GST
  • 4wd 'off road' vehicles and commercial vehicles: 5% Duty + 10% GST
  • Motorcycles: 0% Duty + 10% GST

The Duty is levied on the 'Customs value' only, GST is levied on the 'Customs value' + the Duty + the total cost of shipping your vehicle to Australia.

The Luxury Car Tax (LCT) - is an additional tax levied at a rate of 33% on all vehicles (except motorcycles and some commercial vehicles) with a current GST inclusive value in excess of $57,009 AUD. LCT is only payable on the amount in excess of the GST inclusive 'break point', cars with a Customs value over £18,000/AU$43,000/NZ$54,000. This tax is being challenged at the moment for its lack of balance and fairness, but there are no signs it is yet headed for the dustbin.

Technical Requirements

Cars with CFC gas will have to be degassed and decommissioned with a certificate supplied. If not degassed/decommissioned the vehicle will need to have this done before it is released from port in Australia.

Converting a vehicle to full Australian Safety and Emission Control Standards is very difficult and expensive, but is not required if one of the following conditions is met:

  • The vehicle has been 'owned and used' for a minimum period of 12 months prior to shipment from the originating country
  • The auto was manufactured prior to 1 January 1989
  • The car was purchased new and manufactured to Australian specification/standards
  • The vehicle was originally manufactured or sold in Australia and still has its Australian compliance platefitted.

If you would like to receive a quotation on the shipping and transport cost of bringing your car to Australia please fill in the attached Inquiry Form below and provide details of where your car is currently located and the Australian capital city to which you would like it delivered.

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