Imported cars

Selling your imported car: Full guide

Last updated February 2nd, 2024

There are many pros and cons for motorists to consider when deciding whether to buy an imported car:

  • Imported cars often come with desirable features (that are not available on the UK market) at a reasonable price point. Japanese imports are not subject to tax at all, meaning there are many attractively priced models available to UK enthusiasts.
  • Imports from warmer climates are less susceptible to rust. This means that enthusiasts can often track down rare, sought-after models in great condition on the import market.
  • Unfortunately, insurance costs are often higher for imports, particularly if your chosen model is not sold in the UK.

Many car buyers are deterred from going down the import route, as they believe their imported motor will be more difficult to sell than a domestic market model, but is this really the case?

In this guide, we’ll get to the bottom of this question. We’ll also cover the best ways to sell your car when you have an import and examine whether depreciation affects imports in the same way as UK models.

Value your car in under 30 seconds

Do webuyanycar buy car imports?

Yes, webuyanycar can buy any imported car, providing it is registered in the UK.

Whether you intentionally bought an import or discovered you have by using a free car import check tool, you can sell your car quickly and conveniently with us. Here’s how it works:

  • Enter your reg number into our free car valuation tool.
  • Book your appointment at any of our 500+ UK branches.
  • Drive to your appointment. If you’re happy with the price we offer, our buyer will sort the paperwork and we’ll send the money to your bank. It couldn’t be simpler.

How to sell your imported car

Decided you’d rather sell your car privately? Here are a few things to consider:

  • Choose where to sell your car. The market for imported cars is considerably smaller than for those sold in the UK. This is partly due to the additional paperwork and specialised repairs associated with import ownership. Therefore, we’d recommend listing your import on car enthusiast websites with a specific focus on imports.

  • List your vehicle. Make sure you include all the pertinent details about your vehicle, including the circumstances in which it was imported. There are three types of imported vehicles in the UK: ‘parallel’, ‘grey’ and ‘personal’ imports. Make sure you know which category your car falls under and list it accordingly.

  • Prepare to answer questions. Potential buyers will likely have plenty of questions to ask, such as how and why your vehicle was imported. The more accurately and confidently you can answer these questions about your car, the more likely you’ll be able to sell it.

  • Prepare to haggle. Some buyers will be determined to bring down the asking price of your car. They may cite some of the disadvantages of owning an import (e.g. difficulty finding replacement parts and higher insurance costs). Make sure you’re prepared to negotiate. You should also decide on the lowest price you’re willing to sell your car for and stick to it.

Do imported cars lose value?

A car’s resale value is determined by numerous factors, including its age, mileage, condition – and even colour.

Import status can also affect second-hand value. For instance, some imported vehicles won’t have the same safety features as their domestically sold counterparts. This can reduce their resale value, as these missing features may incur extra costs and paperwork for the buyer in the long run.

Maintenance for imported cars can also be more difficult since it may be harder to locate replacement parts. What’s more, some mechanics won’t work on imported cars as they are built differently to those on the UK market, which increases the risk of complications during repairs.

With all this in mind, you should expect your imported car to be worth at least a little less than its nearest UK equivalent when the time comes time to sell it.