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Thread: Caravan import-Anyone done it?

  1. #1
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    Oct 2007
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    Question Caravan import-Anyone done it?

    Hi, I've not been on here for an age & now find I need some information so just jumping back on to see if anyone has any information.

    We are thinking of importing a caravan & wondered if anyone has done this & has any websites they can direct me to &/or recommend companies to use. I'm sure it has to be cheaper to buy from the UK & ship it over than buy one here. We had a very brief look when we went back to the UK for a trip last May & was told they do it often & it's quite easy to sort out & it did appear we would get a lot more for our money than buying one from Trade Me.

    So any information on costs involved etc would be gratefully received. I haven't really started any research as yet apart from mowing what type I would like. If anyone could explain the import tax side of things claret than the website I looked at a while ago I'd appreciate it, we've been here coming up 6 years now so I know we will have to pay some kind of GST.

    Anyway many thanks in advance

    Lindsey

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Chch, NZ
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    I have no experience importing caravans but I can tell you information about importing a motorhome. It's only been 4 months since our campervan has been registered in NZ. There is a considerable amount of savings but that wasn't our motivating factor for buying overseas. The key reason is local NZ RV manufacturers simply do not do the level of detail done in the UK. The options aren't there and the use of latest materials too isn't available locally ; all these shortfalls and a huge price to pay.

    A caravan should have less issues in terms of NZ compliance. When you look to a motor vehicle, then it involves a lot of other issues (red flags) that could deem the vehicle un-fit for NZ public roads. Actually I can give you the experience my local friend had on his recent import of an Airstream trailer from the US. It's worth noting that the trailer hit plug and wiring may be different (they are different from NZ to US, but not sure what UK uses). In addition to the size of the tow ball / capacity size your vehicle can handle.

    To make things easy, make sure all paperwork is shown with your name and address. This will help NZ Customs (and your broker) because they don't like to see names that don't match.

    Taxes: You can't get around the 15% GST. The broker will want to see the bill of sale to work out the taxes and duties. I'm sure there will be 5 - 7% duty rate on top as NZ has an industry of RV and trailer building.

    Shipping: Get a local NZ broker that knows about shipping vehicles and trailers AND has contacts with the UK. Those that don't have connections overseas are doing it blindly. If you can put the caravan in a container, then shipping is cheaper. But then you will also need to pay for crating the container (securing the caravan inside the container so it doesn't move). In my case, our motorhome was too big and had to go "RORO - roll on roll off" rate which is the most expensive. Our Fiat Ducato RV is 6.3m long which costed $9,000 NZD from UK Southampton port to Chch Lyttleton port. Shipping is NOT CHEAP and it will never get cheap. There's less hassles when buying brand new as MAF doesn't like to see soil stuff coming in.

    If you're uncertain, speak with an "Entry Advisor"
    http://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicle/impo...one/index.html
    BE SURE you read that website clearly. Make no mistake because these guys tell me every so often, a naive person tries to import and ends up having to ship their vehicle out of NZ and re-entry with the right paperwork.

    If you don't intend to fly to the UK (like myself) and buy sight unseen, there's an element of risk of $ going a stray. Once you wire TT the funds, well, you're putting the honesty to the seller overseas. We bought through a reputable RV dealer in the UK that has a network of 12 dealerships nationwide. In addition I had my cousins living in the UK if things get a stray. Some others fly to UK to buy and incorporate the travel as part of vacation.

    There's a lot more I could add so i'll wait for more questions.

    We've listed our old van on TradeMe for those interested

    http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/List...536845&ed=true

  3. #3
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    Oct 2007
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    Nrth Wellington from Tadley UK
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    Thanks Super_BQ that's great information. I wasn't expecting it to cost that much, I suppose around $5000. I may just call on family to help out in looking for us & sending us pictures, just a shame the ones that would help are in west Wales so not the best place to get a lot of choice, this was where we looked & saw some we liked when we visited last year.

    So you used someone this end to organise the shipping? The place we visited said they have done a few to NZ before so just assumed I would organise it from that end rather than this so you've opened that one up to me, can/would you recommend the people you used?

    Taxes: You can't get around the 15% GST. The broker will want to see the bill of sale to work out the taxes and duties. I'm sure there will be 5 - 7% duty rate on top as NZ has an industry of RV and trailer building. So 15% & 5-7% on top of the sale price? I must admit I only thought there was one fee so there's another thing I've learnt.

    As you can tell I really haven't done my homework at all but still keen although looking on Trademe too at the same time just in case one pops up.

    After all this, if we were to get one I need to look at storage too as we have no room to store at our house.

    Lots to look at but we have the time at least, is it a long process do you know?

    Thanks
    Lindsey

  4. #4
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    The broker we used is in Auckland called Clear Customs (person: Jodie Parkinson). She was very helpful at a time of uncertainty because I was overseas at the time the vehicle was finished 1 month earlier than scheduled (didn't want it sitting in the dealer's parking lot for long). The issue is that in the UK, the dealer can not simply bring the vehicle (or caravan?) to the shipping dock without a 'Shipping Note'. But if you ask brokers or shipping companies in NZ, they are clueless on what a 'Shipping Note' is. Clear Customs had an agent in the UK that organised this paper work for the shipping.

    The dealer in the UK was also very organised in doing the appropriate registration paperwork. Being brand new, the vehicle needed to be registered in my name and in order to be exempt for paying VAT, this registration had to be an export title registration. This will be different to those that visit the UK, buy and use the vehicle for vacation there as the registration will be for local use too (not VAT exempt). Not surprisingly, the guys doing NZ registration were expecting a different UK registration form and don't often see one that comes in under for 'export'. But at the end, the paperwork was correct.

    So 15% & 5-7% on top of the sale price?
    Yes and the broker will know the exact classification duty rate. Don't forget the multiple small charges in broker & handling fees (ie. EDI, port fees, local transfer fees, MAF) but these all add up small relative the total vehicle cost (under $1k).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    new zealand
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    Hi there. I read with interest your experience with importing a campervan from the UK. I am currently exploring the same possibility. Can you give me the details of the Dealership you used in the UK?

  6. #6
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    Well I ended up buying one from Auckland, I costed up everything & customs confirmed my workings out & I ended up paying roughly the same price if not a little less & I got to see it before parting with my money, not sure if Super BQ can help further

  7. #7
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    Hi there. I read with interest your experience with importing a campervan from the UK. I am currently exploring the same possibility. Can you give me the details of the Dealership you used in the UK?
    The dealership in UK was Marquis Leisure Motorhomes and Caravans. http://www.marquisleisure.co.uk/
    http://www.marquisleisure.co.uk/services/export
    You may be better to deal with the Southamptom dealership which is south of UK and closest to shipping port.

    The issue about savings all depends what you're after and NZ availability. Even to this day when we travel around NZ and get many comments on where and how we bought our RV campervan because 4 berth in a van conversion platform is very rare in NZ. On most part, RV dealers in NZ won't carry it because they prefer to sell the much LARGER motorhome if you want 4 berth for similar pricing.

    As a member of the NZMCA, the prices of motorhomes in their bi-monthly magazine still ring a wee bit too high than what can be sourced direct from the UK.

    I'm not convinced local NZ build/conversions are as quality as UK / European builds. NZ labour is rather expensive on low productions vs. a much higher production level in the UK builds, in addition to more extensive R&D tests for compliancing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    If you are importing a motor vehicle, then you wont be eligible for a concession on import duty etc, unless you have owned and used it for 12 months or more. see http://www.customs.govt.nz/news/reso...Sheet%2029.pdf

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
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    HI Lindsey,

    I imported two caravans earlier this year, one for me and one for a friend. I found the whole process quite easy. I used a shipping company in the Uk (ship fromuk.com) who also arranged for the vans to be picked up, one from a dealer and one privately. They both fitted in a container so from memory the shipping costs for both was 2050 gbp. You do have to pay duty and gst. Once they arrive at your destination you simply take your paperwork to customs who give you the all clear to tow away. I took mine straight round to VTNZ had the Wof done then took it home.

    Seriously the only slight hitch was the size of my tow ball, I had to get a 50mm one for the stabiliser that most modern uk caravans come with.

    One thing I did forget was insurance, I thought it was included in the shipping but when I checked when they were on route found out that they weren't. Nervous few weeks but all was well.

    Any other help you need just shout.

    I am looking at importing a motorhome next but there is definitely a lot more hurdles with that one.

    Cheers

  10. #10
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    Hawke's Bay -New Zealand
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    The key reason is local NZ RV manufacturers simply do not do the level of detail done in the UK.
    We have owned New Zealand made motorhomes for 25 years and would not buy one from overseas. They are very cramped, floors move when you walk on them, just not built for New Zealand roads.
    Pacific Horizon, New Zealand, is one of the best.

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