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Thread: Car Import Experience/Advice/UK "Cat S" cars?

  1. #1
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    Default Car Import Experience/Advice/UK "Cat S" cars?

    Hello all, we were just in NZ for Christmas, and one of the family turned up with a 1992 Chevy pickup truck they'd just imported--pretty cool to see on NZ roads. This got us to talking about the process of bringing cars into NZ, as I'd been thinking of bringing our quite reliable and trustworthy 2005 Saab along with us. The car isn't worth much on the books, but I've kept it completely sorted, and I'd be happy to drive it at least another ten years. The one big "problem" the car does have is that it has quite a lot of surface rust on the chassis, some bubbling on the wheel arches, and the subframe looks quite rusty, though you can happily whack it with a hammer all day.

    But, my conversations and my follow-up research suggest that this isn't going to fly with the NZ import authorities, as they appear to be very obsessive over any rust on cars. This seems a bit nutty to me, as every time I've been to NZ I see lots of unsafe-looking old bangers driving around quite literally with gaffer tape holding on their body panels, but I will concede none of them looked to have rust. So, based on what I've read, as much as it saddens me, it might be time to let the Saab go when we do [finally!] move.

    This got me thinking about what I could replace it with, and I was looking at listings for the CitroŽn C4 Cactus in the UK. I found a couple of top spec UK cars listed at great prices, but they're insurance write off's that have been rebuilt. I'm not shy about driving one of these (or a rusty old Saab, for that matter!), but am wondering if this would also be an issue with importing. If anyone has any direct experience importing a car that's been rebuilt, or can provide any additional recommendations at all, I'd be very interested to hear them.

    And, for what it's worth, I had a look at C4 listings in NZ. There were two on trademe (both Diesel, gross) and were more than twice the price of the top-spec UK petrol cars that I'm looking at.

  2. #2
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    I have no idea about importing cars and the rules and regulations around that. But-be aware that prices for parts and repairs of European cars are quite a bit higher than for the Jpanese ones, mainly due to the sheer amount of cars around.

  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    Even if you investigate those regulations and become sure in your own mind that the car involved could meet them, the thing with having and using European cars in NZ is that there are fewer people who know them inside out, and fewer dealerships that carry the parts in case anything needs doing, and you pay more for your specialist, despite the inconvenience. There was a friend of my son's who had a small ding in a car park which led to a SIX MONTHS' wait while the wing or door panel or whatever it was came by sea. It's up to you whether you love the car enough!

  5. #5
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    The question will be whether you can get "compliance" for a rusty, old imported vehicle, or for a previous insurance write off. ( you might be ok there id its been reinstated in full to manufacturers specs). You might find that the costs to bring it up to NZ standard make it beyond economic repair. Your local VTNZ test centre, or NZTA (if you are still in NZ would be the best place to have a discussion), otherwise see the fact sheets, link provided by others.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the comments, everyone. I do understand that European cars are far less common in NZ and the hazards associated with that, and I've reviewed the requirements listed by NZTA, but didn't see anything written there regarding rust or rebuilt insurance write-offs.

    ChrisMwn does have the essence of the question...I'm trying to gauge personal experiences on importing those types of vehicles. It seems as though the authorities are quite strict on vehicles with any corrosion (that is to say, the type of vehicle that I would have considered "new" when and where I grew up!) based on some anecdotal evidence, but if anyone has been through the process with a rebuilt or repaired car, I'd be interested to hear how it went.

  7. #7
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    This is an old post from a few years ago you might find helpful

    https://www.enz.org/forum/showthread.php?t=41738

  8. #8
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    Thanks, had a look at that thread already. I didn't see where or if "UKNZ" wrote about the outcome, but, the photos he posted up really didn't look that rusty. The frame on my Saab looks far, far worse (and yet continues to pass the German TŁV every year, letting me drive it 240km/h on the Autobahn!) If that car wouldn't qualify or would need serious work, then I'm probably going to scrap the idea of bringing any used car into the country at all!

  9. #9
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    The NZ rules have a strange (to European eyes) attitude to rust - from what my son says, if any visible rust is THERE, oh dear, oh dear, it has to be dealt with, alert, alert, although of course some surface rust is not at all dangerous for the integrity of the vehicle and the strength of the components, hence cars with such having no problems in Europe.

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