23 May

Personal Imports

European Motorhome Suppliers

For direct import to NZ or European use before shipping

Using one of our established UK contacts we can help you:-

  • Source the make and model motorhome of your choice at the best possible price.
  • Have it ready to go on your arrival (If you wish to use it in the UK/Europe).
  • Register it for use in the UK/Europe.
  • Organise it’s shipping back to New Zealand.
  • Look after all import formalities.
  • Arrange the NZ TA compliance procedure.
  • Oraganise electrical and gas changeover and compliance.
  • Organise any necessary modifications to meet the Self Containment rules, including certification.

We provide a custom service tailored to your personal requirements and quote for individual circumstances.

*Insurance availability for use in the UK or Europe varies with individual circumstances and eligibility should be established before purchase.

We are intermediaries. We work for you.

Be aware there are important changes to the NZ emission regulations in late 2013 and during  2014 and to the brake rules in 2105

There are some makes and models which you should not bring to New Zealand. Contact us before you commit to a purchase!

 If you’d like us to source a new vehicle on your behalf, either for use in Europe before shipping, or for direct export to NZ, we’re happy to help with this. Our buying power means that even with our fee you’re still likely to pay less in total than if you simply purchased the vehicle directly yourself – and you’ll have a lot less worry! We can help you find the model of your choice at the best possible price, organise it’s tax-free purchase in the UK and arrange it’s export and shipping to New Zealand. We are service providers – “Intermediaries” – and we work for you, acting on your behalf and with your interests as our only concern.  Contact us to discuss your particular requirements and we’ll give you an obligation free quote. If you already own a vehicle in the UK, or have bought one ready to export, or you simply prefer to source one yourself, we can still assist with the procedure and organise everything required from drop-off in the UK to the on-road procedure here in NZ. We’ll even have the electrical warrant done and the self containment sorted.   Our fee for assisting with the importation of your own vehicle  is charged in two stages as the transaction progresses. The first payment of 50% is due when the vehicle is ready for shipping in the UK, the remaining 50% is due when everything is completed in New Zealand.

A substantial purchase like this from the other side of the world should only be made through known and trustworthy sources. We have built relationships with several long established and reliable motorhome suppliers in the UK. Because we’re independent we can shop around to source your chosen model at the best possible price. Our independence also means we can source many makes and models. We have no vested interest in any particular marque and we won’t try to influence you to buy one type ahead of another.

Electrical and gas compliance, and Self Containment to NZ standards

It’s not just getting it on the road that requires certification to NZ standards. If you ever want to plug in to the mains the 240v electrical system has to be compliant and issued with a certificate after inspection. The gas appliances also require certification which meets the Ministry of Energy’s requirements too. This isn’t about looking at the colour of the flame on the stove top to see if it’s burning OK, it’s about providing a paper-trail of documentation right back to the testing laboratory that first approved the appliance on behalf of the manufacturer. (Note that from 2013 it is illegal to sell any gas appliance in New Zealand which has not been certified. This includes gas appliances fitted in motorhomes sold privately). We can do all of this for you so that your vehicle is ready for use when you collect it from us. In addition to gas and electrical certification we can carry out whatever modifications are required to meet the NZ Self Containment requirements and have it inspected and a Certificate issued. Costs for these services vary from one vehicle to the next as they all tend to be different but we’re happy to quote when we know what is required for your particular motorhome.

Comprehensive Service

Our aim is to remove all the hassle from the importation procedure and present you with the vehicle when it’s ready for use in NZ. In most cases we hand over a motorhome which is not only on the road, but also has a four year Electrical Warrant of Fitness, all the gas appliances certified and a four year Self Containment Certificate.

Using it in Europe?

If you wish to collect your vehicle in the UK for a UK or European trip before shipping we can have it in a “ready to go” condition awaiting your collection. (Have a look at our “VAT-free European Trips” page). In some circumstances we can even have you met at the airport or a nearby railway station on your arrival. Our aim is to make your purchase as hassle-free and pleasant as possible. There are restrictions on what you can legally drive in the UK/EU using an overseas driving licence and you should familiarise yourself with these rules, and other requirements, before deciding to go ahead. A good starting point for information is the Euro Travel page on this website. Please note that all information supplied is given in good faith but should be checked with the relevant authorities.

If you’re heading for continental Europe take a look at our section about Euro Travel.

If you’ve toured Europe and you’re ready for home…

If your trip is complete we’ll organise the vehicle’s shipping back to New Zealand using specialist shippers. It will be carried below deck, out of the weather, on a purpose built vehicle carrier. On arrival in New Zealand we’ll take the vehicle through Transport Agency’s compliance procedure and we can register it and deliver it to you if you wish.

How long does it take?

From the time you leave your motorhome in the UK we can generally have it in New Zealand and on the road in eight to twelve weeks, dependent mainly on compliance requirements on arrival.

What’s the saving?

If this is done correctly, with depreciation allowances for the time you’ve used the vehicle before NZ taxation is calculated, you’re likely to make a substantial saving compared to the retail price of an equivalent model new in New Zealand – and you’ve had your transport and accommodation taken care of whilst you tour Europe!

You could do it all yourself…

It’s true that you could organise all this yourself but there’s a surprising amount of time involved. Even for us, with our established connections and knowledge of the system there are many hours of paperwork, many phone calls and faxes, and lots of emails to ensure it all goes smoothly.

For example, there’s the paperwork to avoid British VAT. Before shipping you may have to find a place to have the vehicle steam cleaned, source a reliable shipping agent, organise Bills of Lading etc.

Is it FOB or CFR on the ship?

Where’s the best place to insure it whilst in transit?

What do you need for customs and MAF clearance when it arrives in NZ?

Is it best to use a Customs agent – do you know where to find one who’s reasonable?

If you’ve decided to go to Europe to use the vehicle you’ll be doing all this whilst you’re 12,000 miles from home, travelling around and difficult to contact.

And this is just the beginning, you haven’t even started with the complications of NZ certification. Motor homes are classified as modified vehicles and attract special attention from the NZ Transport Agency. Recent rule changes have made motorhome importation and certification much more complex than it was even quite recently. You’ll need specification sheets from both the base vehicle manufacturer and the motorhome builder. If the chassis was made by a third party, such the German company AL-KO you’ll need specifications from them too. Some of these documents may not be in English and will need authorised translations. It can all get very stressfull!

We can look after all this for you.

Just one error in this complex procedure could cost you many times our fee

A word about imported motorhome compliance in New Zealand…
Compliance is becoming more and more complex. It doesn’t matter that the company that built your vehicle builds ten thousand a year to European standards – if it doesn’t display the correct standards plates and numbers the NZTA will consider it to be a “Low Volume Vehicle” and may require it to be inspected by a specialist engineer. This procedure differs depending on the maximum gross weight. Vehicle specifications are constantly changing and occasionally NZ requirements are out of line with European standards. Sometimes with minor modification this can be easily rectified, sometimes it can be extremely expensive and some things can;t be fixed at all – like emission standards. Obviously it’s wise to avoid models requiring extensive alteration. Besides the cost in dollars it can take many months to make the changes and gain certification. Compliance has become a minefield of complex requirements. If you’re thinking of going it alone we strongly recommend you do your homework very carefully in this area. Make sure you choose a vehicle which requires only minor modification for New Zealand compliance. There are some vehicles which don’t comply and cannot be made to do so at any cost. Importing one of these would be financially catastrophic.

What about used motorhomes?

We can access used vehicles, but because of the tax concessions enjoyed only on a new motorhome purchased in the UK and exported from the EC buying ‘nearly new’ can be more expensive than new. Generally, only vehicles older than about three years are cheaper than new but there are a lot of variables and there’s no hard and fast rule. Talk to us if you wish to consider used vehicles. We have access to a large range.

In mid 2010 the NZ regulations regarding emission standards were relaxed for new immigrants or returning residents who had been outside NZ for more than twenty one months and who wished to import a vehicle which they had owned for more than twelve months.

Contact us for more details.

Telephone or email us and we’ll have a look at your plans. We can discuss the best way to approach everything to suit your personal requirements. We pride ourselves in giving an individual service. Once you’ve arrived at a decision about the make and model you require we’ll get back to you with a reasonably accurate costing which can be finalised when you confirm your order.

We look forward to being of service, and hope you’ll allow us to help.

Contact Castle European now – Click here


The information given  on this website is based on the opinions of the author and readers act on this information at their own risk.
It is recommended that all readers check this information independently before using it.