Is It Safe To Buy An Imported Car?

Buying an imported car comes with certain responsibilities. Apart from making sure that your custom papers are complete and up to date, you also need to make sure that the vehicle’s overall design and structure is in line with the law of your country. For example, in some countries, the drivers’ side is usually on the left, while in others it is on the right side. So before you decide to import a car, you need to check out these things.  

Buying an imported car is quite common, as the majority of the brand of cars you know are not manufactured in the country. Take, for example, the Mercedes-Benz is made in Germany, Toyota in Japan, and Ford in the USA. So as you can see, buying an imported car is safe and common. 

If you plan on importing your car anytime soon, it is important that you know that there are three major categories of imported cars: Grey imports, parallel imports, and personal imports. 

Grey Import

Grey import cars are cars that were legally imported from an external country (mostly Japan), outside the manufactures’ official distribution channels. Most grey import cars have unique styles and designs which makes them outstanding and easy to identify.


  • They are less expensive- both the new and used ones.
  • It is part of Japanese culture to take good care of their properties, so be rest assured, that your imports will often be of good quality and condition.
  • There are no import taxes in Japan, which makes Japanese grey imports less expensive.


  • Grey imports are very hard to insure because Insurers will have to spend more time evaluating how precarious they are.
  • When they get damaged, it’s quite hard to find the parts to replace them if required, this makes it costly to repair. Furthermore, because of the car’s outstanding features and designs, they are often sought after by robbers.
  • Grey imports may need to be adjusted to correspond to the country’s safety or emission standards as they often do not because they are from outside the country.
  • They are often more powerful and have greater specifications than standard models.

Parallel import

Parallel importers buy cars directly from the manufactures’ home country or any other open market, and then resell them to end-users in Singapore. They are able to do this without having to register with the manufacturer as a country distributor. 

Most times, parallel imports have a different equipment level and nameplate from the ones sold at the country’s authorized dealerships. There are many highly recommended parallel importer in Singapore to reach out to in case you want to import your next car. 


  • They are cheaper and more affordable than the ones sold at authorized dealerships.
  • They are less expensive and easier to insure compared to grey imports. This is because insurers consider them to be at lesser risk of theft and accidents.
  • They mostly do not need any adjustment or modification as they correspond to the country’s standards and comply with its regulations.


  • Even though parallel car imports are very similar to the country’s authorized model, some of them still have a slight difference which includes the difference in trim and specification.
  • Parallel imports are often less durable as they may not be designed for Singapore petrol, weather, among others.

Personal import

Personal import is simply buying and importing a car by oneself instead of going through a professional importer. This means you will be the one to do everything involved with importing the car. This can be very stressful and time-consuming. These imported cars can either be grey imports or parallel imports based on personal preference. 


  • They are less expensive which is a consistent feature of all imported cars.


  • They are generally very stressful which is why they are often overlooked by many.
  • There is a high risk of it being previously damaged. You will need to check the inlets and Closets of the car to find any evidence of deterioration, and this may not be possible with personal imports. 
  • Accessing vehicle records such as accident, theft, and repair history may be cumbersome. Chances are that they may not be disclosed by the seller and this may lead to buying a shady personal import.

Whether you’re importing a car personally or buying from professional importers, thorough research is important. Remember to only work with reputable and popular importers alone. 

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