Here we focus on the costs of car shipping from Japan to the UK. I’m going to cover roll on, roll off shipping because this is the most commonly used method. For more information on car shipping, have a look at this post on car transport. If you’re interested in the costs of shipping cars in containers, feel free to let me know in the comments section below and I’ll write about it.
How is the car shipping cost calculated?
Shipping is calculated on the volume of space occupied by the vehicle, so is priced per cubic metre. Prices are around $140 per cubic metre for shipping a car from Japan to the UK at the moment (summer 2023).
Car shipping is commonly invoiced in US dollars, so exchange rates and natural market fluctuations will influence the prices I’m about to describe. They are correct at the time of writing, but please use them as a guide only. To illustrate this point, the current rates are nearly double those when I first published this article.
How many cubic metres does your car occupy?
Calculating the volume of your car is straightforward: just multiply length, width and height (all in metres). This will give you a number in cubic metres. Then all that remains to do is multiply this by the shipping rate per cubic metre, as indicated above.
Worked Example – Toyota Alphard
Here is a worked example using a fairly large vehicle, the Toyota Alphard. In particular I’ll focus on the first generation Alphard: this is the most commonly imported one at present, due to many of them being over 10 years old (read more about this here).
A quick search tells us this car measures 4865 mm long, 1830 mm wide and 1935 mm high.
4.865 x 1.830 x 1.935 = 17.23 m3.
$140 x 17.23 = Car shipping for this vehicle from Japan to the UK would cost $2412.
Using the current rate of $1.26710 to £1 (this is from my Wise account), this would make a shipping cost of ~ £1915.
Things to remember
The above illustration is only a guide.
The price per m3 can vary. Exchange rates can vary. Both of these can influence the final price you pay.
The shipping company might use different measurements to work out the amount of space occupied by your car.
Container shipping may be cheaper, especially if you’re shipping more than 1 car.