10 of the UK’s favourite imported cars

Car lovers can’t always buy their favourite vehicles in the UK. Katie Royals takes a look at which imported cars are the most popular in the UK.

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

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The UK is not short of petrol heads. There are a lot of people that love their cars, either to drive or as collectors’ items. But not every make and model of car is available in the UK. Ever wondered what the UK’s favourite imported cars are? Look no further, this article has all the details.


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Why are some cars imported?

The UK automotive industry is worth over £78.9 billion in revenue every year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. This puts the UK in the top 10 countries in the world in terms of market share for new car sales.

It would be reasonable to expect, therefore, that you could buy most – if not all – makes and models in the UK. This is not the case.

Some car manufacturers have decided not to sell their latest models in the UK, leaving UK car lovers with no choice but to import these vehicles if they want to own them.

This means that UK motorists have missed out on some of the most interesting and exciting cars, unless they’ve arranged to have them specially imported to the UK. This is a process that can be highly frustrating and time-consuming.

It was only as recently as 2016 that UK drivers were finally able to purchase the iconic Ford Mustang in the comfort of their local showroom – 52 years after the car was first released.

What are the UK’s favourite imported cars?

Bristol Street Motors took a look at the latest data from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and drew some conclusions.

Ranking the imported cars by number of UK registrations, the Chevrolet Corvette came out on top. There are currently 1409 registrations in the UK.

However, there is good news for lovers of American carmaker Chevrolet. Autocar reported in May that the new Chevrolet C8 Corvette Stingray will go on sale in October this year, with the coupe and convertible version both being offered to the UK market.

In second place is the Japanese Daihatsu Copen Xplay, with 1292 registrations.

This car hasn’t been sold in the UK since 2011 after the credit crisis reportedly made the car unsustainable to sell.

The Opel Ampera-E is the UK’s third favourite imported car, with 1211 registrations in the country currently.

The full top 10 is as follows:

  1. Chevrolet Corvette – 1409 registrations
  2. Daihatsu Copen Xplay – 1292 registrations
  3. Opel Ampera-E – 1211 registrations
  4. Chrysler Sebring – 1105 registrations
  5. Honda Legend – 692 registrations
  6. Nissan Skyline – 620 registrations
  7. Lincoln Continental – 450 registrations
  8. Suzuki Cappuccino – 163 registrations
  9. Chevrolet Camaro – 149 registrations
  10. Cadillac CTS – 119 registrations


What lengths do people go to for imported cars?

Importing cars isn’t as simple as popping to your local dealership and driving off with your chosen car.

These cars rack up a lot of air miles just to get to you.

The vehicles are usually imported from the USA, France, Germany or Japan. Clearly, the number of air miles your chosen car is responsible for will vary depending on whether it comes from a European country or further afield.

Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that the Daihatsu Copen Xplay has the largest total number of air miles in the UK, based on the total number of registrations. Coming from Japan, this car is responsible for 7,671,896 miles.

The Chevrolet Corvette is second. Coming from both the USA and Japan, this vehicle is responsible for 5,159,758 miles.

In third place is the Chrysler Sebring. This USA-manufactured car racks up 4,046,510 air miles.

Are imported cars expensive to insure?

Buying an imported car is only the start. If you actually want to drive it, you’re going to need to get insurance too. As imported cars tend to be more expensive than the average car, your insurance may be equally more expensive.

There are different types of car insurance in the UK, so it’s always worth checking to make sure you have the right type for you. If you don’t think you’re getting the best deal, check out this car insurance comparison tool for more options. 

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