Buying a car Guide
Buying and selling a car in New Zealand is a straightforward process similar to many other countries.
There are a large number of car dealerships in and around Auckland; Auckland’s Greenlane and Great North Road are a great source of new and used car dealerships, although dealerships can be found in other areas as well. There is a large selection of imported brands available, including Hyundai, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Honda, Holden, Peugeot, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, BMW and more. The only cars manufactured in New Zealand are small production run sports or kit cars, such as Saker Cars.
When you buy a new car, the dealer will not charge you more than the displayed price and there are no hidden charges and fees to haggle over. That doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate — you can still press the dealer to offer you the best price possible.
A new car costs from around NZ $15,000 for a small hatchback, and family cars average around $30,000. At the higher end of the market it’s possible to spend $100,000+ on a specialised import.
A basic, five-year-old family car can be bought for around NZ $10,000. Sports cars, luxury cars, sport utility vehicles (called “SUVs” in New Zealand) and pickup trucks (called “Utes” in New Zealand) may cost more, as do newer cars. Older cars cost less – sometimes much less.
When buying a used car you should always check its history to ensure it is not stolen and there is no outstanding finance attached to it. Several websites are available to help you do this online, two of the most popular are:
Another good idea that can save you throwing away money on a lemon, is to get a pre-purchase inspection. Both the AA and VTNZ offer pre-purchase inspection services.
You don’t need to provide any particular documentation to a seller when buying a car, however, there are some paperwork formalities that must be completed. When you buy a car, both you and the seller must notify the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) of the change in ownership within seven days of the sale.
The seller needs to enter the buyer’s details in the bottom section of the certificate of registration and either post it, or take it in person to an NZTA office. The seller should then give the buyer the rest of the certificate of ownership as part of handing over the vehicle. It is also wise to get the seller to give you a receipt proving that you’ve paid.
Once you have the partial certificate, you should head along to an NZTA office to complete the change of ownership. This will cost you $9 and you will need to provide some ID when doing this, usually a New Zealand driving license is sufficient, but if you don’t have one, then some other form of photo ID should be used. You can also do this step online but will need a NZ driver’s license as proof of ID.
If you buy your car from a dealer or agent, they will likely complete most of the process for you. But it never hurts to ask to make sure everything is taken care of.
To confirm a vehicle is not reported as stolen and is properly registered and licensed, you can complete a Request for Motor Vehicle Details (form MR32) at an NZTA office. The fee is $15 (incl GST).
All necessary forms and information can be found at http://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicle/registration-licensing/buying-selling.html.