Transporting a vehicle is not an easy task, and the more valuable and fragile the car is, the more challenging the logistics become. Owners spend lifetime savings to purchase a high-value automobile, also referred to as luxury cars, which only makes it more understandable why driving it long-distance or entrusting it to a stranger does not sound ideal. Indeed, the challenge of shipping luxury cars requires many decisions and responsibilities.
Hiring a professional luxury car transportation company is a sensible solution. Licensed, trustworthy carriers ensure a smooth shipment with the necessary expertise and equipment. From the collection of your vehicle to its arrival, our professionalism and extensive experience facilitate a seamless delivery and maintenance of the same good shape as at drop off. In this article, we compiled a list of our favorite luxury cars we have shipped as well as some basic tips on transporting your prized vehicle.
What is a Luxury Car?
Luxury cars are generally designed with high-quality materials and easily stand out among regular cars. They are classified into four groups: entry-level, mid-level, high-end, and ultra. Examples of mid-level cars are Jaguar XF, Mercedes-Benz E-class, and Lexus GS; ultra-luxury cars include Maserati, Maybach, Rolls Royce, and Bentley. Rare vintage or exceptionally fragile cars also fall into the luxury category.
There are many brands and models that produce excellent automobiles with sleek designs and modern technology but still do not make the luxury cut. These include Acura, Cadillac, Audi, Infiniti, BMW, Benz, and Lexus.
A general rule states that luxury cars, or any automobiles worth $50,000 and over, should be transported in an enclosed trailer. While this is definitely advisable, many owners can be concerned with the price, and understandably so. The cost of an enclosed trailer shipment is approximately 40% to 60% higher than on an open carrier. While the difference is considerable, statistically, open carrier transportation is safe. When is it acceptable, and even advisable, to save a buck on luxury car shipments? Below, we list some of our favorite luxury cars we have shipped so far in 2020 and offer suggestions on how to transport such automobiles.
Our Favorite Luxury Cars and Suitable Shipping Methods
Here are four categories of luxury vehicles based on values and appropriate shipping methods for them:
Luxury Cars Valued Below $50,000
The following vehicles and SUVs are priced below $50,000 and could be shipped on open-air trailers. While some may argue these do not quite fall into the luxury category, there is no question that the superb quality standards of these brands and models call for special care and consideration. If you are shipping your automobile in inclement weather or across the country, enclosed containers will provide better protection. Otherwise, consider open shipping.
- Lexus NX
- Acura RDX
- Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
- Lexus ES
- Volvo XC60
- BMW Series 3
- Mercedes-Benz GLC Class
- BMW X3
- Mercedes-Benz C Class
- Cadillac XT5
- Tesla Model 3
- Audi Q5
- Lexus RX
- Infiniti QX60
- Acura MDX
Luxury Cars Valued Between $50,000 and $74,000
Mid-level luxury cars in this price category could, potentially, be shipped open transport in good weather conditions and shorter distances but we suggest you opt for an enclosed trailer for guaranteed protection. Our recommendation grows stronger the closer the value is to $75,000. Oftentimes, companies and drivers do not feel fully confident to transport expensive automobiles on open trucks due to liability reasons. This category calls for an individual approach to each car and we recommend weighing different factors and talking to a carrier agent. Examples of previously shipped cars in this category include:
- Infiniti Q70
- Acura MDX
- Lexus GX
- BMW Series 5
- Mercedes-Benz E Class
- Mercedes-Benz GLE Class
- Acura RLX
- Audi A6
- BMW X5
- Mercedes-Benz CLS Class
- Lincoln Navigator
Luxury Cars Valued Between $75,000 and $99,000
Uncertainties clear away once the car enters this price category. High values require high protection. If your vehicle is worth between $75,000 and $99,000, it is inadvisable to spend only 50% on protection. Moreover, as mentioned before, to avoid liability issues, many carriers will refuse to accept an open trailer request for a high-end luxury car. Owners of the following models, or equivalent, should consider an enclosed trailer.
- Cadillac Escalade
- Lexus LS
- Tesla Model S
- Tesla Model X
- Audi A8
- BMW 7 Series
- Lexus LC
Luxury Cars Valued Above $100,000
Exceptionally valuable luxury cars, labeled as ultra, should only be handled by highly skilled professionals with knowledge, experience, and necessary tools. Open carrier option should be swept off the table completely and virtually no shipping carrier would agree to it. And for a good reason. Top-tier luxury cars should most definitely be transported in enclosed trailers. These include:
- Maserati Quattroporte GTS
- BMW Alpina B7
- Mercedes-Benz AMG SL 63
- Acura NSX
- Maserati GranTurismo
- BMW i8
- Jaguar XE SV
- Mercedes-Benz Maybach S 650
- Bentley Mulsanne
Choosing the Right Auto Shipping Carrier
Picking a professional, experienced, and licensed auto transporter is essential even when shipping standard, non-luxury vehicles so when it comes to your highly valuable car, the importance only goes up. Hiring the right company gives you peace of mind as the shippers will handle all matters associated with transportation in a professional manner.
What kind of criteria should one consider when choosing a car transport company? Below is a basic but crucial checklist that can help you with your selection:
- Licensing and Registration. License, insurance, and bonds are all features a decent shipping carrier should possess and present upon request. All automobiles and transporters are mandated to be registered with the Department of Transportation which issues them a DOT and MC numbers. Ensure your company holds the necessary documentation and is able to present proofs to you. Knowing your car will be handled by a licensed, trusted company and arrive in good shape is key.
- Insurance. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, auto shipping carriers must possess liability insurance. While there is a required minimum, the amount of insurance coverage varies from company to company. Be sure to find out how much coverage a transporter holds prior to booking a shipment. To prepare even better, make sure you are on the same page on the deductible amount, too.
- Ask for Quotes and Details and Avoid Cheap Carriers. Reach out to auto shipping carriers and ask for quotes and further details. If possible, talk to an agent directly and ask questions regarding their service. Trustworthy, experienced companies always have agents ready and willing to speak to clients and provide the necessary information and advice. Safety is your utmost concern when it comes to luxury cars and money spent on safety is a sound investment. Every industry has companies that lack reputation and attract clients by offering very cheap quotes. Remember that you receive the quality of service you pay for. Shy away from taking unnecessary chances, especially when it comes to your premiere automobile.
- Reviews. A quick way to double-check the quality of a company’s performance is to look up customer reviews. Feedback from old and existing clients can make it clear if the experience you are seeking aligns with that the company delivers.
Luxury Car Shipping Costs
On average, it costs $1 per mile to ship a luxury car. The longer the distance gets, however, the lower the price. Shipping a top-end vehicle through 1,000 miles can cause a price to decrease to $0.75, for example. Since luxury cars are of much greater value than regular automobiles, an enclosed container method is more appropriate but costlier by around 40% to 60% than open-air shipping. Additional features such as door-to-door service or a guaranteed delivery date will add further costs. Overall, it is hard to predict an actual quote as there are many factors that influence the final number. These include:
- Distance and Location: these are the most important elements in determining a price. Cross-country shipments and remote locations generally tend to cost more than short-distance shipments to major cities.
- Car Model: specifications such as weight, size, value, and model of your exotic vehicle influence the quote.
- Transport Type: when it comes to luxury automobiles, an enclosed carrier would be your best choice but the final decision is ultimately yours.
- Delivery Timeframe: generally, the whole process can take up to 3 weeks, depending on the availability and shipping type. Customers looking for a faster and more convenient transport can pay extra.
When shipping a luxury car, the safety of your automobile is of utmost importance. The vehicle should receive specialized, professional care and protection during the transportation to prevent damages. This emphasizes the need to select the right auto hauling company that is trusted, reliable, and experienced. Professional transporters have shipped thousands of luxury vehicles and possess the necessary knowledge and equipment to handle your exotic vehicle with extra care and give you peace of mind, no matter what shipping method you choose.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.