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“A1 Auto Transport became synonymous with top-notch service delivery, unfailing punctuality and constantly preoccupied with customer satisfaction.

See Article— USA Today

What Car Is Cheapest to Ship?

Published by Tamar Hela.

What Car Is Cheapest to Ship?

Every penny counts when you're moving a car across the country or even overseas. You might wonder, "What car is cheapest to ship?" — and it's a question with a surprisingly complex answer. In this article, we'll break down the variables influencing shipping costs, from weight to size, and present the options for both domestic and international routes, ultimately revealing the most economical car to ship. Here we go.


What Determines the Price in Car Shipping?

When considering the price of car shipping, several factors come into play, all contributing to the final cost. Here are some key factors:

  1. Type of Vehicle: Bigger and heavier vehicles generally cost more to ship due to the space they occupy and the weight they add to the transport.
  2. Shipping Options: Choosing between terminal shipping and door-to-door delivery will affect cost. Terminal shipping may be less expensive but less convenient.
  3. Type of Transport: Open transport is often the cheapest option, whereas enclosed transport, which offers more protection, comes at a premium.
  4. Shipping Distance: Longer distances increase fuel costs and potentially require more logistical planning, raising the cost.
  5. Delivery Location: Shipping to and from rural or remote areas may be more expensive than urban locations due to accessibility.
  6. Seasonality: Shipping prices can spike in peak seasons like summer months and dip during the winter.

Here's a visual breakdown to put it simply:


Impact on Cost

Type of VehicleHigher for larger vehicles
Shipping OptionsTerminal shipping usually cheaper
Type of TransportOpen transport typically less expensive
Shipping DistanceLonger distances cost more
Delivery LocationUrban areas may offer cheaper rates
SeasonalitySummer months could be pricier
New Deals are now available for shipping all types vehicles using our vetted reliable shippers. Compare price estimates & Unlock up 25% off.

Does Weight Play a Factor in Shipping Cars?

Weight definitely plays a critical factor in shipping cars. Transport costs are directly affected by the type of vehicle being shipped, as heavier vehicles require more fuel for transportation. In the shipping industry, auto transport carriers evaluate shipping quotes considering the vehicle's weight, among other factors.

Generally, smaller and lighter cars are cheaper to ship than larger, heavier ones. For instance, shipping a compact sedan across the country will typically cost less than transporting a large SUV or truck. This is because heavier vehicles take up more space and add weight to the transport trucks, potentially limiting the number of vehicles that can be hauled at once.

Does Size Play a Factor in Shipping Cars?

Size also plays a crucial factor when it comes to shipping cars. For instance, compact cars, yet again, tend to be the cheapest to ship due to their smaller dimensions. In contrast, larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks often incur higher transport costs, as they take up more space on carriers.

Here is a simplified breakdown:

  • Compact Cars: Cheaper shipping due to smaller size and weight.
  • SUVs/Trucks: More expensive due to larger dimensions and heavier weight.

Transport companies typically utilize auto transport carriers that have limited space and weight capacity. Therefore, smaller vehicles allow carriers to optimize their load and transport more units at once, reducing the shipping quote per vehicle.


Options for Shipping a Car Domestically

When considering shipping a car domestically, there are various options to weigh in to manage costs effectively. First, assess the shipping quotes from different transport companies to gauge the average cost. The type of vehicle significantly affects shipping costs, with smaller, more compact cars typically being cheaper to ship.

Two primary shipping options exist: terminal-to-terminal shipping or door-to-door delivery. Terminal shipping can reduce the price, but it requires the car to be dropped off and picked up at specific locations. Door-to-door offers greater convenience at a potentially higher cost.

The choice between open and enclosed transport also impacts the price. Enclosed transport provides more protection for the vehicle but comes with a premium, whereas open transport is more cost-efficient.

Options for Shipping a Car Internationally

Shipping a car internationally requires careful consideration of various options to ensure cost-effectiveness and safety. Terminal shipping is a popular choice, where the vehicle is dropped off at a designated location and shipped to a terminal near the delivery location. This option can save costs compared to door-to-door services.

When selecting shipping options, common types are the Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) and container shipping. RoRo is economical for operable vehicles driven onto the ship, while container shipping provides more protection and is ideal for high-value or non-operable vehicles.

Factors impacting shipping costs include the type of vehicle, type of transport (open or enclosed transport), and the destination. Costs tend to rise in summer months due to higher demand, making this a peak season.

What, Actually, Is the Cheapest Car to Ship?

A sedan's smaller size and lighter weight allows auto transport carriers to maximize space and reduce fuel cost.

For instance, a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla are examples of sedans that would be cheaper to ship due to their modest size. These popular cars are well-regarded in the shipping industry for being cost-effective options.

And, the smaller you go, the (generally) cheaper the final price to ship a car will be.

FAQs about shipping cars at the best price

What's the Cheapest Car to Ship?

The cheapest type of vehicle to ship is typically a small, compact car. These vehicles are lighter and take up less space on a carrier, which reduces transport costs.

How Can I Get the Best Shipping Quote?

To get the best shipping quote, it's crucial to compare prices from multiple auto transport carriers. Additionally, opting for terminal-to-terminal shipping and being flexible with your delivery location can result in lower costs. Booking in advance and avoiding peak seasons, like summer months and winter holidays, can also help you secure a cheaper rate.

What Is the Average Cost to Ship a Car?

The average cost to ship a car varies widely based on the type of transport, distance, and shipping options. Open transport is less expensive than enclosed transport and is a good choice for those looking to lower shipping costs. Cross-country transport is more costly than shorter trips, with prices influenced by fuel cost and the route's demand.


When Is the Cheapest Time to Ship a Car?

The cheapest time to ship a car is typically during the off-peak seasons, which are the fall and spring. During these times, the demand for shipping services decreases, and auto transport companies often lower their prices to attract business. Avoid shipping during the summer or winter months when prices tend to increase due to high demand.

Small Cars = Big Savings

So, as you’ve learned in this article, shipping a smaller car is often the cheapest type of vehicle to ship. Honda Civics, Toyota Corollas, Mini Coopers, etc., are all examples of “cheap” cars when it comes to auto transport. But no matter what type of car you need to ship, be sure you choose a reliable auto shipping company with great reviews and clear policies and pricing.

Transport your small (or large!) vehicle with peace of mind by calling the experts at A1 Auto Transport.

For over 25 years, we've helped thousands of customers safely transport their cars across the country or overseas without incident. Our team handles every car shipment with extreme care and vigilance from start to finish. You'll receive real-time updates and have complete visibility of your car’s journey the entire time.

Whether small or large, let A1 Auto Transport handle your car shipping needs. You won't find better service, coverage, or peace of mind anywhere else. Get started with your vehicle shipment today by calling or visiting us online. With us, your car is always in safe hands.

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Tamar Hela is one of our featured writers at A-1 Auto Transport, researching everything from AI auto shipments out of China to what paperwork is required to move long distance. We can safely say she's become well versed in all things shipping and logistics while making the information easy to digest and understandable. 

Tamar has been a copywriter for over 16 years and was trained in the 7-Figure Copywriting Accelerator course through American Writers & Artists, Inc. (AWAI). She's also an incredibly seasoned copyeditor, having previously been the Chief Editor and Publishing Director for Cosby Media Productions, based in Atlanta, Georgia. 

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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
★★★★★ choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

Luis Rodriguez
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A1 Auto Transport... From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

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Cristine Benoit
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There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them... Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport.

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We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd,
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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