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Which Country Imports the Most Cars?

What's in this article?
  1. Which Country Imports The Most Cars?
  2. United States
  3. China
  4. Germany
  5. Mexico
  6. Canada
  7. Japan
  8. South Korea
  9. The United Kingdom
  10. Australia
  11. South Africa
  12. Import With Confidence
Which Country Imports the Most Cars?

Cars have become indispensable to modern life, and production and distribution have become an international industry.

More nations than ever before are importing and exporting cars due to increased global trade.

In this article, we’ll uncover which country imports the highest volume of cars and why.

Which Country Imports the Most Cars?

Automotive manufacturing and export are major contributors to global economic activity, with car makers operating worldwide.

As the demand for mobility grows each year, knowing which countries import the most cars is essential.

The top 10 countries for car importing are:

  1. United States
  2. China
  3. Germany
  4. Mexico
  5. Canada
  6. Japan
  7. South Korea
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Australia
  10. South Africa

1) United States

The United States is a top importer of cars. The country has imported around 4.7 million automobiles (2020). German and Japanese cars are the principal sources of these imports.

In addition to passenger cars, the US imports commercial vehicles such as pickup trucks and large vans.

These motor vehicles are primarily produced in Mexico and Canada, some of the United States' top global trading partners.

Top United States car imports are:

  • Toyota Camry
  • Honda Civic
  • Nissan Altima
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • BMW 3 Series
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Americans prefer fuel-efficient and affordable vehicles, and the above cars are some of the most popular choices for American customers.

For European luxurious high performance, German vehicles are the most popular.

Many American customers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz vehicles, which are imported in huge numbers.

2) China

China ranks second worldwide in auto importation, importing over 3.2 million automobiles in 2020 alone.

In addition to passenger cars, China also imports commercial vehicles such as pickup trucks and large vans.

This surge can largely be attributed to China's efforts at modernizing its transport infrastructure, increased rural transportation needs, and an accompanying demand for vehicles in these rural regions.

Top China car imports are:

  • Lexus ES
  • BMW Series 5
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Honda Accord
  • Porsche Macan
  • Kia Soul

Most Chinese car imports originate in Japan or South Korea—two top sources for such vehicles.

They also value many German brands because of their luxurious, high-performance vehicles. BMW and Mercedes-Benz vehicles remain among the most desired choices among Chinese customers.

These cars arrive primarily in four Chinese cities. The capital of Beijing and Shanghai are among them. Hong Kong and Shenzhen follow next.


3) Germany

Germany is one of the primary car-importing sources worldwide. In 2020, Germany exported over 5 million cars to other countries.

Many German cars are highly sought after in the US and China. They are major markets for German imports.

Germany also imports many cars due to its worldwide partnerships with French, Japanese, and American car manufacturers.

The top cars imported into Germany are :

  • Ford Focus
  • Opel Corsa
  • Renault Clio
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Honda Civic

German customers prefer cars with good fuel efficiency, comfort, and reliability.

The country is also famous for vehicles touting luxury and high performance. The above cars are some of the most popular choices for customers in Germany.

These cars commonly arrive in major cities like Berlin and Frankfurt. Hamburg and Cologne also receive them for being the nation's trade hubs.

4) Mexico

Mexico was another top importer in 2020, receiving over 1.5 million imported cars.

Most imports come from the US and Canada, countries sharing strong trading ties with Mexico.

Mexico also imports commercial vehicles, such as pickup trucks and large vans, mainly due to its need for transportation infrastructure development and modernization.

These imports mainly come from the US, Canada, and Japan.

The top cars imported into Mexico are :

  • Ford Fiesta
  • Chevrolet Spark
  • Hyundai Accent
  • Nissan Versa
  • Honda Civic

Many Mexicans like cars with outstanding fuel economy, dependability, and comfort.

These manufacturers are known for having reasonably priced automobiles. The models are among the top choices among Mexican customers.

Veracruz, Progreso, and Manzanillo are among Mexico's three main ports for shipping cargoes where cars are received.


5) Canada

Canada, unsurprisingly, imports plenty of cars. The year 2020 brought in more than 1.4 million vehicles.

This country imports most from its closest neighbor, the United States, although it also receives imports from Japan and Germany. These countries' advanced technology in producing high-quality cars is well appreciated by Canadians.

The top cars imported into Canada are:

  • Toyota Camry
  • Ford F-150
  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • Honda Civic
  • Hyundai Elantra

Canadian customers prefer vehicles with good fuel efficiency, performance, and reliability. These models are some of the top choices among Canadian car buyers.

And it's not just personal vehicles. Canada also imports commercial vehicles. Canadians like pickup trucks and large vans for use in the transportation industry.

Major Canadian shipping ports include Vancouver, Halifax, Montreal, and Toronto.

6) Japan

One of the main countries from which cars are imported into many other countries worldwide is Japan.

Japan exported over 4 million cars in 2020. Most Japanese cars went to China and the United States.

Japanese also import many cars due to their cooperation in exporting to many countries.

The top cars imported into Japan are:

  • BMW X3
  • Audi A5
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • Jeep Wrangler
  • Chevy Silverado

The models mentioned above are among the most well-liked options for Japanese car purchasers known for their love of luxury automobiles.

Fuel efficiency, comfort, and performance are key factors that Japanese customers look for when buying cars.

Imported cars enter Japan through the four key seaports: Kobe, Nagoya, Yokohama, and Osaka.

7) South Korea

South Korean automakers have become renowned for producing fuel-efficient and reliable vehicles that remain the go-to option among car shoppers worldwide.

They have also emerged as a leader in the car importation business to provide a growing need for their domestic customers.

In 2020, South Korea imported over 1.2 million cars, ranking among the top auto importers globally.

South Korean imports were predominantly supplied from Japan and the United States, two nations with strong trading ties with the country.

In addition to passenger cars, South Korea also imported commercial vehicles such as pickup trucks and large vans for use in the transportation industry.

The top cars imported into South Korea are:

  • Toyota Corolla
  • Nissan Altima
  • Honda Accord
  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • Ford F150

South Korean customers prefer cars with good fuel economy, reliability, and performance. These models are among the top picks among South Korean car buyers.


8) The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is one of the biggest car importers. The country received more than one million vehicles each year since 2020.

Many of these imports are sourced from the US and Japan, two countries renowned for their reliable car manufacturing and advanced technology.

The United Kingdom imports vehicles from various nations. German and American cars are among them. But South Korean cars are also rising in popularity. This makes it an attractive car-buying destination.

The top cars imported into the UK are:

  • Volkswagen Golf
  • Ford Focus
  • BMW 3 Series
  • Audi A4
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class

United Kingdom customers prefer cars with good fuel economy, performance, and reliability. These models are among the top choices among British car buyers.

In addition to passenger vehicles, the UK imports commercial cars such as pickup trucks and large vans for transportation.

9) Australia

The land Down Under is among the leading car importers. Australia imported over one million vehicles in 2020 alone.

Imported vehicles from Japan and the US are reliable and fuel-efficient, offering cost savings. Australia's automotive industry has developed quickly as a result.

The top cars imported into Australia are:

  • Toyota Corolla
  • Mazda 3
  • Ford Ranger

Australian customers prefer cars with good fuel economy, performance, and reliability. These models represent some of the top picks among Australian car buyers.

Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, and Perth are significant terminals in Australia used for car imports.


10) South Africa

South Africa is one of the major importers of automobiles, receiving more than half a million cars annually since 2020.

Most of these imports come from Japan, the United Kingdom, and the US. These countries are known for manufacturing reliable cars. But now South Africans have also started importing from South Korea.That's why it is a prime spot for car buyers.

The top cars imported into South Africa are:

  • Toyota Corolla
  • Nissan Altima
  • Honda Accord
  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • Ford F150

South African customers prioritize fuel efficiency, comfort, and performance when purchasing.

These models represent some of the country's top options among car shoppers.

Durban, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town are the most popular shipping ports. From there, the imported cars get dispersed to other African export destinations.

Import with Confidence

Cars play an indispensable role in global economics, with billions of vehicles imported and exported annually.

The United States is still a top importer. But that doesn't mean other countries are missing out. Germany, China, and Canada also import plenty of cars.

Car demand will likely expand as globalization increases, creating opportunities for manufacturers and importers.

A1 Auto Transport can deliver your car to your front door with a wide array of delivery options to suit your budget. We are international car shipping experts with over three decades of experience.

Get a free quote from us today.

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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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