How to Export Cars from India to the UK

14 days ago   •   5 min read

By Silverbird Content Team

It’s time to bust a myth.

We might not immediately think of India as a car-producing country, but this is about to change.

India is set to rank third globally in exporting automobiles by the year 2026, exporting 9 out of the 50 vehicles it manufactures every minute.

According to The International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA), India ranks fourth among the top car-producing countries in the world. India churned out 4.40 million cars in 2021, behind China (26.08 million), the United States (9.17 million) and Japan (7.85 million). Indian-made cars are sturdy and handle rough roads well.

Car makers are racing to grab the lion’s share of the Indian electric car market. Now is the time for ‘Made in India’ cars to shine.


This article at a glance

India is set to be the third-largest car-exporting country in the world, with Maruti Suzuki India Limited, Kia India and Hyundai Motor India leading the way. Their largest markets range from Mexico to UAE. We’ll go through everything that you need to know for exporting cars from India to the UK — from knowing your commodity codes to getting an EORI number.


3 facts about exporting cars from India

Fact 1: Top 10 cars exported from India
According to The Economic Times, the top three Indian export car makers at the end of the 2022 fiscal year were Maruti Suzuki India Limited, Kia India, and Hyundai Motor India.

If we break down by car models, the first three spots were all dominated by cars made by Maruti Suzuki: the Dzire, Baleno and Swift.

The Maruti Suzuki Dzire

Photo source

Dzire debuted in the top 10 ranking in 2022 and overtook all other models to take first place. The Maruti Suzuki model recorded a whopping 301% export growth compared to the previous year.

The next two spots were dominated by Maruti Suzuki cars, namely the Baleno and Swift. 45,332 Balenos and 32,862 Swift cars were exported in 2022. Maruti Suzuki had another model at the ninth spot, its S-Presso.

In the fourth spot was Kia Seltos, with 31,793 exports. Hyundai took fifth (Verna), seventh (Creta) and tenth (Grand i10) places. Volkswagen and Nissan held the last two spots in the top 10, with their Vento and Sunny at sixth and eighth places.

Rank OEM Model Exports in FY22 Exports in FY21 % growth
1 Maruti Suzuki Dzire 48,047 11,985 300.9
2 Maruti Suzuki Baleno 45,332 20,859 117.3
3 Maruti Suzuki Swift 32,862 13,030 152.2
4 Kia Seltos 31,793 32,201 -1.3
5 Hyundai Verna 31,099 31,635 -1.7
6 Volkswagen Vento 30,603 25,011 22.4
7 Hyundai Creta 29,747 24,151 23.2
8 Nissan Sunny 29,663 28,504 4.1
9 Maruti Suzuki S-Presso 27,322 21,939 24.5
10 Hyundai Grand i10 23,877 18,561 28.6

Data source

Fact 2: Volume of export vehicles from India
Passenger vehicle exports from India saw a jump of 43% in FY22 compared to FY21. 577875 units were exported from India in FY2022, out of 3,650,698 total passenger vehicles produced. That means India exported almost 19% of all cars it manufactured! In FY21, it sold only 404,397 vehicles abroad, bearing the brunt of the 2019 economic slowdown and the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

Fact 3: Indian car exports markets
The Observatory of Economic Complexity website reported that in 2020, India exported USD 4.7 billion worth of cars. These are the primary Indian car export markets:

  1. Mexico ($986 million)
  2. United States ($770 million)
  3. Saudi Arabia ($565 million)
  4. South Africa ($487 million)
  5. United Arab Emirates ($228 million)

India's automobile industry will rank top three globally in engineering, technology, production, and exports by 2026. The automobile sector is predicted to boost India’s GDP by 12% and create 65 million jobs. Transitioning from fossil fuel to complete electrification of cars dominates Indian government discussions.

For India to achieve this, new materials must be used to manufacture electric cars, and resources optimised. They would also have to invest more in obtaining green standards and high-efficiency certifications. More importance is predicted to be placed on car maintenance and after-sales services.

Importers and exporters should take note of these trends. You could be the link in importing sophisticated car accessories, fulfilling Indian consumer demand. Or, you identify new markets interested in acquiring Indian-made electric cars.

Exporting cars from India to the UK

Steps to bring goods into the UK from any country

Data source

Generally, the above steps outline how to import goods into the U.K. from any country, including India.

If you are a commercial dealer importing cars from India into the U.K., ensure that you have these documents in order:

Customs authorities use commodity codes to identify the goods you bring into the U.K. according to their product types. Commodity codes dictate the rate of duty and tax you have to pay and sift goods which adhere to legal and safety laws.

Businesses with a taxable turnover exceeding £85,000 annually must register for VAT. VAT registration is optional for companies with less than £85,000 yearly turnover. VAT, or Value-Added Tax, is the tax charged by VAT-registered businesses on almost all products and services sold in the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom’s Driver And Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has the V55/2 scheme for authorised VAT-registered commercial traders. Non-VAT-registered businesses importing from India (and outside the EU) need to fill in specific customs forms, and you can find more details here.

The Economic Operator Registration and Identification number is a code for tracking and registering customs information in the EU and the U.K. Online registration for an EORI takes a few days. You still need an EORI when using a courier or freight forwarder service.

India to UK car import duty and VAT rates

Cargo imported to the U.K. is charged both VAT and import duty.

Cars imported into the UK from outside the European Commission are subject to 10% import tariffs, calculated on the bill of sale (buy price) and freight costs. VAT is a percentage of the total cost of goods, freight costs, and duty paid. The standard VAT rate is 20%. Some new car models enjoy zero per cent duty.

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Exporters are often held down by a slow, sluggish financial system, spending their precious time chasing late payments — not doing business.

Silverbird is a one-stop payment solution for international traders. We offer cross-border payment and international business accounts backed by data-driven, AI-powered KYC technology.

If you are an import exporter seeking to send and receive payments hassle-free, contact us today.


Author: Syahirah Aiman
Illustration: Kate Faldina

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