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Does the dealer delivery charge really include international shipping costs?

Dealers often claim their ‘delivery’ charge is high because it includes the cost of shipping from Europe, the US or Asia to Australia – but the reality is very different

Mitsubishi Triton is one of the best 4X4 utes available – especially in the higher model grades


Mini Cooper 3 door hatch 1.5-litre – preferably manual transmission:

My Local mini dealership in Brisbane is asking $3990 dealer delivery, mini Australia suggests $2500. The Local dealer claims the dealer delivery fee comprises the sea freight/land transport form UK factory, to Brisbane, Australia.

I’m highly doubtful of their claim.

Please advise. – Allyn


Dealer delivery is a bullshit charge – an entrenched industry rip-off. $4k ‘delivery’ on a $30k car – you’ve got to be kidding. The industry generally charges about $2000 on mainstream cars, and heaps more than that if you’re too stupid to resist the proposed $15 grand on a Porsche, or $7000 on a Range Rover.

Just for disambiguation: The price does not include international shipping. That’s just classic car dealer bullshit. Get them to show you an invoice where they pay the shipping. (Pro tip: it does not exist.)

The dealer does not ship the car to Australia. The importer does. International shipping is therefore included in the wholesale cost of the car, which the dealer pays the importer when they buy the car to put it in stock, to sell to you. There is no separate shipping charge that is magically passed on. If it were, this would be the only consumer item on earth with this quaint pricing structure.

Can you imagine buying a refrigerator for $1000, only to be told across the counter that you’ll need to spring for $150 extra to cover the cost of shipping to Australia?

Can you imagine paying it without question?

Dealer delivery is a fee for registering the car, screwing on the number plates, filling the tank, detailing the car and making sure it starts and runs. (If you’re lucky.) Dealers will say it includes shipping from overseas, because otherwise the cost looks unjustifiably extortionate, which it is (especially at $4k for a friggin’ MINI). $500-$1000 is probably reasonable. Anything more is extortion in a velvet glove.

A latex-lined velvet glove. And, of course, lube is extra.

They don’t even deliver the car. You come in and collect it.

This is one of those situations where you and the salesman are not equals. You have all the power – because you have the money, and there are dozens of other cars you could buy. Make sure they know this. Offer – very generously – to pay them no more than $1000 delivery. Make sure they know you’re walking if they don’t agree, and don’t negotiate.

MINI sales are 10 per cent down so far this year, off the back of a five per cent reduction in the same period last year. They’re gagging for every sale. So, let’s be clear on who’s in the more powerful negotiating position here. Or you can just use my car buying service – we do our best to eliminate unreasonable charges like this for clients (click the red link just below. It’s obligation free, and we charge the dealer a fee, not you, if you go ahead and buy the car.)

Dealers often claim their ‘delivery’ charge is high because it includes the cost of shipping from Europe, the US or Asia to Australia – but the reality is very different

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