Why Do Foreign Cars Cost More to Repair?


A common question that comes up when considering the cost of ownership is whether it’s more expensive to repair domestic cars than imported ones. While searching for your next vehicle selection, factors like maintenance schedules, overall reliability and drivability, as well as typical repair costs, will all factor into your final vehicle decision. These considerations will be particularly interesting when it comes to luxury car maintenance comparisons, which will likely be expensive regardless of your choice of a domestic or an imported car.

Maintenance and Ownership

Ensuring that your car is expertly manufactured and can be affordably maintained is more important than ever before. Recent research has shown that people are holding onto their cars for longer now than they were only 10 years ago. Conventional wisdom from not too long ago held that imported cars tended to last longer on the road and were less expensive to keep running than cars in the domestic markets. Particularly, Toyota and Honda were thought to provide a slew of well-constructed imported cars that were also inexpensive to repair and maintain at import car service centers.

Import car companies like Toyota and Honda have been exceptions. Generally, most import cars from foreign companies are highly expensive to own. On top of that, many domestic vehicles have noticeably advanced in terms of quality in the past 10 years. When considering luxury car maintenance comparisons, having luxury cars from imported brands like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz can be incredibly costly due to the high maintenance and repair costs that are charged at foreign car dealerships and service centers within the country. These high costs can be attributed to the hassles of locating foreign-made parts, the cost of replacing such parts, and any technical knowledge required by the foreign car service center’s technicians. However, it should be noted that cars from these import luxury brands are known to be high-quality and to come installed with considerable features that make them strong choices to look for in your next vehicle search.

Lifetime Cost of Ownership

The cost of ownership for the whole life of your future vehicle is as important to consider as is the initial cost of ownership. On this point, import cars are at a slight advantage over domestic cars. The car magazine “Car and Driver” recently conducted research on the 10 cheapest cars that people can own, and found that 9 of these 10 were actually imported cars, and that half of them were from Korean car companies Hyundai and Kia. This might be a confounding result for those who don’t typically follow those companies or their vehicles, but Hyundai and Kia cars have low costs of ownership due to a combination of a cheap initial cost to purchase them and of inexpensive maintenance and repair costs.


When going over your options for your next imported or domestic vehicle, consider the cost of ownership and its lifetime maintenance and repair costs.

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