So many used cars were imported in 2020

The Renault Captur was one of the most popular cars of 2020 when it comes to importing used cars

And, of course, we also immediately include exports.

In these first days of the year, we are busy looking ahead, but especially looking back. Bovag has new figures for us today. Now we can also see how it went last year in terms of import and export of used cars.

Occasion sales

How many used cars were sold in the Netherlands last year @jaapiyo report on Sunday. There were no less than 2,025,309, more than 50,000 more than in 2019. In fact, there were more than ever. It has never happened before that more than 2 million used cars were purchased in our country. The occasion farmers had little to complain about in 2020.

First lockdown

Does this also mean that more used cars have been imported? No. It was an erratic year as far as import figures are concerned, but bottom line, no more second-hand goods were imported than last year. This is mainly due to the first lockdown, with April as the low point.


Because used cars are more popular than ever, more was imported from June than last year. However, that was not enough to compensate for the severe dip in the spring. Ultimately, 216,688 used cars crossed the border, a decrease of 5% compared to 2019. The year before, there was also a decrease.


The strongest fallers were – not entirely surprising – second-hand diesels. They were imported 37% less. Hybrids and electric cars, on the other hand, were brought in a lot more often. This category increased by almost 50%. Little has changed in terms of countries of origin: the top three are still Germany, Belgium and Spain.


There are of course also occasions that have crossed the border in the other direction. There were 273,545. This was also a decrease compared to last year. In 2019, this number was 9% higher. The decline in exports was mainly due to petrol cars. The export of diesels and EVs has indeed increased.

Photo: Two Capturs (many imported in 2020), spotted by @suzukibelona

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  1. Johanneke says

    Question eh, my car was brought to the Netherlands in October 2019, but was registered in my name as of January 2020. Does it count for 2020 or 2019? Because when I do a license plate check you see:
    October: Company registered
    November: MOT
    January: this vehicle was imported to the Netherlands, registered by a private person.

    • mats106rallye says

      @Johanneke: was it registered in October or January? I would just take that date

    • exploder says

      @Johanneke: date of first registration national. That is the date on which it was officially registered in the Netherlands. In your case, 2019.

  2. yippee says

    Well, then another article with how many cars have been euthanized and then we know how much the fleet has increased / decreased by 2020.

  3. Panamera GTS says

    I was one of them. Obtained during the first lockdown and imported without physical RDW inspection. Was nice and easy. Only downside was 6.5k ticking off at the tax authorities for a 7 year old car.

    • Variomatic says

      @ mercedesbenze350cdi: that’s still a lot of money, was that according to bpm table, price list or valuation?

        • Variomatic says

          @ mercedesbenze350cdi: you have three options to determine the rest of the bpm, if you only used the declaration form then you have probably used the ‘table’ method .. don’t do it anymore: filing a declaration via price list or valuation would have made a significant difference and much lower rest bpm delivered

  4. finn1996 says

    Bought my car in Germany this summer. I have to say that I found it quite a tedious process. I had to wait more than two months for my appointment at the RDW in which I could not use the car …

    • wasp says

      just drive with the temporary license plate? I often imported cars from Germany and just drove around with the export license plate… although in Belgium, but fascinating. In Belgium it is very simple to import a car by the way. Apparently it is a bit more difficult in the Netherlands. Their problem then; gwn will continue to drive on a German export license plate. there is nothing they can do against those dogs from RDW

      • Variomatic says

        @wasp: this is allowed in NL here for a maximum of two weeks and you must report this online to the tax authorities in advance

    • Variomatic says

      @ finn1996: I think that was due to backlogs due to the first lockdown, usually you don’t have to wait more than one or two weeks. You can also check online which station in NL has a place first, which changes throughout the day.

  5. Variomatic says

    Official brand importers now also import on a large scale because the BPM makes new cars too expensive and everyone is looking for young gasoline occassions. Pon collects trucks full of cars from Spain and Eastern Europe, all young ex-rental cars with few kilometers. In the advertisement or showroom they then neatly state that it concerns an ex-rental car, as is customary in Germany (and legally required), they just do not use it. Fortunately, the RDW does register this, only when you open such a free Carfax report on Autotrack at one of the many Polos that Pon offers through its dealers, it becomes clear what the country of origin is and that it concerns an ex-rental car.

    • raoufff says

      @variomatic: so you actually just buy a nice sandwich?

      • Variomatic says

        @raoufff: no, otherwise impeccable cars, often less than a year old, but you should just report that I think. If the price has been adjusted, ex-rent is not an issue, I think ..

    • renskuhh says

      @variomatic: Quite a lot of brand dealers do this nowadays, many premium brands also (not necessarily ex-rental cars but yes)


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