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How to Transport Cars Between Dealerships

Transporting your vehicles is an essential part of a car dealership business. Find out which option will save you the most time and money!

How to Transport Cars Between Dealerships

If you’re in the car trading industry, the process of relocating vehicles is an essential part of your business. If you’re wondering how to do it — we got you covered! Balancing costs is a talent in its own way, and that's why we rounded up the best solutions for your business.

With the right preparation and strategy, you can create a system that meets your transportation needs while going easy on the budget.

We'll help you find the best option for moving cars between cities or countries, whether you have purchased one vehicle or a whole inventory of them. Ready to dive in? Let's take a look at your options!

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How to transport vehicles between dealerships


The most used modes of transport in global freight consist of road, ocean, rail, and air freight. Recent studies show that 70% of global freight is shipped by ocean transport. Inside the European Union, road transport leads with almost 50%.

How to Transport Cars Between Dealerships


Transport split by freight mode in the EU

These statistics count vehicle transfer as well, as trucks carry every car at some point. Especially in the EU, where other modes are not as available.


Transporting multiple cars via trucks is the most flexible option. It can get your vehicles anywhere, with little to no logistical complications. Even though it’s not quite the safest option, there are two ways for you to ensure your cars reach their destination without an issue - choosing the most reliable company, and the type of carrier.

There are two types of carriers: open and enclosed. To save money, choose an open carrier. But keep in mind that this method exposes your cars to external conditions.

How to Transport Cars Between Dealerships

Closed carriers are less risky, but they’re more expensive. Think about what works better for you, calculate the cost and risks, and pick the better option. For example, we suggest that you don’t skimp on transport when transporting higher-end vehicles. 

To save even more money, ship in bulk. Most modern transporters can carry up to 12 cars, so try to optimize your transport in this way. Furthermore, buying from a company like eCarsTrade allows you to purchase cars from multiple suppliers and countries, and load them onto the truck transport at one singular location. Just think about how much money you can save by ordering cars from France, Germany and The Netherlands, but you don’t need to go to each of these countries to pick them up. Your truck transport simply picks them all up at eCarsTrade warehouse! 

If you’re considering truck transport, this is how your process would look with eCarsTrade:

  1. Find a reliable company that’ll handle the shipment or ask us for recommendations! We’re happy to share contact information of trustable transport companies our clients use all the time. 
  2. Fill out the Pick-Up Authorization with the details of the transport company you are using and send it back to us signed and stamped before the pick-up.
  3. Once you receive your car from your chosen transport company, inspect it to make sure everything is alright and send us a signed and stamped CMR as a confirmation that you received your car.


 eCarsTrade PRO TIP - Make sure the transport company notes the condition of the car on the CMR at the time of pick-up, including any damages/problems that are not in the pictures. In case you notice anything on the car after delivery, this will allow you to have all the necessary information to figure out what happened and where. On that note, take the time to learn more about the company that will be transporting your car and make sure you have really good communication with them.


How to Transport Cars Between Dealerships


Cargo ships are a reliable and efficient method of transporting cars for car traders who need to transport their cars over bigger distances and to different continents. 

Our eCarsTrade clients who ship cars outside of the EU and over long distances use shipping companies that are able to take care of the entire shipping process - from car pick-up (by truck) and taking care of all export and procedure documents, to loading the car onto the ship and unloading at the destination port. If you need recommendations of companies who provide this kind of a service, get in touch with us!

Cargo ships are equipped with modern technology that ensures cargo security, such as GPS tracking and real-time analytics. This prevents theft and increases the chances that your cars will arrive safe and sound. Due to their size and freight capabilities, they'll save you more money than other methods if you’re transporting a car from Europe to, for example, Senegal or Santo Domingo.

There are a few things to consider, of course. For starters, vessels take a long time to reach their destination. Weather and other external factors can make the trip a bit more complicated.

In case your car gets damaged in transit or during offloading, obtaining insurance claims may take longer.

If you’re looking for a safe and cheap way to transport a big inventory of vehicles to more distant destinations, cargo ships will be the way to go.

How to Transport Cars Between Dealerships


If you’re a small trader who needs an occasional transport of a single car, there’s also the option of picking the car up yourself and transporting it to the country of destination. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this option!

Pros of transporting the car yourself:

  • More control over the process.
  • Deciding on routes and driving hours that suit you.
  • Potential savings from not having to pay for third-party transport services.

Cons of transporting the car yourself:

  • Time-consuming - time spent on the road and in preparation of all the necessary documents. 
  • Renting or buying proper equipment to transport the car (tow dolly or car trailer).
  • It could be dangerous if you don’t have the proper safety measures, confidence or experience towing another car behind you, and you could end up damaging the car.
  • Costs of gas, road tolls and accommodation along your route.

The main things you should keep in mind are the amount of effort and the potential risks of damaging your car. To cut costs, plan your route in the most efficient way. You’ll have to account for gas money, food, and accommodation expenses, as well as the time you’ll lose by driving to the dealership and back.

How to actually transport a car yourself?

The answer is - car trailers! When you are trailer towing, you are putting the car on a separate trailer. This doesn’t put any stress on the transmission or the tires, and is generally safer than other types of towing. On the downside, it can also be expensive to rent, if you don’t already have a trailer of your own.

 eCarsTrade PRO TIP - Make sure you have all the necessary documents for this kind of pick-up. You will have to provide a document proving that your transport trailer is owned or rented by your company. You can also send us an official CMR document and you’re good to go!

How to Transport Cars Between Dealerships

Transporting a car with a car trailer

Keep in mind that there’s always a risk of damaging the car during transport. Shipping your vehicle comes with its own set of perks, but there is a higher chance of unexpected situations on the road you might not be prepared for.


 eCarsTrade PRO TIP - If you want to drive your newly-bought car back yourself, don’t forget about transit license plates! You can obtain these through sprecialised agencies in the country where you buy the vehicles. Or you can use your own company plates if they’re valid in the countries through which you’ll be driving. This option will allow you to pick the car up and deliver it much faster, and you can test drive it right away. On the flip side, it will obviously add mileage on the car.

If you’re doubting about it or not feeling up to the challenge, it’s best to use third-party transport like a truck. You can always ask you eCarsTrade account manager for advice and we’ll be happy to share our expertise with you!


To make the process of deciding which vehicle transport to use easier, here are a few tips we've learned in years of dealing with this topic.

→ Truck transport is the way to go

Here at eCarstrade, we highly recommend hiring a truck transport company to transport your purchased vehicle from our premises in Belgium to your destination. It’s the most flexible and reliable way to move your vehicles within the EU.

Trucks can reach almost any destination for a reasonable price and your cargo will be safe. You’ll have little to no problems with logistics and there are plenty of companies to choose from. Just ask us for recommendations and we’ll help you decide!

How to Transport Cars Between Dealerships

→ Buy more than one car

Buying from a company like eCarsTrade allows you to purchase ex-lease cars from various countries like Germany, France or The Netherlands. Instead of organising transport to each of these countries to pick up your newly-bought vehicles, eCarsTrade picks them up for you and transports them to our facilities in Belgium. That way, all your vehicles arrive to one singular location and your truck transport pick them up all at once.

Just think about how much money you can save by ordering multiple cars from various countries, but you only need to go to one place to pick them all up. Your truck transport simply picks them all up at eCarsTrade warehouse! 


Gather multiple quotes from transport companies

Finding the best deal can be a challenge, but if you get more than one quote, you can compare prices and go for the best deal.

Ask about insurance. Reputable companies will compensate you for damages during transport. Check their Google reviews and see what their past clients say about their experiences. Lastly, be sure to ask about hidden fees in advance. These include fuel surcharges and terminal handling fees (THFs). By asking upfront, the final amount won't surprise you.


→ Save money where you can

There are some extra tweaks you can do to further optimize your deals!

The easiest tweak is to buy from dealerships that are located on or close to well-traveled transport routes, like Belgium. Most companies operate along the big and known European routes. If your transport company has an easy and straighforward access to its destinaton, you’ll get a better deal.

 eCarsTrade PRO TIP - It’s often cheaper and faster to buy enough cars to fill up the whole truck and transport them all at once. In this case, logistic companies won’t have to search or wait for other customers to fill up the remaining places for vehicles.


We’re here to help you

A vehicle can be transported from one dealership to another using a variety of methods. These include open and enclosed truck transport, cargo ships, and towing the car yourself using a car trailer. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option, but whichever option you choose, it all comes down to what makes the most sense to you and your business. 

In order to transport your new vehicles safely and efficiently, you should definitely research and compare all the different options before making a decision. And remember, our eCarsTrade account managers are always here to answer any questions, and give advice and recommendations for the best transport company for your needs!