Converting American SUV, Pickup, and Muscle Cars for the United Kingdom: A Buyers Guide


Comprehensive Guide to Transforming American SUVs, Pickup Trucks, and Muscle Cars from Left-Hand Drive to Right-Hand Drive for the United Kingdom

Riding an American SUV, Muscle Car, or Pickup Truck is an enthralling experience and a dream for many. Yet, for UK residents, there’s an additional twist – the conversion from left-hand drive (LHD) to right-hand drive (RHD) and the vehicles’ homologation to UK standards. The ultimate authority in this field, Autogroup International, makes this transition smooth and efficient.

The Journey to Your Dream Vehicle

Your dream of owning a right-hand drive American muscle car, SUV, or pickup truck is not far-fetched. Whether you procure a brand-new vehicle from North America or source a left-hand drive American car within the UK, the conversion process is feasible. It could take around six months to complete for a new car from North America, or 3-4 months for a car already in the UK.

Note: Procuring directly from Autogroup International who source directly in North America, although it takes a little longer, will save you money and allow you to select your dream vehicle.

The Process at a Glance

The process of left-hand drive to right-hand drive conversion and registration in the United Kingdom involves

  • Sourcing the specific vehicle in North America.
  • Shipping the LHD vehicle to the UK.
  • Importing into the UK, paying duty, and completing UK homologation.
  • Registering the vehicle in the UK.
  • Shipping the vehicle to Autogroup International in Sri Lanka for right-hand drive conversion.
  • Bringing the vehicle back to the United Kingdom.

Upon its arrival in the UK, the car undergoes several modifications to meet UK highway standards. These changes primarily focus on the signal, fog, and brake lights, as the configurations in US-manufactured cars differ from those required in the UK.

The stunning right-hand drive 2024 ‘Chairman’ Yukon Denali XL with its B6 Armouring is only available from Autogroup International, and all vehicles are fully customised for each client to reflect personal preferences and tastes.

UK Customs Clearance

Once your vehicle has passed through UK customs, notifying HMRC within 14 days of the car’s arrival is necessary. After settling VAT and duties, the vehicle then undergoes homologation to meet UK regulations. Finally, the car can be registered with the DVLA.

Lighting Conversions

Headlight Adjustments

All LHD vehicles imported into the UK must have their headlights adjusted or replaced to meet UK standards, including beam patterns and intensity levels. Cars equipped with automatic leveling headlights may require manual leveling systems for compliance.

Taillight and Brake Light Modifications

These lights must emit the correct colours and intensities as per UK regulations and should be visible under various lighting conditions and angles.

Installation of Side Markers

As most US spec cars lack side markers, UK regulations mandate the inclusion of side repeaters located in front of the passenger and driver-side door. These should match the sequential pattern emitted by the rear indicators.

Auxiliary and Fog Lights

Any additional lights, like fog lights or auxiliary lights, must also meet UK lighting standards in terms of colour, intensity, and positioning.

Electrical and Wiring Modifications

UK homologation often involves rewiring the car for proper connectivity and functionality of the lighting system. This step includes adapting the car’s wiring harness to accommodate UK lighting components and configurations.

IVA Test – A Crucial Step

Before the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) approves the vehicle’s registration, passing the IVA test is mandatory. Most UK homologation requirements center around the “American lighting conversion”, which involves adapting the US car’s lighting systems to comply with UK regulations and standards.

UK Homologation and Registration

Once the UK homologation process and testing are complete, the registration process can commence. This step involves submitting all the necessary paperwork to the DVLA. An application for Individual Vehicle Approval is needed, and once processed, the vehicle receives a unique registration number.

DVLA Registration

Registering involves completing forms and providing supporting documents. The DVLA may also request to inspect the vehicle. After submitting your application, it can take up to six weeks to receive your V5C registration certificate.

Right-hand drive 2024 GMC Yukon Denali

Conversion to Right-Hand Drive

Once the UK Registration is complete, the vehicle is exported to the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Assured right-hand drive conversion facility of Autogroup International in Sri Lanka. Here, an experienced team of professionals undertakes the complex task of converting the vehicle from left-hand drive to right-hand drive before shipping it back to the UK.

Why Choose Autogroup International

With a proven track record of over 30 years and over 4500 vehicles converted, Autogroup International stands as a world leader in left-hand drive to right-hand drive conversion of American SUVs. Their vast experience in importing American cars into the UK and UK homologation makes them a reliable partner in your journey.

Trusted for 30 years with a talented team of 170+ crew

Importing Dream American Cars into the UK

Importing your dream American vehicle into the UK may not be a straightforward process, but with experts like Autogroup International, this intricate task can turn into a hassle-free experience.

Whether your preference leans towards muscle cars, a powerful SUV or pickup trucks for the United Kingdom, understanding the process of left-hand drive to right-hand drive conversion is crucial. With the right partner, you can navigate the complex path of UK homologation for US vehicles and finally own your dream car.