Copart Auction: The secret of buying cars from USA to Nigeria


Posted by: Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Share this post:

Latest news articles

Why has Copart Auction become a trend of buying cars from USA? How much is Copart auction fee? How much are Copart cars? Find out all here!


Nigerian families like to go out, and that means having a good car

1. Used car for sale from USA

It is no longer news that Nigerians prefer buying a tokunbo, or foreign used car, to buying a brand new vehicle. These "toks" make up the vast majority of cars used in the country. What is fairly new, however, are the buyers importing cars directly from the USA themselves. This is done usually through auto auction sites like Copart Auction. The hype of buying cars from USA to Nigeria can be explained and include the following:

  • Tokunbo cars bought right from USA are much cheaper than tokunbo cars offered by Nigerian dealerships. Sometimes you can get one at half the price tag at the dealerships
  • You know the real condition of the car. It is no news that many neat looking tokunbo cars at Nigerian dealerships are salvaged cars fixed up
  • You have wider options of brands, models and a variety of lines currently out of production   

Copart is a popular website Nigerian buy auction cars because basically they are cheap and reliable. Copart also provides additional services like connecting you to brokers and shipping companies that help in transporting your cars to Nigeria or working with local representatives on your behalf to quicken the process.

2. Accidental car for sale in USA

Accident cars are damaged cars for sale. They are also called salvage cars and can usually be gotten very cheap. Some of these cars do not have extensive damage. They could be just minor scratches or even damage caused by weather conditions, and so these cars can be bought, fixed, and used or sold.


Vehicular damage may be repairable even for salvage titles on Copart

Nigerians, especially local dealers, love salvage cars because they can buy them cheap, fix them up, and get a lot of profit from them by selling, or keep them for private use.

3. Copart car - How does Copart auction work?

3.1. How does Copart auction work?

Copart sells cars using an auction system. The highest bid wins the car. First, you need to be a registered member in order to bid for a car. Registered members place preliminary bids or pre-bids either before or during the live auction when the vehicles appear on the block. In the pre-bid, incremental value is placed on the vehicle before its sale. Then the pre-bid is represented at the live auction.

It is important to know that the pre-bid and live-bid could end in a tie. In this case, the live bidder is the highest bidder on that item. If your bid emerges as the highest when the dynamic countdown stops, you win the vehicle.

3.2. Categories of cars on Copart

Categories of cars which Copart offers are:

The Breaker/ Salvage category which encompasses:

  • Category B - Breaker which are cars no more meant for roads but can be dismantled for spare parts.
  • Category C - Repairable Salvage (full cost of repair is higher than the market valuation given by the seller on the incident date).
  • Category D - (full cost of repair is lower than the market valuation given by the seller on the incident date).
  • Category S - Repairable Structural (The owner refuses to repair the damaged chassis).
  • Category N - Repairable Non-Structural (No damage done to the chassis, but the owner does not repair). 


Copart categorizes vehicles according to damage and other criteria

Used Vehicles category encompassing:

3.3. What categories of cars do Nigerians buy on Copart

Most Nigerians prefer Categories C and D. The reason for this lies in the fact that most cars under C and D are Run and Drive, and shipping companies charge $500 (₦180,000) extra for cars that are not Run and Drive. Even US Customs does not approve of extremely damaged cars causing leakages of engines at their ports. So Nigerians, in a bid to avoid being stranded, go for the ones that will save them money as well as not present difficulties when shipping.

4. Can you inspect cars at Copart?

Even though Copart’s management provides 10 high-quality images with descriptions of cars, they still encourage their members to inspect their vehicles accurately in person before they bid. This might be difficult if you live outside the USA, but you can hire an inspector or inspection service to do this for you. Independent inspection services are available on the site.


Buying a car abroad has never been easier than using Copart

5. What do you need to bid on Copart? Copart auction fee and membership

Copart provides free membership, but this free membership limits your effective use of the site. It is better you use a paid membership. Fees you should expect to pay on Copart include:

Membership fee

Premium membership will cost $200 (₦72,000). This allows you to bid for all cars not requiring a license.

Auction fee

There are no auction fees as such on Copart. However, apart from your membership fee, you need to pay a $400 (₦144,000) refundable deposit. This allows you to buy cars that do not need a license. If individuals don’t have a license, they can buy such cars by working through a broker.

Other requirements for using Copart

You will need a government-issued ID to register and use Copart.

6. Is it cheaper to buy a car at Copart?

Besides membership and auction fees, you may still be required to pay other fees on Copart. Other fees at Copart may include:

  • Broker fee - $50 (₦18,000) is charged for every vehicle bought sucessfully if you hire a broker to bid cars on your behalf
  • Inspection Fee - For members, there is no inspection fee attached to it
  • Shipping fee - it evolves around $1 per mile for each mile from 1-500 miles.
  • Clearance Fee - $59 (₦21,240) is assessed for all Copart purchases and Drive purchases.

That being the case, is buying a car from Copart still the cheaper option? For instance let us compare cars bought in Cotonou, at local dealers, and cars bought at Copart.

Comparisons of prices of popular cars at Copart, Cotonou and dealerships in Nigeria 


Copart price

Cotonou price

Local dealers price

Toyota Corolla 2013-2015

 ₦4 million

 ₦5-₦7 million

₦4.5-₦9 million

Toyota Camry 2007-2011

₦2.9 million

 ₦2.7- ₦4 million

₦3-₦5 million

Toyota Highlander 2013-2015

₦10.6 million

 ₦7- ₦10 million

₦7.5 -₦15 million

Mercedes Gwagon 2007-2014

₦32.1 million

₦30-₦50 million

₦52- ₦60 million

BMW X5 2007-2011

₦6.7 million

₦5-₦7 million

₦4.8- ₦8.5 million


You would be surprised that you can get such a fine Toyota Highlander for a song on Copart

7. Copart location

You should really consider the location of the Copart lot you buy, since the farther the distance from Copart’s location to the nearest port, the more it will cost you in car shipping fees. It can be as high as $2,500 in the worst case!

7.1. Popular Copart locations Nigerians buy from

These are the most common Copart locations to buy and ship to Nigeria. The nearest US ports are also itemized:

Copart location

Nearest US Port

Nearest Nigerian Port

Copart-Somerville, NJ

Copart-Glassboro, East NJ

Port of Newark, New Jersey


Copart-Baltimore, MD

Port of Baltimore, DC


Copart-Jacksonville West, Florida

Copart-Jacksonville East, Florida

Port of Jacksonville, Florida


8. What happens if you don’t pay Copart? 

If you do not pay for a won bid on Copart 8 business days after its sale, the vehicle goes into relist at the next auction and the members is charged $400 (₦144,000) or even 10% of the winning bid, whichever is higher. Usually, Copart will offset this with your refundable deposit.


Don't bid on a car if you can't pay. You could just win! 

9. Copart Nigeria

Copart has been able to position authorized representatives in Lagos, Nigeria. These agents help with either the buying process or international shipping. All you have to do is to get down to their offices, call or send them an e-mail. They are:

Auto Auction Mall Nigeria

Nigerians can get to Copart through Auto Auction Mall Nigeria, a Copart Authorized Representative in Nigeria located at 268 Herbert Macaulay Way, Alagomeji, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria. You can send an email to them with

Auto Auction Mall requires you to pay $299 (₦107,640) as a transaction fee to retain their services. 

Auto Bid Master

You can also get to Copart through Nigeria AutoBidMaster which is located on 15th Floor, 214 Broad Street, Lagos Island, Nigeria. Their email address is AutoBidMaster is currently Copart’s most trusted broker, bringing people all over the globe in for Copart auctions. The basic transaction fee is about $299(₦107,640) for a single-car purchase.

You are sure to get all the information and help you need from them. These two Copart representatives in Nigeria are getting very popular by the day with the services they render.


Need a good deal on a cheap car? Contact your local Copart rep!

10. Conclusion

Now you have the Copart Auction: The secret of buying cars from USA to Nigeria guide. Why don’t you give it a try the next time you want to buy a cheap car from the USA? You can find our step by step guide for buying cars from Copart at: 

>>> How to buy auction cars from Copart USA & ship to Nigeria - Step by step guide

Good luck, and see you in the next car buying tips by Naijauto team!

ANYONE Can Buy a Car From Copart WITHOUT A Special License! Here's how...

Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Car buying & selling

Joshua, or KK as friends call him, is a Filmmaker, Writer and Director. A Christian, Joshua is a product of Nigeria’s foremost film school, the National Film Institute, Jos, where he majored in Writing/Directing. Joshua began his writing career at age 18 when an older brother gave him a four page outline of a children novel. Joshua intends to keep writing and directing. His screen name is sometimes Joshua Kalu Ephraim (Writing), and sometimes Joshua KK (directing).

See more